Christmas is an exciting time of year for families but it can be a challenging time for foster children and they can encounter some mixed emotions. Social gatherings, the focus on family and the general Christmas pressure that we can all feel in the festive season can cause Christmas to be a difficult time. Here are some top tips for helping your foster child cope with the festive season.
Talk with your foster child about the Christmas period ahead and what can be expected. If your family usually has a lot of gatherings or parties, talk to your foster child about these so they are prepared. They may be used to particular Christmas traditions so it can also be helpful to ask them if there are things they would specifically like to do.
Involve your foster child in any way you can to ensure they feel a part of the celebrations. Decorating the house or tree, Christmas shopping, wrapping presents and cooking are all a great way for you to spend quality time with your foster child.
Be aware that the Christmas season may be difficult for your foster child. Understanding when something is difficult for your foster child will help them to feel at ease and will also help you to deal with the situation. There can often be some pressure for everything to be perfect at Christmas, so remember things may not always go to plan!
Involvement is important and of course invite your foster child along to parties or gatherings. However, it is important to be aware that such social gatherings can be overwhelming or stressful for your foster child. Talk to them beforehand and ensuring they know who will be there and how you know these people.
Let your family and friends know that your foster child will also be there so they are prepared and aware. It’s important that the presence of your foster child is not a surprise to others and it can be a good idea to talk to your foster child about how they would like to be introduced to others. It can also help to speak with other children and family members about Christmas and how everyone can help each other to enjoy the season and celebrations.
Be patient! The Christmas period can involve feelings of missing biological family members, nervousness, anxiety and stress for foster children of all ages. Disruptive behaviour, tantrums and misbehaving may be more likely at this time so be extra patient and ensure to plan in some quiet downtime amongst the festive celebrations.
For more information about becoming a foster carer, contact us today.