The beginning of any foster care journey is an exciting time, filled with many emotions for both the foster parent and the foster child. Whether or not it’s your first time fostering, it’s understandable to feel a little overwhelmed at the thought of preparing your home for a new child’s arrival. There are practicalities to consider as well as the psychological aspect of helping your foster child feel at home. There’s a number of things you can do to ensure you’re providing both a safe and welcoming environment.

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry. At Orchard Fostering we understand the anxiety that can go alongside preparing your home. That’s why we’ve complied a guide on practical steps you can do to make sure you’re all set for your foster child’s first day.

If you’re interested in foster care, please reach out to Orchard Fostering today. We’re available on the phone or via email – you can also fill out a form directly on our contact page.

Things Every Foster Home Needs

When putting together a shopping list for your foster child, it’s good to remember to get the basics as well as some extra touches that can make your foster child feel more at home. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Fresh Sheets and Bedding

A foster child’s first night in a new place can feel daunting. It’s likely they’ll be exhausted after their first day, particularly depending on the circumstances of their placement. A part of setting up your foster child’s bedroom appropriately is making sure comfortable and warm bedding is ready before their arrival.

Snacks! 

Having some age-appropriate snacks in the house is a must for any foster carer. It’s amazing what food can do to make someone feel at home. Of course, having healthy snacks is the goal, but it’s also a good idea to have some treats for special occasions or if your foster child has had a stressful move. Baking together is also a great way to keep entertained during the colder months.

Toiletries 

A foster child needs their own toiletries as soon as they move in. This includes their own toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, face cloths, towels, shampoo, and conditioner. Be mindful of what age you’re buying for too. Stock up on plenty of nappies for babies. Deodorant or feminine hygiene products may also be required for foster teens.

Spare Clothes

If there is time to find out more about your foster child before their placement, purchasing some spare clothes can be a great way to make them feel at home right away. If you’re not sure of their size or worried they might not like the clothes you pick out, it might be better to go shopping together for the first time.

School Supplies 

Depending on the age of your foster child, they may need stationery items for school. Stock up on notebooks, pens and pencils and any other bits and pieces that they may need. Having the basics is always a good idea but don’t forget your foster child might like to pick out their own pencil case or schoolbag too.

Comfort Items 

Once all the essentials are in place, don’t forget to pick up a few things that will make your foster child’s transition to your home that much easier. Having a special blanket or fluffy teddy they can cuddle on their first night will make them feel more secure. Picking up a few toys that are ready to play will also ease your foster child into their new environment more easily.

How to Make Your Home and Garden Safe for a Foster Child

In advance of your foster child’s arrival, it’s vital to make sure your home is a safe space. Here are some ways to prepare:

First Aid Kit

Having a first aid kit stocked and ready for use will not only put your mind at ease but make any accidents or emergencies easier to deal with. Cuts and scrapes are all a part of childhood so make sure to have plenty of plasters along with antiseptic wipes. If you’re aware of any medical conditions or allergies your child has be sure to have a supply of any medications they require too.

Prepare your Garden 

Making sure your garden is child-friendly should be a top priority before your foster child’s arrival. Lock away any sharp shears, equipment, and machinery. Water safety should also be a consideration. Any ponds or large areas of water should be appropriately fenced off and children should always be watched when playing near water.

Secure Cupboards

Children are inquisitive, especially about a new environment. It’s vital to have cleaning supplies and medications and anything else that could potentially be hazardous locked safely away and out of reach from small hands.

Make Sure it’s Tidy

A messy home can signal a chaotic environment for a child, even when that’s not the case. It’s best to tidy up around the house before their arrival, especially in their room. Any sentimental items that could be damaged or easily broken should also be locked away.

If you’re interested in foster care, please reach out to Orchard Fostering today. We’re available on the phone or via email – you can also fill out a form directly on our contact page.