Whether you’re doing the traditional fostering or kinship fostering, preparations for their arrival can be stressful, particularly where the placement is a last minute decision.
Children tend to require lots of items, especially when they are young. For example, an infant will require nappies, a pram, a cot, and bottles, to name but a few items. It’s incredibly important that all these are ready before the child arrives into your care.
Even if you have fostered a child previously, or if this is your first time fostering, it is always beneficial to be aware of how you can quickly prepare your home for a foster child’s arrival, including the basic necessities that are needed. Keep reading to learn more…
5 Considerations to Quickly Prepare Your Home for a Foster Child
1. Have Toiletries Ready
Toiletries are not only a basic necessity, they are some of the easiest items to obtain to quickly prepare for the arrival of a foster child, even where the placement is last minute. Most toiletries the child will need can be found in a local supermarket, or sometimes even a convenience store.
The basic toiletry items you will need for their arrival will include:
- Shower gel
Whatever else you may believe the child will need to feel comfortable in their new home, you should pre-buy. It might be that they already have these items and bring them, but it’s better to be prepared for their arrival than unprepared.
Capstonefostercare.co.uk can provide further useful information to help foster parents prepare for the arrival of a foster child.
2. Prepare a Cosy Bedroom
Other than providing them the necessary hygiene items, their bedroom should be the absolute central focus. This room is likely going to be their safe space, especially if they have come from a traumatic situation.
We can only imagine how stressful it must feel for a child to be placed into a stranger’s home where they might not know anyone, even where it is a kinship fostering, they may still have nerves towards the situation. The child might have been through a lot in their young life, and will want somewhere which is theirs; a place they can go for a break that feels safe and cosy.
The preparation of their bedroom will involve:
- Having clean bedding on the bed
- Picking a duvet that suits the current season and temperature
- A number of pillows, so they can specifically choose how many they want to sleep with
- A cosy blanket – we recommend a weighted blanket which is safe to use on children, and are known to help reduce anxiety and achieve a relaxed state
3. Have Stocked Fridge and Cupboards
As a kinship foster parent, you are likely to know the child’s background. As a traditional foster parent, you may also have been made aware of the child’s background prior to the placement.
Either way, the child might have had a tough life before being placed into foster care. Whether they were neglected or abused, they will want to feel safe and comfortable in their home, and it might surprise you to know that access to food could be a big concern of theirs.
Making sure your fridge and cupboards are stocked before their arrival is a great introduction into your home. On top of this, making them aware that your home is theirs, and that they are allowed to help themselves to the food and drink available, could really help.
4. Make Sure Your Home is Clean and Tidy
Having a clean and tidy home prior to their arrival is essential. Like we mentioned above, you may know their background, and a messy and untidy home might prompt stress and anxiety in them, especially if they have come from a background where the home was not clean and tidy.
A clean and tidy home will provide a welcoming and comfortable environment for them. Not only might this help them settle in quicker, it may help them come to the realisation that they are in a caring and loving home with adults who will take care of them.
5. Have Toys and Games Ready
It is without doubt that children love to play with toys and games. Taking into consideration their background, they may not have had access to either. So, depending on the age of the child, having toys and games ready that suit their age group is a must.
If it is possible, find out whether there are any toys and/or games in particular that the child is fond of, and see if you can get these.
Doing this will make the child feel comfortable, but also help your interaction, especially if you provide fun games that the whole family can join in on. Toys are also known to help with children’s development, improving motor skills. Even as a foster parent, it’s important to encourage and assist with the child’s development.
A New Home Can Be Scary for a Foster Child
Keep in mind that, although you may feel comfortable and at ease at the thought of taking a foster child into your home, whether they are a relative or a child you have not met before, that child is likely feeling very scared. Your priority when it comes to preparing your home for the quick arrival of a child should be to do everything possible to make them feel relaxed and happy once they arrive.
Have you fostered a child before? What are your tips for a quick preparation? Leave your ideas and experiences below.