Bringing a foster child into your home doesn’t go without an impact. Not only are you faced with new responsibilities and another life to nurture, but your children must accept the addition of a new sibling and the consequent lifestyle changes. It is therefore crucial to ensure their comfort and understanding of the situation as to ensure a smooth transition for your entire family.
Children are naturally curious and will have plenty of questions about their new brother or sister. Where did they come from? How long will they be staying for? What happened to their parents? It may be difficult for them to comprehend the entire story or process the impact this has on their family dynamic in the beginning. Answering any questions they have to the best of your ability and listening to their concerns or difficulties with the new situation can help them better cope with everything and cooperate with these new changes.
A new child means more sharing – space, attention, and even belongings. This may be a difficult adjustment for many children, as they may feel hurt or jealous from this sudden change. Oftentimes, children may act out or lash out with destructive behaviors simply to gain back attention from their parents. To prevent them from feeling left out or abandoned, it’s important to keep them included and involved as much as possible. Asking your child to help out or join in in activities allows them to feel needed rather than forgotten. Setting aside one-on-one time with your child and giving them their own special attention gives them the reassurance that they are still important and provide comfort in this difficult transition period.
Another way to keep your child from feeling left out is to stress the significance of their role in their new sibling’s life. Encouraging them to showcase good behavior and be a source of inspiration for their foster sibling allows them to feel valued and needed, while preventing them from acting out. Your foster child will also benefit from this, as they will have a source of guidance to help them adjust as well.