6 Ways to Make a Foster Child Feel Special at Christmas

6 December, 2018

Christmas is a magical time of year for children, but it can be difficult for many young people in foster care, as the memories and emotions of the past come flooding back.

As the festive season approaches, we ask some of our Foster Carers for their tips on how to bring back the joy and make a foster child feel special and part of the family at Christmas.

1. Create a Personalised Christmas Eve Box
Decorate a lovely box, paint their name on it and fill it with lots of goodies, like pyjamas, chocolates and puzzle games, then give it to them on Christmas eve.

The last young lady we looked after took it to hand on to her own children, when she grows up.

2. Buy a Special Christmas Card
Make them feel really special by getting them a lovely Christmas card – perhaps one that says ‘To someone special’.

These children may have suffered neglect for many years and just need to be told how special they really are – it’s small gestures like this that really help to build their self-esteem.

3. Don’t Expect Too Much
When Christmas morning comes around, make sure you open your presents all together. But just remember that they may not have ever experienced a Christmas like this before and so it can be overwhelming, so don’t expect too much from them.

4. Respect Gifts from Birth Family
The child in your care may still have contact with their birth parents and wider family. Be very respectful of the gifts they may receive from them and appreciate how important they may be to the young person in your care.

5. Let Them Help Choose the Menu
Make sure you let your foster child help to choose the menu for Christmas dinner. But don’t just take ‘I don’t like it’ as gospel. If they haven’t tried some of the food you’ve suggested, let them taste some options before the big day.

You could also try some some of their choices too and maybe add some to your menu, even if it’s not a traditional choice – who said chicken nuggets aren’t for Christmas anyway?

6. Keep Handmade Decorations Safe
Hang up any decoration that your foster child has made, whether at home or at school, and make sure you keep them safe for the following year – they’ll remember which one’s they made.

You could also label them with the year they were made and take photos of them hanging up, for when the child grows up.

If you’re coming into your first Christmas as a foster carer, then we really hope some of these tips will give you some ideas to make this year very special.

If you’d like more advice, then please feel free to give your local team a call or have a chat with your Social Worker – we want to make sure that Christmas is enjoyable for everyone.

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