Back to School Tips for Foster Parents

From Our Clinical Director

I hope everyone has had a great summer as it is quickly coming to an end.  We are looking forward to hearing about the great adventures and trips that many of you took. Well school is starting back and as much as parents say they are glad and the children say they are ready to go back, changing from one routine to another can be stressful. We have children with great potential; remember every situation is an opportunity for teaching.   A lot of times our kids are angry and they have great reason to be.  In many cases, life has not been fair to them, they have things going on within their body and brain that they don’t understand and they do not know how to control themselves.

Here are some tips for us as the parents, instructor or leaders:

  1. Don’t react!  If you react then that means that you are operating on emotions which usually is not good.  Know that you are working with children who have behavioral issues and be prepared to re-direct and not react.
  2. Don’t preach.  It does not one any good in the heat of the moment to start telling anyone what they’re doing wrong and how to solve it.
  3. Walk away if you need to, it is not a sign of being out of control it is a sign of maturity.  If you are arguing with the child they are very much so controlling YOU!!!
  4.  It is normal to get frustrated allow yourself to get frustrated, but control your behavior.  We as caretakers do not want our behaviors to be like the child’s behaviors.  Our role is to teach how to handle difficult situations.
  5. Make sure that you are giving your children a healthy diet with fresh vegetable and fruits.  Fast food is okay every once in a while, but a healthy diet feeds the mind, body and soul.  You might also find that some of the child’s behaviors are related to poor diet.
  6. Make sure that your child is getting enough sleep.  It is difficult to control your own behavior when you are tired and irritable.  If you have a child who struggles with behaviors they will not make the best choices when tired.  Bedtimes should not be based upon age, but upon the need of the child.
  7. Make sure that you are paying attention to your child’s success.  If they do something great and you simply say “that’s wonderful”; but when they are acting out you spend a great deal of time and energy on that behavior, you have just reinforced the negative behaviors.  Children want your attention and if negative behaviors are what is takes to get your attention then negative behaviors is what you will get.
  8. Violent TV shows and video games will validate violence and negativity.  Monitor what your child watches and make sure that it has a positive message.
  9. Don’t set up your child by having computers without pass codes on them or leaving your cellphone unprotected.  Also, you should have allow your child to use your computer unless you are supervising.  Supervising means you are sitting there with them watching what they are doing and not just checking on them periodically.  If you leave your electronics where they can get to it and they do something they should not do, it is your error not theirs.  Our kids need to be protected from their own choices until they learn to make better ones.  Their usages of electronics should always be planned.
  10. Throw out the thought that you trust your children until they give you a reason not to trust them.  The children are placed in treatment foster care, they have given many reason not to be trusted.  They have proven they do not make the best choices.  Don’t set yourself up to be disappointed when they do something untrustworthy, because you gave them freedom and trust they were not ready to handle.
  11. Bullying is a big thing now in the school system.  Although the school system in putting programs in place to end bullying it is still happening.  Make sure that it is not happening to your child.  The behaviors you see can be a result of them being bullied at school.
  12. Keep your children active.  No child should be a couch potato.   Every child should get some physical activity everyday.   Many school budgets have been cut and children do not get physical education daily.  Do something with your children and let them have some choices about doing things that they like.

Here is the most important thing: Laugh and have fun.  We all want to have fun and your child should be having fun with you and you with them.  Acknowledge all the good moments, celebrate the great moments and always let your child know that they are a blessing.