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The holiday season is a time of intense emotions.  For most of us, it’s a happy time of year as we get to reconnect with loved ones that we only see once in a while. Of course, receiving lots of gifts doesn’t hurt. Plus, for any parent, there’s a certain magic in seeing their eyes light up when they catch a glimpse of Santa or his reindeer. However, for foster kids, the holidays aren’t always a cheerful time of year. We’ve put together a list of tips to help you navigate your first holiday season as a foster family.

Don’t Pressure Foster Kids to Participate

It may seem like surrounding your foster children with a busy, joyous holiday season is the right thing to do. However, a boisterous celebration may feel overwhelming. Foster children may feel sad that they aren’t with their parents and having to participate may make them uncomfortable. Instead, let them pick and choose activities, and have a backup plan in place.

Don’t Go Overboard With Gifts

Foster child participating in holiday season gift giving

An adorable kid with big gift box under a snowfall.

It can be tempting to buy a bunch of presents for your foster child. However, if your child hasn’t settled into your home yet, she may feel like you’re buying gifts because you think you have to. They may feel beholden to you. Instead, follow the rule of four for everyone: one gift they want, one gift they need, one gift they’ll wear, and one gift they’ll read.

Don’t Assume They Don’t Want Gifts

Some kids may not be feeling the Christmas spirit. That’s a typical response to being separated from your family during this time. However, they will probably still want to get gifts. They may feel forgotten or unloved.

Remember Their Feelings Aren’t a Choice

No one chooses to feel miserable during the holidays. Foster children have very real homesickness, and that tends to intensify during the holidays. You may face more behaviors during this time of year. Have patience and try to respond in a way that lets your foster children know that you’re worried about them and want to help them find ways to feel better.

It can be challenging to help your foster child find his or her footing during the holiday season. However, finding ways to strike a balance can enable them to have the best possible holiday season while they are with you!

Learn More About Spending the Holiday Season With Your Foster Family

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you make the holidays a success for your foster child!