If you have completed the process and are waiting for a placement, here are a few things you can prepare before hand to make the transition easier.
Have a bedroom ready to go, ensure the room is clean and tidy and not used as a room for your junk. This will mean you don't have to have a mad rush around preparing the room in the hours before the placement. Ensure you have clean bedding.
If you don't know what age the child may be it is a good idea to have a few different age appropriate things in the bedroom. Examples could be night lights for younger children. It is also a good idea to have a wide selection of books and magazines that are appropriate for girls and boys of different ages, maybe even DVD's if you decide to have a TV in the bedroom.
One of our carers also has a few different sets of pyjamas, slippers and dressing gowns as it is a possibility that the child will arrive with nothing
Ensure you have basic toiletries such as toothbrushes, brushes, hair clips and hair gel. If you are looking at the possibility of really young children then nappies, baby wipes and other items you might need should be ready to go. It is also good to have a set of clean towels ready.
Children can be really fussy eaters and although you won't know what their likes and dislikes are there a few items that are safe choices. This is also where the freezer will come in handy. Having a few fussy child friendly items such as frozen pizza, chips and burgers will cover a lot of bases. Failing that have a few take away menus ready to go.
We're not saying fill them with junk food the whole time, but a few simple choices until you discover their likes and dislikes won't hurt.
The child/children may come with nothing so it is a good idea to have a few age appropriate toys, something they can hold on to. We also advise carers to have some soft toys ready in case children want something comforting to sleep with; this is often true for our much older children too.
It is also good to have a few age appropriate games and DVD's. Board games and movie nights are good to have in the initial few days to help them settle and get to know you.
It is a good idea to make sure the house is safe and child ready. Make sure any chemicals are out of reach, any medicine or tablets are locked away and any wires are tidied up.
Anything you think might be dangerous should be removed and anything you wouldn't like to be broken should be put away.
Have a plan
Having a little plan about what you will do on arrival is very helpful. This will allow you to cover all bases and make sure you don't miss any vital information that the child will need. Read our blog here about what to do on the first day of a foster placement as this can be the basis of the plan.
It's also a good idea to try and include any of their own children in the planning, so maybe picking out toys or PJ’s that they think the new addition will like. Giving your children jobs to do can make them feel involved in the preparation, like helping get the bedroom ready and putting the toys out.
In all honesty you can't fully be prepared for every eventuality and things don't always go to plan, but considering these things can help a bit the rest of the time you can think on you feet!
If you could add to this and give any advice on preparing for a placement, let us know.