What Age Foster Children Are You Getting Your Home Ready For?
Before reading any further you need to know that the age of the foster children you take in depends on the type of items you need to get. Also the number of children you are willing to take in will change how much you need. Adjust these ideas depending on the age and number of children you will be getting. These are just the basic ideas for getting your home ready for foster children.
Clothing For Foster Children
The best thing to do is get 7 outfits for each age group you may be taking in. So if you are willing to take in 3,4, and 5 year old foster children, then get 7 outfits for each of those three sizes in BOTH girl and boy. So you would have a total of 2 sets for each age.
You can buy these new, or if you are looking to save money look on sites like Craigslist, eBay, or even Facebook. Chances are if you have many Facebook friends you could simply put up a post explaining the situation and your needs. Friends will usually offer up supplies cheap or free.
Most foster children come with only the clothes on their back. If they are lucky or have been in other foster homes they may come with a few outfits in a bag, but even then they usually need more. If the child will be going to another foster home when leaving you it is best for you to send a few of the outfits with them. Let them feel like they have something of their own.
Toys For Foster Children
Stuffed Animals!!! Clean, small, new or gently used stuffed animals are important if you plan on fostering toddlers. It is very possible along their journey they have lost their safety animal. Every toddler coming through your home should be able to pick one animal that gets to be just theirs. This should be the one thing they don’t have to worry about sharing and it should go with them when they leave.
Art supplies! This is a great thing to stock up on, maybe at back to school savings events. Art supplies are good for almost every age group. Markers, crayons, construction paper, coloring books, color pencils, paint, paintbrushes, and notebooks are a good start.
Books They are cheap, easy to find, and you can get them for all age groups. Books can be bought at thrift stores for next to nothing. So this is a cheap thing to do. Simply buy a small book shelf and stock it with the different age range of books that you will have.
Toys You don’t want to over do this, but maybe buy a small toy box and fill it with a few of the basics. Blocks, cars, small animals such as dinosaurs or zoo animals, and a couple dolls should be enough to get you started.
Teen Ideas So we all know teens are a bit picky. A decent smart phone can be purchased for around $40 at many retailers now. You will want your teen foster child to be able to get in touch with you so buying a prepaid phone for them is something to keep both of you happy. Also a small simple $20 mp3 player loaded with different types of music could be a good idea.
Preparing for a Baby Foster Child
Diapers, Diapers, and more Diapers! Wait…..Did I say DIAPERS!!! If you aren’t a couponer, now might be the time to start so you can stock up on many different sizes of diapers to prepare if you plan on taking in infants. They often show up in a soggy diaper that police put on them. You will need to have multiple different sizes stockpiled at your home.
Wipes, formula, bottles, pacifiers, and things like carriers or swings may be a good option if you plan on getting newborns.
Don’t get too much equipment. You will in most states get an equipment voucher to help offset some of the costs.
Foster Child Safety
You probably already know if you have been approved that you will need safety things such as locks, safes, and latches for all things like chemicals and medicines. So buy something safe to store things in. Make sure everything is locked away.
Also make sure to include child medicines and lice treatment in your locked away medicines. You will need to be able to take care of a child that may come to you from a neglected home.
Remember Foster Children Are Just Kids With a Bad Past
Please keep in mind that foster children are people and should be treated like people. Try to send them away with more than they came with. If you can visit local thrift stores and buy small suit cases when you see them so that these children aren’t stuck carrying their only belongings in a trash bag.
Send them away with a couple extra outfits, a toy, and maybe some new shoes. They deserve to be treated like they are cared about even if that costs you an extra few dollars!
I use to be one of those foster kids. Nothing was worse than moving foster homes. I always lost something along the way, and often foster parents would never let me keep any of the clothes I was use to wearing. As an adult now I do not understand that. Clothes can be bought cheaply at thrift stores. Why not just let them keep a couple of things? Make them feel like you actually cared about them. Send them away with more than they came with!