When you open your home up to children in need of love, you are doing a great service to the world. However, there is a little more you need to do to get your home ready for fostering, even if you are ready in your heart.
Prepare The Bedrooms
When you foster, you need to be prepared for kids in a variety of age ranges to come into your home. With that in mind, you’ll need the furniture for any age range that you can handle. No matter what age they are, you’ll need enough dressers to hold their clothing and a desk for them to do their homework. Try and keep these in neutral colors so that it doesn’t make the room feel overly masculine or overly feminine, and so the child can decorate the room the way they like it.
Give them Space of Their Own
Foster kids often struggle because they don’t have a lot that is theirs alone. Try and help them to find ways to make their room their own through decorations. You can facilitate this by having corkboards available and craft supplies for them to use to make things that make the space their own. This is really important for helping them to feel at home and welcomed as a part of your home.
Put Breakable Valuables Away
Kids are really good at breaking things, whether its an accident or not. If you have something that is both breakable and valuable to you, put it somewhere that is out of reach or out of bounds for foster children. That way, you don’t have to worry about them damaging something important, and they don’t have to worry about angering you.
If there are things that you can’t put away, make sure to tell your foster kids to stay away from them so that they know what to avoid when they are playing or looking around. Setting boundaries is the best way to keep everyone in the household happy.
Talk to Family Members About Expectations
No matter how old the members of your family are, you need to sit down and talk with them about what to expect when a foster child comes into the home. Foster kids often need a lot more love and take more time to feel comfortable when they’re in a new place. This means that all of you will have to give them the time and space to get comfortable in the home and with everyone else in it. By talking to your family members about what to expect and how they can help make the new child more comfortable, everyone will have a much better experience overall.
More than anything, remember that you are fostering this child or these children out of love for humanity. Think about what you would have wanted if you were in their place and try to provide that for them.
Susan Austin is a family research specialist with Family Living Today. A mother of three and small business owner in Texas, Austin spends her days juggling work and family life -- sometimes expertly, sometimes not.