Tips For Foster Care Families During the Holiday Season
The holidays are supposed to be an especially joyful and magical time of year, especially for children. Unfortunately, for the numerous kids that spend this season in Shasta County foster care it can be an exceptionally difficult time instead. Some children are moved from home to home and never spend a holiday with the same family twice, while others remain in group homes for years without having the opportunity to form any kind of familial bond. As foster parents, it’s important to be more sensitive to the feelings of your foster children throughout the holiday season and do what you can to make them feel just as included and special as anyone else in your family. Below are some tips to help foster care families enjoy the holidays the way they are meant to be enjoyed.
Talk About the Meaning of the Season
Keep in mind that not everyone may have the same beliefs and traditions as your family, so take the time to sit down with your foster children and explain what the holiday season means to you and what some of your favorite traditions are, but also ask about theirs if they’re old enough to remember holidays with their birth family. Try to incorporate some of these into your activities and decorations if possible to make them feel more at home.
Involve Foster Children in the Planning of Holiday Meals
Eating someone else’s meals when you aren’t used to their cooking isn’t always easy, particularly when you’re talking about picky children. It might make holiday meals more pleasant if you involve your foster children in the menu planning process and make one or two dishes that they really like. It can also be fun to have them help in the kitchen with the preparation.
Reach Out to Your Community For Gifts
The holidays can be financially taxing for any family, let alone one that has extra children to provide gifts for. If you celebrate Christmas with presents, you will want to ensure that your foster children are not left out. Fortunately, there are generally many people and organizations in the community that are more than willing to help. When buying gifts yourself, consider sentimental purchases that will show children you really care.
Encourage Communication With Birth Families
The holidays are a big reminder to children of the birth families they’re missing. If it’s appropriate and healthy for your foster children, allow them to send cards and maybe even a small gift to someone of their choosing. You may also be able to arrange a supervised visit with their parents or have a gift from them waiting under the tree Christmas morning. Although foster parents can’t ever fully take the place of a child’s biological family, they can certainly help to fill the void that seems to get bigger during the holiday season. By following these suggestions, Shasta County foster care families can make this the most wonderful time of year once again for a child in need.