Becoming a foster parent is rewarding and helps you make a difference. If you’re preparing to welcome a child into your home, here’s what you should...
Essential Supplies For New Foster Parents
The best thing you can be as a potential foster parent is prepared. Here's a comprehensive list of essential supplies you'll want to have on hand!
Becoming a foster parent is an incredible step forward to make a difference in the life of a child in care.
It's not just about giving a child a place to live — it’s about understanding and caring for them, especially since many have been through tough times. Your job as a foster parent helps kids in care grow and thrive while building a bright future.
For a newer foster parent, being prepared is everything.
In this blog, we'll go through a list of important things to have in your home, including home safety items, personal care items, and much more.
Personal Care Items
Providing personal care items for a child is about more than just meeting basic needs. It's an opportunity to make them feel loved, seen, and respected.
Every household item, whether it’s for hygiene, health, or bedtime, sends a message that you care about their comfort and well-being. Here’s how you can prepare your home with the right personal care items to help a foster child feel welcome.
Personalized Hygiene Supplies
For a child in care, having personalized care items can boost their self-esteem and help them feel more at home.
You’ll need to stock up on age-appropriate and personalized products, including:
- Toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss
- Shampoo, conditioners, and leave-in products
- Bath soap and laundry soap
- Extra washcloths and towels
- Hair care items and accessories
- Nail care and skin care products
When thinking about what personal care items might delight your child, you have to look at your purchases from their perspective and unique needs.
- Hypoallergenic products are gentle on sensitive skin.
- Not all shampoos and conditioners work the same way — you’ll want to consider whether your purchases are better for curls or straight hair.
- A hairbrush can harm curls, so you may opt for a comb for natural hair instead.
- Bamboo towels are soft and gentle for children living with eczema or other skin sensitivities.
A child may not know how to take care of their own hair or body — this is your opportunity to help teach them those skills and make them part of their everyday care and routine.
Understanding and meeting the age-specific needs of a child in care helps them feel secure and cared for in your home.
From toddlers to teenagers, each age group needs different items and approaches to their personal care.
For example, toddlers are at a stage of exploring and learning about their world, and their needs are specific.
Here are some items to consider for their care:
- Gentle bath products - Tear-free shampoos, mild soaps, and bubble baths that are safe for sensitive skin are must-haves with toddlers in the home.
- Soft toothbrushes and kid-friendly toothpaste - Starting good dental hygiene habits from a young age is important — these items can help.
- Comforting bedtime items - Soft blankets, plush toys, and soothing night lights are all good options to help a child in care feel secure at bedtime.
- Easy-to-use utensils and cups - Toddlers are usually developing motor skills and independence during meal times. Easy-to-use utensils and cups can help during these stages.
- Diapers or training pants - For toddlers in care who are not yet potty trained, diapers and training pants will be necessary.
Teenagers also need their own age-specific products. Here are some examples:
- Skincare products - Gentle cleansers, moisturizers, and treatments for skin concerns like acne are all must-haves
- Grooming tools - Most teens will want to have hair styling tools, razors, and shaving creams for personal grooming needs.
- Deodorants and body sprays - Essential for daily hygiene and self-confidence.
- Personal care kits - Including items like dental care products, skincare, and hair care products, allowing them to maintain their routine.
Keeping a basic healthcare kit in your home is a must when you’re fostering a child in care.
This kit should be equipped to handle everyday health issues, from minor injuries to common ailments, making sure that you are prepared for a variety of situations.
Your healthcare kit should include:
- First-aid supplies - Bandages of various sizes and skin tones as needed, antiseptic wipes, and antibiotic ointments for treating cuts and scrapes. Gauze, adhesive tape, scissors, tweezers, and a cold pack are additional items you’ll want to have on hand.
- Over-the-counter medicines - Include medications for headaches, colds, allergies, and stomach aches.
- It's beneficial to have both child-friendly formulas (like liquid medications or chewable tablets) and regular versions for older children in care.
- Digital thermometer - An essential tool for accurately checking body temperature.
