Fostering can be a big life change and it is important to build a support network of friends, family and your fostering agency. If this change is a challenge for you, if you already have children it will be a challenge for them and they will have their own fears, concerns and apprehensions.
Below we outline a few ideas that you can use to make the transition easier for your existing children.
Talk to them
Obviously what you say and how you say it will depend on the age of your children, but the sentiment will be the same. Explain why your fostering, explain that some are not as fortunate as them and need your help.
It is also a good idea when possible to explain what effects it may have on the family. It is important to be open and honest during this process.
Get them involved
Prior to the fostering placement, it is a good idea to get them involved in getting ready for the placement. They could help prepare the room, maybe pick out some age appropriate toys or some pyjamas and other clothes.
On the day of the placement maybe allocate them a task like giving a tour or choosing a meal.
Listen to their concerns
Once things have settled down it is a good idea to sit down with them to see how they are feeling. Are they happy with everything or do they have concerns. They may just wonder why certain things are happening, again being open and honest at this stage will help.
Make time for them
Make sure you have individual time with your own children as well as with fostered children i.e if you have always picked them up from school or taken them for regular days out, keep doing this.
Put some time aside for them when fostered children are having contact with their family.