Waiting to become foster parents feels a whole lot like the waiting period when you’re pregnant. You know that your life is about to change in every possible way, and you want to do everything possible to prepare for that change, but it always feels like you should be doing more! Making sure your home is fully equipped for a child is one of the key things you can do in your preparations. Whether you’re interested in Fostering in Manchester or Cornwall, the same fears and worries effect everyone!
Fear not, here we have a few handy tips to prepare you home for fostering a child.
Lock Up up Harmful Medicines and Chemicals
Licensing standards where we live require foster homes to lock up any cleaning supplies and medications. We put something called a “lock hasp” on the outside of one of our closet doors, and then we put all cleaning supplies and medications in that closet. Lock hasps are small metal hinges that swing open and closed, and you slip a padlock through it. You can get them at any home improvement or hardware store for a few pounds.
Pack Away Breakables
There is a chance that children coming into your home may be destructive. So if you have anything fragile that you value, consider packing it away or relocating it to somewhere away from the kids. In addition to breaking something that holds special meaning for you, you don’t want your child hurting him or herself on broken glass.
Have Toiletry Items on Hand
Have some extra children’s toothbrushes, toothpaste, hair brushes, shampoo, and body wash.
Set-up Your Living Space
In the UK, you will need to have a spare room for each child you are licensed to accept (so if you are licensed for three children, you need three empty beds in the house). We decorated our other bedrooms in gender-neutral colours. We didn’t go crazy with the decorating, but there were a few small touches that made the rooms look cute and inviting. It was well worth the time and money, because when our kids got here they were scared until they saw their bedroom, and then their faces lit up! We also put video baby monitors in each bedroom so that we could keep an eye on them at all times. Interestingly, when our kids were scared to sleep the first few nights, it helped console them to know that we were watching them through the monitor.
The main goal in preparing your physical environment is to have what you’ll need to get by for the first couple days of a placement so that you won’t have to run out to the store in the middle of the night. Whether you’re looking foster a child through the state, or with a private fostering agency – they will likely have other requirements for you before the child comes to stay with you. Things like such as fire extinguishers and working smoke alarms for example. You can never be completely prepared for foster care, and you will probably find yourself making lots of changes to your home in the first few weeks when you get a new placement!