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Navigating the Holidays With Children in Care
As a foster parent, the holidays with a child in care may need you to be more delicate. Here’s how to navigate the holidays as a foster parent.
For many, the holidays are an exciting time of the year — wonderful food, gifts, and memories with friends and family.
However, the holidays for a child in care may not be as exciting — past trauma can make the holidays a rough time.
If you’re not sure how to navigate the holidays with children in care, we can help. Here are our tips for making the holidays as bright as possible as a foster parent.
Understand That the Holidays Can Be Emotional
The holidays can be hard for children in care — they might feel upset or have mixed feelings about not being with their birth parents.
Even though the holidays are usually about family, children in care may miss their usual family way of celebrating.
The past can also make things more complicated. Children in care often have been through a lot of changes — the holidays might remind them of tough times and happy times, making them feel a bit of both.
It's important to understand that this time can be hard for them. Foster parents and caregivers need to be extra understanding and caring during the holidays, paying attention to how kids in care are feeling and talking openly with them.
Some kids in care might miss their families, while others might not be too excited about the holiday spirit. Recognizing their feelings helps create a safe space for them.
Be Patient With Their Food Choices
During the holidays, people usually eat special foods that are always on the menu.
But kids in care might like different foods or need to eat a certain way — for this reason, it's good to be flexible when planning meals.
Include them when deciding what to eat, and ask about the foods they really like. This makes them feel important and part of the holiday planning. Being open to what they enjoy helps everyone feel included in the holiday celebrations.
Some children in care might have specific diets they need to follow. You’ll need to consider these dietary restrictions when planning meals. Being understanding and accommodating shows that you care about their needs, making the holiday experience more enjoyable for everyone.
Teach Them About Your Traditions
Make the holidays extra special for children in care by introducing them to your family's cherished traditions!
Share the reasons behind each festive ritual, whether it's decorating the tree, preparing a special meal, or singing carols. When they join in these activities, it helps create a sense of belonging and inclusion.
You’ll also want to be open to adapting these traditions to fit their comfort levels and backgrounds. This flexibility shows that you value them and want them to feel at home during the holiday season.
By explaining the meaning behind your family's traditions and embracing the diversity they bring, you create an environment where everyone can enjoy the holiday spirit together.
Ask Them About Their Traditions
You’ll also want to learn about the special traditions and customs that are important to a child in care!
This shows that you really care about what matters to them and helps make the holidays a time when everyone feels included and respected.
Ask them to share their stories and memories about the things they love to do during the holidays — it could be something like a special way of decorating, a favorite meal, or a unique celebration. When they share, it's like opening a gift — you get to learn more about them and what makes their holidays special.
It's also a good idea to include parts of their traditions in your celebrations. This way, everyone gets to share in the joy of different holiday customs.
By learning about and including their traditions, you make the holidays a time when everyone's uniqueness is celebrated. It's about creating a warm and welcoming holiday environment for everyone to enjoy together.
Be Thoughtful With Gifts
Giving and receiving gifts is a big part of the holiday fun.
When picking out gifts for children in care, think about what they really like, what they enjoy doing, and what they might need. Choosing gifts that show you know them well is a great way to build a bond between the two of you.
Maybe they love drawing, playing sports, or reading — if you're not sure what they'd like, it's perfectly okay to ask them directly. That way, you make sure the gifts are something they'll really enjoy.
Imagine how exciting it is for them to unwrap a present that shows you thought about what makes them special!
When it comes to gift-giving, the key is to be thoughtful and considerate. It's not just about the present itself but about the joy and connection it brings during the holiday season.
Enjoy Making New Memories!
The holidays are a special time for making memories that last a long, long time. You can do fun things together that make everyone happy. Imagine building a snowman, watching holiday movies, or playing games—these are all great ways to enjoy the holiday spirit.
For children in care, these joyful moments might be new and different. They might not have had the chance to experience these holiday traditions before. So, it's extra special to share these happy times with them.
Think about the joy of playing in the snow, laughing while watching a funny holiday movie, or having a good time playing games together. These are the moments that make the holidays feel warm and connected.
Remember, the holidays are a time to create joy and build happy memories. By doing these fun activities together, you're making the season extra special for everyone. Cherish these moments—they're like little treasures that make the holidays magical!
Learn All About Becoming a Foster Parent in Our Upcoming Webinar
Thinking about becoming a foster parent?
If so, our upcoming webinar can help point you in the right direction.
By attending a Foster Parent Information Session Webinar and learning more about the fostering process, you can take the first step toward becoming a foster parent and providing a safe, loving, and supportive home for a child in need.
Sign up for our webinar today or call our local office to get started!