- Pain relievers - Safe for various age groups, from acetaminophen for younger children to ibuprofen for older ones.
- Allergy management - If a child has specific allergies, ensure that the appropriate antihistamines or prescribed medications are included.
Keep the healthcare kit in an accessible yet secure location. You’ll also want to do regular checks of the kit to ensure that nothing has expired and that it's fully stocked at all times.
Comforting bedtime routines are key to helping kids in care feel secure and at ease in their new space.
Here are some essentials to consider for a peaceful bedtime experience:
- Cozy pajamas - Soft, comfortable pajamas in various sizes can make bedtime more inviting. Having a few extra pairs ensures there's always a clean set available every night.
- Special blanket or pillow - These items can become a source of comfort, especially for children who may need something reassuring in their new surroundings.
- Nightlights - A gentle nightlight can provide a sense of security for children who might be uneasy in the dark, helping to alleviate fears and promote a restful sleep. They also make bathroom trips at night a safer experience for everyone.
- Bedtime story books - For younger children, stories are not only a tool for bonding but also a soothing way to end the day. They can help in establishing a calming bedtime routine.
In addition to these items, consider the sleeping environment itself:
- Comfortable mattress and bedding - Ensure that the bed is comfortable, with clean, soft sheets and appropriate blankets for the season.
- Soothing decor - Creating a calm and peaceful bedroom atmosphere with soft colors or wall art can make the child feel more relaxed and at home.
Remember, each child may have their own bedtime preferences and needs. Being aware of these needs and adjusting the bedtime essentials accordingly can make a big difference in their comfort and overall well-being in your home!
Safety and Comfort Essentials
Ensuring the safety and comfort of your home is paramount when preparing for a child in care. These elements not only provide a secure environment but also help in creating a space where the child can feel at ease and loved. Here’s what you need to consider:
Creating a safe home environment is a fundamental aspect of fostering. It provides a foundation of trust and security for the child, reassuring them that they are in a safe place.
Here's how to ensure your home is as safe as possible for children in care:
- Childproofing - Depending on the age of a child in care, childproofing can involve various measures. This includes securing cabinets, especially those containing medicines, cleaning supplies, or sharp objects.
- Use safety locks and latches where necessary.
- Cover electrical outlets and ensure cords are out of reach to prevent any electrical hazards.
- Safety gates - If you have stairs, installing safety gates at the top and bottom can prevent falls, especially for younger children.
- Secure furniture and TVs - Anchor furniture and TVs to the wall to prevent them from tipping over — a common cause of injury in young children.
- Window locks - Ensure that all windows have locks or guards, particularly in rooms where children will be spending time.
- Remove or secure hazardous items - Keep any potentially dangerous items like knives, heavy objects, or toxic substances in secure places.
- Fire extinguishers - Every foster home should have a fire extinguisher in working condition in case of a fire.
Integrating comfort items into your home is a key step in making a child in care feel welcomed and at ease.
These items are more than just possessions; they provide emotional support and a sense of personal space, especially important in a new and unfamiliar environment.
- Soft toys and plushies - For younger children, having a selection of soft toys can offer a sense of security. They can be comforting during bedtime or times of anxiety.
- Cozy blankets and pillows - Soft, comfortable blankets and pillows not only make sleeping more comfortable but can also be soothing for children in need of extra comfort.
- Age-appropriate games and books - These can serve as a distraction, a source of enjoyment, and a tool for interaction, helping children to relax and engage with their new surroundings.
- Personal space decorations - Encourage them to personalize their space with items like posters, photographs, or small decorations. This autonomy in decorating can significantly help them in feeling that the space is truly theirs.
- Customized gifts - If possible, having something personalized, like a pillowcase or a mug with their name on it, can make a child feel special and considered.
By thoughtfully choosing and providing these comfort items, you're not only furnishing a physical space but also nurturing the emotional well-being of a child in care, helping them to feel secure, valued, and part of the family.
Learn More About Fostering In Our Upcoming Webinar
Fostering a child is an amazing decision that can make a difference — it helps to be prepared and have the information you need to succeed.
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!