As a foster caregiver, taking care of the children is both your duty and responsibility. Bonding with the children under your care is very much a part of that process. If you are thinking about becoming a foster caregiver, or in case you are still new to all this, just take a quick look through the pointers below.
1. Ensure that You Have Time to Spend with Them
On becoming a foster carer and agreeing to take care of one or more children, you will have officially acknowledged and accepted your role within the UK foster care system as a primary caregiver. That means you must have enough time to provide the care which these children need.
Foster care is not for adults who plan to work fulltime while fostering, although part-time work can still be manageable. If you have not yet started fostering children in care, then this is a very important piece of advice for more reasons than one. Agencies like Fostering People pay well enough to keep full time dedication financially viable for their foster carers.
Those already working in the system know how important it is to dedicate time, since they are informed of the same in detail by their respective social care agencies. Unfortunately, there are always a few who tend to forget their priorities. As a result, they will hardly ever form emotionally significant bonds with the foster children they take in. You cannot bond with a traumatised child without giving them your full attention and time.
2. Chat with the Intent to Listen
Whether a child is extroverted or introverted, chatting regularly is essential if you wish to open and establish an effective line of communication with them. Nevertheless, if you want your conversations with them to help you form bonds and be beneficial for them, keep the following tips in mind.
- Do not pre-plan the duration of any chat, but let it be as short or as long as it needs to be.
- Listen to children who want to talk and provide relevant responses to let them know you are actually listening.
- Ask questions to prompt conversations with children who are less inclined to chat.
- Share some information about yourself in relevance to a topic to create familiarity.
Unless you are a certified therapeutic foster care provider, never push a conversation into territories that they are not willing to share with you on their own. If they do open up on their own, listen without judgement.
3. Plan Activities Together
For most young children, being involved in art and craft projects together with an adult guardian is quite an enjoyable bonding experience. You will find tons of DIY art and craft ideas here. Choose a project that suits their age and personality. If a child wants to draw or create something else, that’s even better as it will be even more effective as a bonding session.
Prompt them with ideas if they can’t think of an activity on their own. Older children might be fond of something else, like video games for instance. Believe it or not, gaming together can indeed strengthen bonds between family members across all age groups!