How to Handle Large Holiday Gatherings with a Foster Child

When a child is making the transition from foster care agencies in Grand Rapids, as a parent, it’s important not to forget how different the atmosphere may be from what they are used to. New people, new surroundings, new norms - all of these things factor in, and in some cases, even something that’s meant to be an enjoyable time can end up becoming stressful. A good example of this is the holidays.


Holidays are supposed to be a time to be happy, but they generally combine a lot of logistical work as well as interacting with people who you may not see very often, sometimes by choice. Combine these things together with the pressure of trying to have the “perfect” holiday, and suddenly, things don’t seem enjoyable at all. Here are some things that you should keep in mind for your child and yourself for the next major holiday gathering.


For one thing, make it clear to your children that while you want them to be on their best behavior, naturally, that they shouldn’t feel that they can’t be themselves. This is especially important for foster care in Michigan, as a holiday gathering may make for the first time that a lot of people are meeting your foster child. Just remember for both your child and yourself that what takes place during your average holiday gathering is a smaller portion of what goes on every day. Don’t feel that you need to “nail it” each time.


With that said, you want to make sure that you create an environment that is welcoming, and in some situations, that may not be so easy. For example, sometimes people tend to get in arguments with members of their extended family, and the last thing you want your foster child to deal with is an atmosphere of tension. A good idea to try and handle this is if you hear a comment you don’t feel like dealing with, ask yourself if it’s really worth responding to. You can’t control how people act, but you can control how you react. Foster parent training in Michigan can help with this.


Finally, one nice thing that may be worth doing with a foster child is trying to establish a new tradition with them, or even integrating some of their old holiday traditions into your household. In some cases, having something that you can build together with them will help them feel like more of a true part of the household. In addition, if they don’t feel comfortable at your holiday party, they will at least have something to fall back on to hopefully build some good memories.



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