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Preparing for School – 3 Essential Tips

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With summer almost over, no doubt both you and your foster child are starting to get a little nervous about the new school year.

Whilst it is common for children to feel anxious when going back to school, for foster children it can be a particularly difficult time. However, there are a few things you can do to ensure their new school year kicks off as smoothly as possible. Here we share some of the best ways to prepare your child for school…

1. Ensure the teacher knows the child is in foster care

You don’t have to go into all the personal details of why your foster child is in foster care, but simply letting their teachers know ahead of time can make a massive difference. Why? Because they’ll understand the challenges your foster child is facing and they’ll work with you to ensure they are well looked after and happy in their classes.

It’s also helpful to let them know if the child has visitation days with their parents. Often, children can find it difficult to readjust after a visitation from their biological family. If the teachers know this, they’ll be able to accommodate for, and address various behaviours in the right way.

2. Find out how the child is feeling

It’s hard to support and reassure your child if you have no idea how they’re feeling. A lot of children are reluctant to openly admit to how they are feeling or they simply don’t know how to express their emotions without first being prompted.

Sit down with them and ask them how they feel about returning to school. Having an open discussion that addresses any fears they may have will really help. It allows them to voice their concerns, rather than bottling them up and lets them know they are not alone. It’s also the perfect opportunity for you to provide reassurance and to let them know what they can do if they experience any problems.

3. Build up excitement

A great way to make sure they look forward to their first day, rather than dread it, is to build it up as an exciting opportunity. Sharing positive stories about your own school experience can really help.

Do a little research about the activities offered at the school and see if there’s any relating to your foster child’s interests. If they love music for example, you can see if there’s a music class - this gives them something to look forward to. You can even take them to see the school before the new term begins. That way, when they go there on their first day, it won’t feel as daunting.

Overall, preparing your foster child for their first day is always going to be a little nerve-wracking. Try to hide your own nerves as this will only heighten their own worries. If you follow the tips above, you’ll help to make it much less daunting and actually help them to look forward to starting school.

Do you have any other tips for our carers? Let us know on our Facebook page.