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How to prepare for your first Christmas with a foster child

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How to prepare for your first Christmas with a foster child

Christmas is an exciting time to spend cosied up at home with family. If you’re spending your first Christmas with a foster child, you may be wondering how you can make it a special time for them.

Christmas can often be a difficult time for foster children, especially older children. However, there are a few things you can do to make things a little easier and put the magic back into the festive season.

Decorate together

There’s nothing quite like putting up the decorations. This is often a family tradition that instantly puts everyone into the Christmas spirit.

Whether your foster child celebrates Christmas or a different religious holiday, allow them to put their own stamp on the home decorations. Ask them what kind of decorations they would like. Buy them a personalised bauble or incorporate decorations that they are used to seeing around the home.


Offer them their own advent calendar

An advent calendar can be a great way to add a bit more excitement into the festive season. Why not get your foster child their own advent calendar that they can open alongside you and give them their own countdown to Christmas?

Alternatively, you could opt for a family advent calendar. Offer everyone in the household a turn to open a door each day and make sure your foster child is included.


Involve them in the plans for the day

Every family will have their own unique way of spending Christmas day. Some families head off to see relatives, some stay in PJs all day and relax. Whatever you choose to do, make sure your foster child is in the loop about how the day will run.

Don’t forget to ask them what they would like to do on Christmas day, what they’d like to eat or watch on TV and make them a part of creating the day for everyone.


Make it about family

The most important part of Christmas is the time we can spend with family.

Open up your own extended family to your foster child and let them know they are welcome to take part in family activities if they feel comfortable.

It can help to show them photos of any family members that might pay you a visit or you’ll be visiting over the holidays. This helps to introduce these family members early on and can help your foster child feel more comfortable.

If your foster child is in contact with their birth family, spend some time with them to write out Christmas cards or get presents. If appropriate, ask your foster child about their previous Christmas memories and traditions, be open when talking about their birth family and let them know that they are welcome to open up about them whenever they want to.


Be flexible

Like we said earlier, Christmas can be a difficult time for foster Children. If your foster child starts to pull away as the day gets closer, allow flexibility in your plans and give them space. Don’t try and force your foster child to take part and be ready to change your plans last minute if needed.


If you’re not sure about how to navigate the Christmas period for your foster child, remember you always have social workers and contacts you can ask for advice if needed.


Fostering insights


  • Advice
  • Foster Carer

Date published

16 December 2022

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