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Foster children often lack the stability and foundations for success that children from stable homes enjoy. Foster parents and the wider support network must provide security through loving homes to help these children thrive. By giving foster kids access to life’s building blocks, we can improve their chances for later success. Here are four ways foster parents can help set children up for success:
Build Strong Relationships
Whether you provide long-term or short term foster care, building a strong relationship with your foster children is one of the most effective ways to help them reach their true potential. However, forming a connection isn’t always easy because many foster children are dealing with loss and trauma, so you’ll have to be patient and try different strategies.
Provide a Stable Home
Stability is a fundamental aspect of childhood development, and it’s your job to provide this for all children in your care. There are many ways you can establish a stable home, including:
- Setting clear rules and expectations. Foster children need clear rules to guide them, but they also need consistent consequences and reinforcements of the rules.
- Create a sense of belonging. Get your foster children involved in family events to make them feel fully integrated.
- Provide a consistent routine. Have regular mealtimes, bedtimes, and wake-up times.
- Avoid major changes. Foster children have already experienced volatility, so avoid making major changes like moving to a different school.
While these will help create a stable home, you may find that things don’t go your way immediately. To keep yourself committed to the strategies above, you will have to learn how to be patient; foster children may take a lot of time before coming around to new rules and routines.
Encourage Healthy Development
Stability and solid relationships will only get your foster children so far, it’s also important to encourage healthy development. This involves promoting social-emotional well-being, physical health, and mental health.
To encourage your foster children to eat healthily and exercise, we recommend leading by example and getting them involved in the kitchen. As well as this, if you turn exercise and healthy dieting into a family-wide activity, you’re more likely to see involvement from your foster children.
Promote Education and Academic Achievement
Education is a crucial building block for success, but it’s something many foster children have a negative relationship with. During their time in your home, it’s important to encourage engagement with school, homework, and other educational activities. Although this may take time, the following tips will help:
- Provide access to educational support and resources.
- Set high expectations and encourage goal setting.
- Be involved by attending parents’ evenings and helping with homework.
- Promote participation in extra-curricular activities.
By implementing the strategies outlined above, you can improve foster children’s chances of future success. Even the smallest positive change can have a long-lasting impact on the life of a foster child. Showing them support, love, and encouragement will help to show that the future can be brighter.