How To Help Your Foster Child Prepare for Parent Visitation

If your child is scheduled to be visited by his birth parents, this could understandably be an awkward time for all parties involved. However, there are ways to make this time even a pleasurable one. Here are some of the ways to help a foster child with parent visitation:

Talk with your foster child. This should be your first step. Understand where your child is at, and how he feels about this whole situation. Let him understand that you are all on his side, and that in fact, all of you love him so much that you all want to spend time with him and give him the best. If he asks questions about why his birth parents gave him up in the first place, you have to let him realize that his birth parents just wanted the best for him. Make sure that you explain the situation to him clearly, but use words that are appropriate for his age. 

Be consistent with a schedule. It will really help if the parent visitation has a set schedule so that your foster child will always have the time to prepare himself emotionally for each visit. Know also that having an established routine wherein they already know what to expect is always very helpful specially to young children.

By the way, never use parent visitation as a means of reward or punishment. Your child should realize that parent visitation will be constant in his schedule.

Let your child know what to expect. Here's the simple truth: a child will be able to adjust to a situation more the more he knows about it and understands it. A few weeks before the scheduled visitation, you could sit down and brainstorm with your child about the things that he wants to do during the visit. Then, contact the birth parents (or have the social worker contact them for you) and inform them about the list that your child has come up with. This will at least give the birth parents ample time to prepare for these     activities. You could also suggest that, for the next visits, the birth parents will be the one to brainstorm with your child about the activities that they will do in the future.

Drive him to the visitation. This will help transition your child between being with you as the foster parent and then meeting his birth parents. If it is possible, you could     even stick around for about 5 to 10 minutes so that you could help ease his feelings towards his birth parents.

Discuss the visitation. After the visitation, it would be very helpful if you would know how your child felt throughout the time. This discussion could also be a guide to     help you make the future visits more pleasurable.

Discuss techniques with the social worker. You could also consult with     professionals about the different ways that you could help your child during this time.  Some of the people you could talk with include the social worker who is helping you arrange the parent visitations and a child psychologist.

There you have it! These are just some of the ways that you could best help your foster child deal with parent visitations. Remember, the most important thing is that your child knows that you are all there to support him, and that he has your unconditional love. Good luck!


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