How do you celebrate birthdays with your foster children? The answer to this question depends on who you are and what birthdays mean in your home. Everyone is different, and that’s okay, but this is something that all foster carers must think about carefully. This post has some advice for any carer thinking about this big topic.
Think About the Child
The first thing to think about is who are you looking after, and what kind of birthday will it be. For example, a two year old turning three may not understand as much about their big day as a fifteen year old about to become sixteen. Every age is different, and that’s okay. Thinking about the child means looking at how old they are, and what the age appropriate response to this occasion might be.
If your foster child is old enough to talk about what they want and how they think their birthday should be, make them a part of the conversation. This is a great way to not only build a relationship but also help them feel like a part of the unit as well. You can sit down and show them just how special they are by creating a space to talk about what they want to do and how they want to celebrate.
Remember Birth Families
Children’s families are likely to be in touch or even want contact on special occasions like birthdays. Remember that young people come into care for so many different reasons, and there is often contact between them and their families as they live under your roof. It may be the case that the family is handling the arrangements, with the help of the social workers involved in the child’s care. If so, you can either join in where appropriate or do something different at home instead.
Talk to Your Team
The truth is, what works for one child almost certainly will look different for another. You don’t know what your particular foster child will need until you talk to your team and figure it out. Every foster care agency with experience and expertise, like fosteringpeople.co.uk, will want to get this right for the children they look after. So, working together is the best way forward!
Every child on earth needs people who show up for them. This will actually become your main responsibility as you become more and more experienced as a foster carer. Showing up and marking the birthday will help the child to feel appreciated, and like they are just as important as everyone else. You can make it as big or as small as you want, as long as you show up. These are the moments that they will remember forever, and the things that shape their development too.
Foster carers have so many amazing ways to give children that they look after special memories and moments of happiness. Birthdays are just one more day where you get to show them how loved they really are and give them a core memory to look back on later in life.