Tips for Making a New Foster Child Feel Welcome

Taking in a new foster child is an enormous change for any family, whether you have children of your own or not, it will impact on the current dynamic of your home. Having worked on both the operational and strategic side of fostering services in the past I’m very aware what a challenge this can be.

It goes without saying that you want to make the child feel at home, but that can be easier said than done. The first step in the journey is creating a warming environment where they feel safe. If you’re feeling apprehensive about your first foster placement, read below for six tips to make the child feel welcome in your home.

Understand Their Background

Each foster child will have a different story to tell, so you must find out everything you can about their background. Finding out this information will help to protect yourself and the foster child. To begin finding out information, you should find your agency’s contact details and give them a call. Your local agency will likely have a contact number for each area, like a page for fostering in Nottingham ( As a bare minimum, you need to find out their preferred name, routines, what activities they enjoy, any medical requirements, and their favourite foods.

Prepare Toys, Books, Films, and Games

Once you’ve learned everything you can about your new placement, you can start preparing your home with their favourite films, games, books, and a selection of toys. If the child already has possessions, it’s important to get them set up in a bedroom before they arrive – the case worker will help you with this.

Introduce Yourself with Your Preferred Name

When you’re looking after foster children, it’s typically best to use first names because you don’t know how long the child will be there for. However, if you’re taking a young child, they may call you “mum” or “dad” automatically. It is often suggested that you let them do this to make them feel at home, and then switch them over to something more appropriate once they’re older.

Be Mindful of Body Language

Your words only communicate so much of your message – your body language is responsible for the majority. Therefore, when communicating with your new foster child, you need to include making eye contact. However, to avoid triggering any trauma, speak to their previous carer to find out if there is anything you need to avoid.

Give the Tour

Your home will be overwhelming to a new foster child, so make sure you give them the tour and let them know where their bedroom is. If there are any rooms that they aren’t allowed to enter, now is a great time to let them know.

Offer Food and Drink

Your new arrival may be hungry and thirsty, so make sure you have some snacks and drinks on hand. If you can, have a wide variety and let the child choose for themselves. When the child is occupied with a snack, you can talk to them about anyone else that lives in the home, but don’t overburden them at first.

Welcoming a new foster child will be stressful, but the key is creating a warm environment for them. Imagine how scary your home will be and think about every possible way to make them feel at ease, try to place yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would feel moving to a strange home with people you didn’t know.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *