Christmas is just around the corner and as we prepare for this time, it is important to prepare our foster children as well. Letting them know what to expect can help provide the stability that they need.
Talk about the holiday ahead of time.
Communication is very important when leading up to the holiday season. Discuss how your family celebrates holidays and ask the child if there is any special way they have celebrated holidays in the past. Taking the initiative to begin these conversations will give the child time to anticipate the holiday events and feel comfortable asking you questions.
Share the traditions.
Does the child remember participating in any holiday traditions before? Try to incorporate some of their traditions into your family traditions. Take advantage of this time to learn more about the child’s interests and religious beliefs.
Prepare friends and family
Be sure that all of your family knows about your newest family addition. Preparing them can help cut down on the awkwardness of asking questions about who the child is and when they joined the family. You can also communicate difficult topics to avoid with the child.
Don’t be too forceful.
The holiday season can be very overwhelming time, especially for a child who is away from their family. Meeting your extended family can create a lot of anxiety and be intimidating for the child. Be sure to include the children in family activities, but be sensitive to the child’s feelings.
Be prepared for grief.
No matter how well you handle the holiday season, your foster child will probably be filled with sadness and grief. Be sure to give the children time and space to grieve, let them know that you are there to talk with them if they need. The child may withdraw despite all of your best efforts. You must understand that this isn’t a personal insult, but just keep in mind all that they are going through.
Know the child’s developmental age.
The holiday season can be busy and filled with lots of activities. If the child is struggling and having difficulties keeping up, remember the developmental age of the child. This is a reminder to stay patient with the child during the difficult holiday season for foster children.
What has been helpful to you and your foster child during the holiday season?