You have a significant impact on a child’s life as a foster parent. Regardless of whether they are placed with you temporarily or permanently, your foster child is counting on you to give them a secure, loving, comfortable, and stable environment.
But it goes far beyond just giving them a safe place to live; you also want to help them learn how to control their emotions. They probably have a wide range of emotions going on inside of them, which can be confusing to them.
If this sounds familiar, and you want to make sure you’re doing the right thing for your foster child, here are nine ways you could help your foster child handle their emotions. These are practical life lessons that will aid them as they move in and forward.
How You Can Assist Your Child With Managing Their Emotions
Make sure their environment at home is secure
The very first thing you can do is make sure this situation and routine are consistent. They will come to rely on this and it will serve as their foundation. It’s as easy as giving them a nice bedroom, a daily schedule, a normal bedtime, and everyday activities. Everything you take for granted or deem routine in your daily life will be significant.
You must be calm at all times
Your foster child might experience tension, anxiety, sadness, fear, and other emotions from time to time. Your responsibility as the foster parent and the adult in the environment is to maintain your composure so that they can rely on you. They won’t need to worry about your response or whether you’ll be there for them because they are confident in your reliability.
Be the listening ear they require
You want to make sure your foster child is aware they can come to you if they need to vent since regulating emotions sometimes just requires being able to do so.
Let them know that you will listen to them without passing judgment and that you will never be bothered by any issue they may have, regardless of whether it’s small or big. They’ll have an adult to talk to, and it will also help them develop trust in you.
Make it a habit to inquire about their day
Asking them about their day will assist in establishing a new habit that will aid in controlling their emotions. Don’t skip a day, regardless of how unimportant it may have looked.
The objective is to facilitate communication and demonstrate your concern. If they are of school age, now is a fantastic time to inquire about how their day at school was, whether they have any homework, if any problems have arisen, what they found fascinating, and so on.
It’s a good idea to start talking at the same time every day to establish a habit. Because everyone is gathered together at dinnertime, many families choose this time to discuss everyone’s day.
Learn their stress signs and how to recognize them
This suggestion will take a bit longer to implement since you must first become acquainted with your foster child. You should gradually develop the ability to recognize the warning signs and cues of stress in your foster child so you can intervene before things get out of control.
The sooner you recognize the warning signs, more simpler it will be for the child to control their emotions. This will allow your foster child to practice self-control, which is a very beneficial and crucial lesson.
Never undervalue their emotions
Avoid downplaying the sentiments of your foster child. This is a crucial step in developing trust and a strong relationship with them.
To you, someone may appear to be overreacting to a scenario or occurrence, but the truth is that you have little understanding of how they are feeling or how past events are currently flowing into their present state of mind.
Always listen to them, acknowledge their feelings, show compassion and understanding, and don’t make them feel silly.
Give control and options to your foster child
Depending on the foster child’s upbringing, they may be dealing with feelings of danger and powerlessness. These are strong and frightening feelings, especially for a toddler. Allowing them to make their own decisions gives them a sense of control, which can help them deal with these feelings.
They will begin to feel powerful and will understand what it is like to have some say in their lives. This can be both empowering and calming for children. They are in charge of their lives, not someone else.
You can start by asking them simple questions like what they’d like to eat for supper what movie they want to see this weekend, what after-school sport they want to play, and so on. The options you provide them don’t even have to be extensive. For them, you are creating a new routine. They will still perceive those options as significant and thrilling.
Separation anxiety can be quite distressing
Did you realize that children can experience separation anxiety as well? Whatever their upbringing, they are related to their biological family members (if any), regardless of how they lived.
They can’t just ignore that, and it’s probably now manifesting as separation anxiety, so they can’t just brush it under the rug. In this circumstance, the most helpful thing you can do is acknowledge what they’re experiencing and tell them it’s alright for them to feel like that and that it’s common to feel a variety of emotions at once.
You shouldn’t ever criticize a person’s biological family or parents. Be ready for them to ask you questions about your family as well, and remember to be open and honest in your responses. Inform them if you don’t have the solution to their problem. Avoid telling lies. To ease their separation anxiety, be sure to also go through the schedule about when they are going to see their parents.
Is there help available from the fostering agency?
Most foster agencies, like Courage Community Foster Care in Colorado, also provide foster children with some form of support. This can involve counseling or just some straightforward advice from their website.
Look into and inquire about what is available so that you can fully utilize the tools. Some even take a whole-family approach, in which you may be eligible for counseling or support resources as well. The goal is always to provide foster children with a safe, healthy, and comfortable home environment.
The best part is that there is so much you can do as a foster parent to help your foster kid with managing their feelings in the immediate and distant future. As soon as they get there, you need to get moving and demonstrate that you are composed and the one person they can always count on, no matter what sentiments or emotions they are experiencing.
Community Courage Foster Care is dedicated to providing exceptional foster care services. We believe every child deserves a safe and loving home, and we work tirelessly to ensure they receive the support and care they need.
With a focus on building strong and nurturing relationships, we strive to create a sense of belonging and stability for children in foster care. Our experienced and compassionate team is committed to advocating for the well-being and success of each child, while also providing guidance and support to foster families.
At Community Courage Foster Care, we believe in the transformative power of community and the courage it takes to make a positive difference in a child’s life. Call us today at 719.321.4319 to start your foster parenting journey!