Setting goals and celebrations for children in Foster Care

Setting goals and celebrations for children in Foster Care

How to set goals for celebrations and holidays

Being realistic with goal setting for children in Foster care

If you’re reading this, that means that you’ve just made it through Thanksgiving (hopefully, you didn’t overeat). Now you’re right in the thick of the Christmas holiday season and setting goals for success. As I mentioned in my last blog (​Holidays and Starting New traditions with Your Foster Child

)​, these are the times in which it’s in the eye of the beholder as to whether it’s a positive or not so positive time (feel free to insert other adjectives, such as strange, heartbreaking, beautiful, hopeful, etc.). Even if you may not have had such a great holiday (or even year thus far, due to COVID-19 and more), I hope that you can go forward and prepare for the new year with a “glass half full” mindset.

If you are a foster parent with a new child in your home (and this is even for children that have already been in the home for a while), listen up. We all know that 2020 has been one of the most challenging, most unpredictable years we have ever seen! Then add on the trauma that the incoming and current foster kids have had to deal with before entering care...Whew! So, what do they have to look forward to in the upcoming year? How can you help them to be as optimistic as they can be? I’ve taken the liberty of listing ​four​ key ways that you can help them (and yourselves) prepare for and successfully coast into 2021.

Please keep doing what you’ve been doing:​ I’m sure that through it all, you’ve continued to be the same great foster parent that you’ve always been. Well, my advice is simple, keep up the consistency, keep doing just that! If you recall, during my Session 3- grief/loss training, I heavily emphasized the importance of our kiddos need for trust and consistency. Even if the world turns to chaos, as long as you’re still doing your job, they will thrive and also appreciate you for it. Be quiet in the midst of all the noise.

Have them set new and realistic goals, both small and large (incrementally): ​Sit down with them, explain the benefits of setting (and documenting) goals, and help them create some goals for themselves. Start with setting small goals, then gradually work on the bigger ones (and explain the importance of hitting each goal incrementally and checking them off).

Remind them of your role​: What is your overall role? It is basically to be a parent and provide a safe space where they will thrive and grow. Remind them of that. Ask them do they feel that you’ve done that thus far. Hopefully, you’ll get a yes (and if you don’t, this can serve as an open door for dialogue); if so, then express to them your die-hard desire to keep that up (see the first bullet point) and ask them how that’s assisted them in getting through the previous year.

Celebrate something positive/successful in their lives​: With all that we’ve survived this year, we can celebrate life alone! Just making it this far is a gift within itself and very much worth celebrating. With that said, to start the new year off right, why don’t you find something else that your foster child has accomplished or done well and have a small celebration for that/them just to let them know that you see them working hard, you.  Acknowledge their efforts, and encourage them to continue forth. Please take my word for it; they will appreciate it and you for it.

Hopefully, these four tips have served as beneficial and influential in your lives. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us because here at ESP, we love to help! 

I am a Home Study Specialist at Extra Special Parents (ESP) , a licensed foster care treatment 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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