It’s Time for Back to School!
Summer is quickly coming to an end, and it’s time for foster families to prepare for the back to school transition. This season can present mixed feelings for a child in foster care. Some children may have fear or anxiety about starting school in a new community, being academically behind or developing relationships with peers. As your foster family works to settle children into a school year routine, below are some suggestions on how you can support both the child and family during this transition.
Relay coupons and school supply deals: This time of year, there are so many avenues for accessing school supplies. If you know of a specific supply drive, coupons or other deals, share them with your foster family. If you have children of your own, invite the family to school supply shop with you and tackle the task together!
Offer to tutor: Children in foster care have experienced constant and difficult transitions and may be academically behind. If there is an academic area that you are particularly gifted in, offer your skills to the foster family to help support their child through the school year.
Create encouraging notes: This is a fun way to offer encouragement amid back to school anxiety. Create a series of small cards or notes that can be placed in the child’s backpack or locker to remind the child she is thought of, cheered on and loved.
Make a snack care package: Anyone who has school-age kids knows they often walk in the door ready for after school nourishment! Create a fun snack package for the child for the first few days of school. Consider protein-based snacks such as bars, trail mix and string cheese. Add a fun treat you know to be the child’s favorite.
Put an end to gossip: At the start of the year, families spend time catching up over summer happenings. There is a natural curiosity others have about children placed in foster care; a desire to know the circumstances around the placement or more about the child’s background. This may seem well-meaning, but if you hear others talking about foster families or their children, put a stop to it. Every child’s story belongs to them so politely remind the individual that the privacy of the foster family and child is important and should be respected.
Brush up on trauma-informed care: Returning to school is a significant transition for kids in care, and difficult behaviors may appear or reappear as a result. Remember the tools you gained during support team training and continue to build your trauma-informed response skills so you can be a strong support to the family.
Leave a Reply.