Only a family can nurture happiness and provide all the opportunities to a child for realizing his or her full potential. When a child for varied reasons is left with no family of their own, they become part of the foster system. It has both bad and good sides to it.
The child if is of a certain age, then he easily realizes that his own family is incapable of caring for him. Growing up they might feel insecure. For an infant, it can be worse, they might never feel the warmth and caring of their own family ever.
When a benevolent person or family decides to become a foster carer, he takes on some important responsibilities. Not only will he enjoy the joys of parenting, but the person will also face his fair share of challenges.
Perhaps the most traumatic experience for a foster child is going back to school. There are several steps that the foster family or foster parent can take to help such children cope in the best possible way.
Establish A Routine
When a child becomes a part of the system they get exposed to disruptions in every possible way. Daily activities, cores, and errands become unthinkable. The most affected habit for such children changes in the sleeping pattern. With no parents or guardians to give them a daily structure, sleeping time and hours get severely affected.
The traumatic experience of getting separated also may cause them to sleep in excess or too little. Once a foster carer assumes responsibility, they should immediately make the child come to terms with a daily routine, with emphasis on a bedtime ritual. It will help them greatly to get ready for school and the routine it brings with it. Once such a routine is in place the child’s life will start to get normalized.
Once the foster child is settled and it is time for school enrollment, discuss it with the child. Try and understand if he or she is scared. Most older children who have had a significant gap and haven’t been to school for long will be hesitant even aggressive. Always remember that is not how they feel, they are simply scared.
Tell them the importance of school, how an education can help them. Look for what excites them and show them how the school can help them with it. Give them something positive to hope for. If a child is interested in sports, tell them about all the sports activities that their prospective school has. Get the child excited about going back to school that will help break any fear they might hold.
Well, parenting is not an easy job. You may have had given up on homework a long time back, but it is again coming back for you. A foster child will require much more help with homework. If you find it difficult to help out, talk to the child’s school teacher and see if a tutor can be arranged.
They will need all the extra help they can get, as a parent, you need to make sure they get it. Encourage the child to share any school activity or incident with you. By showing your interest in their daily activity, you can make a huge difference. They will value themselves more and learn to trust you. By being involved in their daily activities, you will help them function better.
Health And Special Needs
If your foster child has some health problem like a known allergy, be sure to address it before they are sent off to school. Similarly, for special needs children, enquire to see if the school you will be sending them to have qualified teachers or facilities that are required by them. Make sure they maintain hygiene. For adolescent children, discuss puberty. Help them cope with any awkwardness that typically has an onset during the teen years.
Encourage Them To Make New Friends
You as a parent and even the teachers can do many things that will help your child, but the sooner the child starts making friends, the better will be their chance of taking a liking to school. Do not pressurize the child into making friends but encourage them so they are not hesitant.
Remember every child has his own pace. In the beginning, the child may not do very well in school. Foster children may take more time to learn, it does not indicate any lack in them. It is just the disconnection that they have suffered from. Though you have to be stern at times, never give up on your gentleness. Just like any other parent you have to be patient and persuasive, maybe a little bit extra.