While we may celebrate different holidays at the same time of the year, there is a lot shared between us all when it comes to the spirit of the season. Your family may have a different spiritual or cultural background than your foster child.
Where some may see a challenge to prepare for, we think this is one of the hidden opportunities to demonstrate care and support. Because there are some values in the season that we all have in common, and incorporating them into your household during this time is a great way to bond with and celebrate the season as a family.
When we think of generosity, we think of giving gifts, but that isn’t necessarily the only message we want to send to our kids, foster or biological. Generosity can be shown in many different forms during the holidays.
As a family, you can make a donation to a local charity and include your foster child in the giving. You can teach the principal of gifting your time by volunteering or setting aside quality time as a family to bake or watch a holiday movie.
You want to show that no matter what material possessions you have or don’t, that generosity is something anyone can give at any time.
This may sound like an odd value of the holiday season, especially since we just talked about giving to others, but stick with us. It's likely that your foster child hasn’t received many gifts in the past.
So, this season, you can be there to support them through any complicated feelings that receiving of any sort may have. You know that your foster child is deserving of good things, from homemade sugar cookies with the family to a new bike and everything in between.
We believe all children have a desire to want to fit and belong. Giving them the same amounts of gifts as your own children or extended family members doing that will make them feel like part of the family.
The holidays are a time of magic and great stories of Santa Claus and his flying reindeer, the savior of the world being born, the menorah who’s light never went out and more. Being present in the feel-good spirit is a luxury for some.
Who has time for “children’s stories” when you have a family member who is ill or you’ve been separated from your family? Well, we think it’s the perfect time for tales of hope and joy that offer a timely escape from some of the harsher realities of life, especially for your foster child.
This counts for your family and your foster child's. This value speaks to things like being intentional of including your foster child in family activities while also honoring the space your foster child has for their family traditions.
Plan ahead so your foster child can call or visit their loved ones during the season and it doesn’t get lost in the hustle and bustle or overrun by your plans. If their time is honored and valued, they will be more able to be present during their time with your family.
Speaking of time with your family, if your foster child has the chance to meet any family before the holidays, you should take advantage of that. It’s a lot more comfortable to see someone again than meet them for the first time at a special event like Christmas dinner.
Ask your foster child what traditions they have for the holidays. If it fits with your family, try to incorporate it in your celebrations! You can demonstrate valuing traditions by including them in what your family does and sharing how it is important to you.
Maybe you can even start a new tradition that they can carry from your home to another if needed. But the main goal is to show them how to build consistency and familiarity year-to-year.
6. Spreading Cheer
"The best way to spread holiday cheer, is singing loud for all to hear," as Buddy the Elf says.
This value is about a joyful and generous attitude towards others. Joy and a generous attitude are often easier to demonstrate than explain. So play some holiday music, celebrate the small things, and show your foster child how they can have both boosted by holiday spirit.
Both joy and generosity are gateways to resiliency, which is a skill all of us need, but will especially serve your foster child in rising above the circumstances they cannot control and learn to find happiness where they can.
Probably the most poignant value of the season. The end of the year and time together reminds us of the bright future of tomorrow. Even in the year 2020, even if your foster child is in a rough spot, hope can be found.
This time of year, hope is on display in our religious celebrations, the movies we watch, and it can also be perpetuated in your home.
We look forward to this time of year for a reason. The holiday season is a reminder of the things that are important and connect us. Christmas carols, the yummy treats, and gift giving can lift us up after a challenging year.
Quality time, whether digitally or in person reminds us that we are all in this together. You as a foster parent are able to share these values with your foster child and help ease some unsettling emotions during the holidays.
We are always eager to speak with potential foster parents, and if you feel inspired to be a part of caring for foster children, we invite you to click on the link below!