Christmas is coming up and you want your foster child to be involved! Christmas can be hard for some children in the foster system. Some of them may not have contact with their birth family, while others might not know who they are at all – Christmas can be an especially difficult time for these kids. Christmas is a time where many people get together with their families to celebrate what Christmas means to each of them. Many foster care parents find that this is the perfect opportunity to include their children into the festivities by involving them in any activities around Christmas or simply making it special just for him or her. Opening presents on Christmas Eve, exchanging gifts, singing carols; whatever you do make sure it’s something your child will enjoy!
1. Find a book about Christmas traditions and read it to the child!
They will be able to enjoy all of the stories surrounding Christmas without any of the pressure. Make sure to only read about Christmas traditions they are aware of – make them special. Keep reading this book every year for your foster child’s birthday, before Christmas or whatever you want as an ongoing tradition. Kids love repetition and knowing what is coming next will help ease anxiety surrounding Christmas activities.
2. Read or tell them about how Santa Claus got his name!
Did you know that Santa Claus got his name from a real man? He did! There are many Christmas traditions surrounding the story of St. Nicholas, also known as Santa Clause, and his generosity to children during Christmas time. This is something your child may not have heard of growing up in foster care – explain it to them so they can fully understand Christmas traditions.
If you’re not comfortable with the idea of Santa Claus, try telling them about St. Nicholas instead! He was a very kind man who loved children and gave gifts to those in need – sound familiar? This is another great way for your child to feel connected during Christmas time even if he/she doesn’t have contact with their birth family.
Remember, Christmas is a time for celebration and joy! Foster children may have had bad experiences in the past with Christmas – let them know that this year’s Christmas will be different than those of years past. Make it special just for them; make sure they feel loved and included even if you can’t go out and celebrate.
3. Make a list of what they want for Christmas and keep it somewhere their foster parent can see, like on the fridge!
One of the most important things about Christmas is receiving gifts! Let your child know they will get a gift this year, even if it’s not from Santa. Making them feel as special as possible can help ease any anxiety surrounding Christmas time and birth families. This list could be something you do every Christmas so that next Christmas they have an idea of what they want.
4. Decorate your house with festive decorations – this will create an atmosphere that is welcoming and warm!
Christmas is a time where many people go home to their families. Christmas decorations are an easy way for your child to feel like Christmas isn’t just about birth families – it’s also about foster children! Make Christmas special in whatever ways you can, big or small. Involvement during these festive times will help ease any anxiety surrounding Christmas and birth families.
A Christmas tree, Christmas lights outside your house, wreath on the door – all of these are great ways to get into Christmas spirit with your foster child! Some kids may not be used to owning their own Christmas decorations or being able to make choices about what’s in their home so this can create an added sense of independence
5. Buy some new clothes for them so that they have something nice to wear around town at Christmas time!
Changing your child’s wardrobe can be a great Christmas tradition to start with them! Clothing is something that many children in foster care are not able to have. They may struggle, or feel left out of things, due to lack of clothing – this Christmas give them the gift they deserve and get some new clothes for Christmas.