- Understand their perspective
- Be honest with them
- Make them feel secure
- Teach them to give space
- Try to be as fair as possible
- Ask them not to be too pushy
- Tell them the importance of sharing
- Explain the importance of being unaffected by negativity
Before you get the child ready for this major change, you need to understand their perspective towards the situation. Step into their shoes and think like them to comprehend their apprehensions and insecurities. Do not over expect as children of different age groups have certain levels of maturity, which will determine their reaction to your decision. If you think that they will be able to take things in a stride, you will probably find it tough to change their mindset.
Besides understanding their perspective, you need to explain them yours openly and honestly. Sit with them and explain them the concept of foster care and also the motivation behind your decision. Let them know how things will change after the new member would join them but reassure them that this will not impact your relationship with them in any way.
Of course, it is crucial to build trust with a foster child but this does not mean that your own children need less attention. Making them feel secure is very important for ensuring acceptance. Tell them that you will always be there for them and encourage them to take a share in your responsibility for the child who is going to join your family.
Taking in foster children is never easy as they may not mingle immediately with your family. Some of them might come from troubled backgrounds, which makes adjustment a big issue for them. Before you bring them home, teach your family members the importance of giving them time and space. They should be able to give them time to adjust and not try approaching them too early.
Another tip to make your children comfortable with the idea of accepting a foster sibling is by making extra efforts to be as fair as possible. Make sure that the rules are same for both sets of kids and both get their fair shares of attention from you. Treat them as a one big family that is together in everything they do.
It is natural for children, particularly the young ones, to be curious about their new siblings. They would want to know about their birth homes, past experiences and more and questions would pop up naturally. However, you have to tell them explicitly to avoid being too pushy before you bring the foster child home. The reason is that they would either be uncomfortable or averse to such questions.
Whether your old children are young or old, you need to tell them the importance of sharing. They would need to share everything with the new sibling, from their parents to their home and other belongings. Encourage them to do it positively, with the same compassion and empathy that has motivated you to take up this responsibility.
Bringing home a foster child is a risk because many of them have serious behavioral issues. There are chances that your own children may be affected by them and start behaving the same way. The best approach would be to educate them about the importance of being unaffected by negativity beforehand. Rather, tell them that you expect them to be a positive role model for their sibling.
When you decide that you want to give foster care, be ready to build a family where every child is given equal love and care. Get your children involved with open communication; tell them that you trust them enough to be with you as you take this big leap of faith.