Category: Helpful Tips

Back To School Basics for Foster Parents

Going back to school is always a refreshing switch from the summer schedule.  Routines are great for children, and though it may cause anxiety for some students, it is always nice to get into a good schedule.  Here are 5 quick tips for getting back into your school groove:

  1. Family meetings. Life can get busy and hectic, so plan family meetings or one-on-ones to re-connect.  Maybe this is done over an after-school snack, or maybe it’s a weekly check in during Saturday breakfast.  Either way, find time to slow down and connect with the kids in your care.  A lot can happen during an eight hour school day!
  2. Get free meals.  Sign your foster children up for free breakfast and lunch.  While you might have great aspirations to pack healthy meals, it is still a great back-up to have on hand.  All foster children automatically qualify for the free breakfast and lunch program so be sure to take advantage of this support.
  3. Order groceries online. Time seems to fly out the window during the school year and you can save time and money by ordering your groceries online and picking them up or having them delivered!  Walmart offers this service FREE of charge and other stores such as Frys and Sprouts charge a nominal fee.  Pair this with a weekly meal plan and you will save yourself time, money, and energy!
  4. Prepare for battle. Homework can be your worst nightmare during school season.  If you have a child with a full visit schedule, counseling, and other appointments, school work becomes nearly impossible to get done.  Add in a learning disability or behavior challenges and you have a nice recipe for a migraine.  Work with your child’s teacher if needed.  Oftentimes homework demands need to be modified.  If you find that your child’s day involves school, an appointment, homework, and sleep…there needs to be some adjustment to include play!  Don’t be afraid to work with your child’s teacher if homework becomes too much or is difficult to fit into their schedule.  You are their best advocate.
  5. Get talking. Inevitably someone this school year is going to ask your foster child about their parents or their family.  It might be a teacher, some friends, or that nosy stranger, but the conversation is bound to happen.  Role play with your child to help them learn what they would like to say when the uncomfortable questions get asked.  Practicing these conversations helps children identify what they are comfortable sharing and gives them great tools to protect their own privacy. Remember your foster child’s right to confidentiality and work to protect their privacy.

Praying for all our families as they get back into the school groove!  Please feel free to share your own special tips, we’d love to hear them.

5 Books to Read with your Foster Child

As foster parents we don’t always have the answers to every question our foster child asks us. Sometimes we find ourselves lacking the ability to explain how this big, complicated, and messy process works.

The following five books were written to help foster parents answer the hard questions and tackle real issues foster children face in a way that is relatable and understandable.  Through the use of characters like Murphy the Dog or Barley the Bear, foster children are able to connect with a character in a book to help them better understand their situation and feelings.

 

  1. Maybe Days by Jennifer Wilgocki and Marcia Wright

 

Will I live with my parents again? Will I stay with my foster parents forever? For children in foster care, the answer to many questions is often “maybe.” Maybe Days addresses the questions, feelings, and concerns these children often face. Honest and reassuring, it also provides basic information that children want and need to know, including the roles of various people in the foster care system and whom to ask for help.

*This book also includes an extensive afterword with a variety of ways to help children adjust to the “maybe days.”

 

  1. Murphy’s Three Homes by Jan Gilman

Being a pup in foster care is awfully confusing. What’s Murphy to do when he’s taken away from his family and placed in a new home, with new people, new pets, and…new EVERYTHING?!  As he moves from one house to another, Murphy begins to understand all his sad and angry feelings and finds ways to cope. Eventually he discovers what it means to be a “good luck” dog as he jumps and barks his way into a comfortable spot in his new home.

*This books comes with an extensive note to parents on how to help kids cope with the difficulties of being placed in multiple homes.

 

  1. I Don’t Have your Eyes by Carrie Kitze

 “I Don’t have your eyes…but I have your way of looking at things.” Thus begins this beautifully illustrated and uplifting book that explores the intimate parent/caregiver and child bond that is so important within a family. While others may notice the physical differences, there are so many ways we can celebrate the commonality that makes us truly family. We don’t look the same on the outside, but in our hearts, we are the same.

 

  1. I Love You So… by Marianne Richmond

I Love You So… puts into words the often indescribable quality of boundless, steady, and unconditional love. This comforting story embraces the reader like a warm hug and gently reassures a child that love is for always – despite grouchy moods or physical separation. It is the perfect pause in a hectic day, offering the gift of love to a treasured child.

 

  1. I Wished for You: An Adoption Story by Marianne Richmond

 I Wished for You: An Adoption Story, follows a conversation between a little bear named Barley and his mama as they curl up in their favorite cuddle spot and talk about how they became a family. Barley asks Mama the kinds of questions many adopted children have, and Mama lovingly answers them all. With endearing prose and charming watercolor illustrations, I Wished for You: An Adoption Story, is a cozy read that affirms how love is what truly makes a family.

 

We hope these books and stories prove to be a great bonding time for you and your foster child as well as a helpful tool in understanding the world and emotions of foster care. Happy Reading!

Back to School Basics for Foster Parents

Going back to school is always a refreshing switch from the summer schedule.  Routines are great for children, and though it may cause anxiety for some students, it is always nice to get into a good schedule.  Here are 5 quick tips for getting back into your school groove:

  1. Family meetings. Life can get busy and hectic, so plan family meetings or one-on-ones to re-connect.  Maybe this is done over an after-school snack, or maybe it’s a weekly check in during Saturday breakfast.  Either way, find time to slow down and connect with the kids in your care.  A lot can happen during an eight hour school day!
  2. Get free meals.  Sign your foster children up for free breakfast and lunch.  While you might have great aspirations to pack healthy meals, it is still a great back-up to have on hand.  All foster children automatically qualify for the free breakfast and lunch program so be sure to take advantage of this support.
  3. Meal plan. This is one of our favorite suggestions that we give to our families.  Meal planning will save you both time and money as you jump back into the craziness that comes with a busy school schedule.  There are so many amazing tools to help family’s meal plan, but here are a few of our favorites:

http://www.cleaneatingmag.com/meal-planning/meal-plans-shopping-lists/

http://wellnessmama.com/1612/kid-friendly-meal-plan/

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/my-favorite-quick-and-easy-dinners/

  1. Prepare for battle. Homework can be your worst nightmare during school season.  If you have a child with a full visit schedule, counseling, and other appointments, school work becomes nearly impossible to get done.  Add in a learning disability or behavior challenges and you have a nice recipe for a migraine.  Work with your child’s teacher if needed.  Oftentimes homework demands need to be modified.  If you find that your child’s day involves school, an appointment, homework, and sleep…there needs to be some adjustment to include play!  Don’t be afraid to work with your child’s teacher if homework becomes too much or is difficult to fit into their schedule.  You are their best advocate.
  2. Get talking. Inevitably someone this school year is going to ask your foster child about their parents or their family.  It might be a teacher, some friends, or that nosey stranger, but the conversation is bound to happen.  Roleplay with your child to help them learn what they would like to say when the uncomfortable questions get asked.  Practicing these conversations helps children identify what they are comfortable sharing and gives them great tools to protect their own privacy.

Praying for all our families as they get back into the school groove!  Please feel free to share your own special tips, we’d love to hear them.