Holidays and starting new traditions with your foster child

5 ways to help foster children enjoy the holiday season

5 ways to help foster children enjoy the holiday season 

Helping your foster child adjust to the holidays with you.

If you’re reading this, that means the holiday season is nearing. Holidays are times in which it’s “in the eye of the beholder” as to whether it’s a positive or not so positive time. Why, you ask? Well, it just depends on how you view your past holiday experiences, what you’ve created, and what the holiday season means to you. Then, think of our precious foster children and all they’ve experienced before and during their foster care tenure. Again I say it is in the eye of the beholder. Below are 5 ways to help foster children over the holiday season.

The holidays can be a painful reminder of the trauma that children have faced before coming into care or trigger feelings of being away from their families (no matter what happened before them coming into care) during these times that usually symbolize family togetherness. Also, as I’m sure you all are aware, due to COVID-19, stress levels are at an all-time high for all (adults, children, workers, etc.), so that can add to whatever our foster children may be feeling during the holidays. 

How can you help? 

Here are five quick ways: 

Create New Holiday Traditions. If it’s their first time in your home during the holiday season, such as the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas, then maybe you can work on creating new holiday traditions that include them. They may likely be feeling like an outsider (which is very understandable), so this can work for all as if all goes well, both will benefit and hopefully be able to draw closer to one another. 

Be empathetic: If they don’t feel as “in the spirit” as you and your family do, that’s okay, don’t force it upon them. You want to be sure to offer and make them feel included, but if it’s their first time or too much of a trigger, be empathetic and be available to them as needed. 

Be flexible, be versatile. Ask the youth what does, did, or would make this a memorable holiday for them, and if feasible, try to make it happen. It may require some flexibility or adjustments from that which your family is used to, but remember you took on this position for a greater purpose, so being flexible should be a part of the journey. This will pay off in the end, I promise. 

Honor or infuse old traditions (if possible) : This goes right along with being flexible, honoring, respecting what their prior practices were, and even seeing how you and the family can infuse some elements of the two together. This is another way to make your new foster child feel like family (and even possibly lessen the blow of trauma). 

Bring in a foster child into your home during the holidays! Maybe you can be one of the lucky ones that can bring in a new foster child into your home during the holidays and end up making their holidays special just because you did that! You never know. Or, this may be the very first time they ever had the opportunity to celebrate a holiday, so if this is so just working towards making it a special time of family togetherness and I’m sure it’ll turn out great. If you’d like to know more about becoming a foster parent and possibly get to make this opportunity a reality, please feel free to contact ESP for more details! 

Hello, I am Vincent Ellis White, a Home Study Specialist at Extra Special Parents (ESP) , a licensed Child Placing Agency in Virginia. In my ESP role, I mainly have two tasks: 1: I train potential foster parents and guide them as they navigate the road to certification to become licensed foster parents. 2: I conduct home studies of likely foster parents, a critical part of the road to certification.

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