Foster care is an incredibly rewarding experience. As a foster carer, you may be responsible for the care of a child who has been through a lot, making it difficult for them to trust and build solid relationships with others – especially adults. But building a trusting relationship with your foster child is essential to their well-being and helps them feel safe and secure in their new environment. It can take time to build trust, but with the right amount of patience and commitment, foster carers can create a positive, nurturing environment that promotes trust, healthy growth, and healing.
Understand Your Foster Child’s Background
Before you welcome a foster child into your home, agencies such as Orange Grove Foster Care will typically provide you with more information on the child and their history. Take the time to learn about their background, history, and their life experiences so far. When you have a better understanding of their past and what they have been through, you will be in a better position to provide the right support and care for them. And, knowing more about the child and their life when you start caring for them will demonstrate that you care about what they have been through and are interested in their well-being.
Children who enter foster care may have not had much of a chance to experience the kind of stability that they need to thrive up until now. They may have been through some significant disruption in their lives, along with traumatic experiences that may have left them finding it difficult to trust others. Being consistent when it comes to your care will help your foster child feel more safe and secure with you. Even simple things like having a routine for mealtimes and bedtimes can create a sense of security and predictability that cultivates trust and helps your foster child feel like you are somebody they can open up to. Follow through with any commitments you make to them and be a dependable person for them.
Communicate Honestly and Openly
Clear, open, and honest communication is crucial when it comes to building trust with your foster child. Use language that they can easily understand when speaking to them and a tone that is calm and reassuring. Simply spending the time to explain things to them so that they know what’s happening in their lives and what to expect can make a huge difference when it comes to helping them feel safe and reduce anxiety. Even if it means telling them that you’re not sure and will need to find out for them, being honest with your foster child goes a long way in building trust. Being transparent and authentic is one of the most important things you can do to encourage your foster child to trust you and communicate with you.
Many children in foster care have learned not to trust adults, so building a trusting relationship with them as a foster carer can be a big task. But with the right communication, consistency, and a genuine care for them and who they are, you can teach them that it’s OK to trust.