Anyone who is thinking about becoming a foster parent may wonder if they have the skills or ability to do a good job. Chances are if they have the inclination to provide a temporary home for someone else’s child, they have the most important quality that will be needed. But they also may question how they can provide a meaningful and positive family experience for the child. In addition to the required elements of safety, protection, security, stability, and support, foster parents can give their young charges some unique opportunities and experiences that they might not otherwise have. Even if they did do some of these activities in their other home, experiencing them with foster parents helps to seal the bond between them.
While a foster child’s education may need to be approved by the care agency, foster carers often have the chance to recommend a specific school or curriculum. In some cases, the child may be home schooled or enroll in a distance learning program. Overseeing the child’s academic progress and providing educational support to ensure the child does well in school is an expectation and opportunity that many foster parents enjoy. An education lasts a lifetime, so it is important to provide the very best options available.
Although some kids balk at the idea of visiting a museum or strolling through a zoo, most actually end up appreciating the experience afterward, when they see how interesting it can be. Concerts, plays, and sports events are great activities for spending quality time with a foster child while providing experiences that up to this point, have been missing. Art shows, amusement parks, and historic sites offer special opportunities for talking, teaching, and sharing among family members.
Fun Side Trips
Camping outdoors, getaway weekends, and family vacations are wonderful ways to have fun with a foster child in the family. A day trip to a country orchard or visiting a local park are more opportunities to share new adventures and escape the daily routine. Job shadowing, volunteering as a family, and church services missions trips also bring family members closer.
Healthy Social Life
Introducing a foster child to a normal, healthy social life is a big advantage for him or her. Some kids have never learned how to get along well with others. They may be shy or have trouble getting along with other children. Many have been separated from neighbor children and have little socializing experience. Foster parents can teach their foster kids basic social etiquette, both in person and online. Kids can be taught manners and how to be respectful to others if they have not learned it yet. Joining groups like the Boy Scouts or the church choir, or playing a school sport helps a child to learn from peers how to behave properly and play fairly with others.
Friends And Family
Perhaps most of all, foster families teach a foster child the basic meaning of family. Although their families of origin may be conflicted, absent, or disrupted, foster kids begin to see a healthier family model, one they can be part of and learn from. They meet extended family who welcome them with open arms, and the children start to realize their own self-worth. Holidays, birthdays, and special celebrations awaken new emotions and forge new ties while demonstrating a family’s strength and solidarity. No matter what the child’s future holds, warm and happy times spent with foster family members and close friends will remain a valuable part of their growing up years and help to form their character.
When experiences like the above come into a child’s life, they remain embedded in memories that can be enjoyed for years to come. They lay a foundation of caring, acceptance, and hope that the child can build his or her life on. The time spent in foster care will never be forgotten. Whether the memories are positive or negative is mainly the responsibility of the foster caregivers and the support they receive in providing for a foster child in their home. Foster care provides a valuable service that allows children from troubled homes to experience normal life.