Autumn, fall, spooky season, Q4 – there are many names for this special time of the year. While the holidays can be a joyous and celebratory time, we know it can be a difficult season for children in foster care who are away from loved ones. We may never be able to make up for who or what is missed presently in that child’s life, but we can do activities to hopefully make them feel loved, valued, and connected wherever they are. If you’re looking for a few ideas to make these last few months of the year special for your foster family read on!
1. Cook or bake your favorite fall treats together
Cooking and baking with a child placed in your home is not only a good way to teach them a life skill, but also a good way to get them involved in family rituals. You can try out new recipes or recreate old favorites, but allow the child to choose the meal when you can. Allowing them choice can empower them and help them feel culturally connected to their heritage. It’s also a good opportunity to talk and get to know them as they get to know you!
2. Watch age appropriate fall-themed movies
Watching holiday-themed movies is a classic American tradition this time of the year. Inviting your kiddo to get in on the fun can be exciting and a good opportunity to spend time together without feeling any pressure to talk. Again, letting your kiddo choose a movie for family movie night can empower them. However, as the adult in charge, use your discretion to set expectations for what is appropriate. Additionally, consider that some movies may be triggering to kids. Films with family-themes or death can just remind children in foster care of who they’re missing this holiday season.
3. Visit fall-themed festivals or fairs
If a child was recently placed in your home, attending a smaller scale fall event or avoiding any fall festivals in general may be a better option. Remember, keeping their world small in the beginning is a key part of trust-building and getting them acclimated to your family and environment. If you have gotten to know your kiddo a bit better and you and the child are comfortable, this is a great option to get active, be outdoors, and build healthy connections. As we collaborate on events, CK Family Services Communications will often send our families free events exclusively for our foster families – so look out for those! Alternatively, there are plenty of free public events and even the Texas State Fair has Sensory-Friendly Mornings from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Wednesday throughout the duration of the fair.
4. Build a seasonal routine
Fall is a great time to reset, recover, and recollect. We’re winding down to the final days of the year and it’s the perfect time to set goals and reflect on the journey the last few months have been. However, with kids in care remember to be mindful of reminding them of any particularly triggering past events. Otherwise, this is a good opportunity to celebrate personal growth and spend intentional time being grateful.
You can also quite literally spice up your family’s day-to-day by introducing spiced chai teas, hot cocoa or pumpkin scented candles to make the mundane feel a bit more special. Routines in general help your kiddos in care know what to expect and feel more secure. Fun additions like these in your routine can add a daily source of joy children can look forward to during a difficult season to be away from family.
We hope you try out these tips and explore a few more as you power through the end of the year. Foster parents, we’re so grateful for you and congratulations on all the progress and success you have made! Have an excellent holiday season as you fall into fostering.