What To Do When Your Foster Child Hoards Food

Many children who were deprived of food in the past, can develope a habit of hoarding foods while in foster care. Under no circumstances should you scold a child for hoarding food. Keeping food hidden away is their way of ensuring they never go hungry again. And rather than discouraging such behavior- you should let them know that they will never be hungry in your home. Making them believe such a thing by merely telling them, won't necessarily work. You need to show them. And here are a few ways to do just that.

Create a 'safe box' and go through it once a week: If your child is keeping food hidden in their room, create a safebox for them. Let them store food in the box for an entire week. At the end of the week, go through the box with them and decide what things are too old and should be thrown away- and what other things can be kept if they so choose.

Let them know where food is always available: Show them where they can always find food. Explain how you keep certain produce in the fridge, meats in the freezer, and cereals and dry goods in the cupboards. Have them help prepare meals. Show them how they can cook and prepare food themselves. Take them grocery shopping. Make them aware that there is ALWAYS food available in your home.

Have a snack drawer: Have a snack drawer where your child can always find food when they get hungry. We have our snack drawer in our fridge. We keep lunch meats, cheeses, fresh fruit and vegetables, apple sauce, fruit cups, and crackers inside. All of our foster kids are shown this drawer the second they walk in the house. And they are allowed to munch from it at their leisure. This gives them the peice of mind that they will never be without food. I always make sure the drawer is kept full, and that they have access to healthy snacks throughout the day.

Have designated meal times: Let your child know that at an exact time each day they will be fed breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Choose a time that works for you, and then stick to the schedule. This will ease your child's mind by giving them a specific time to look forward to food. It will let them know they can expect to be fed throughout the day.

What Birth Parents Can Do For Foster Parents

Being a birth parent, in a foster-care situation can be extremely stressful and intimidating. But, trust me, the foster parent to your child cares about YOU and the kids. And the best way to show the courts that you care about your children, is to develop a positive relationship with the person caring for them. The more acquainted you become with your children's foster parent, the more that foster parent is going to respect you and stand behind you on your journey to bringing your kiddos back home. So what are some must-do ways to earn respect from your child's foster parent?

Always attend court dates and legal hearings for your child: This is by far the most important thing any birth parent can do. Never, under any circumstances, miss a court date or legal hearing for your child. So many things can be decided without your present. You need to be there in order to have your voice heard. Many foster parents will judge a birth parent when they don't arrive. We took the time out of our schedules to go, you need to do the same. No matter how nervous you are- it's never as bad as you think. You'll be given a lot of credit just for showing up.

Don't forget your children's birthday: Even if your social worker will not let you attend your child's birthday party- don't forget it! It is so SO important to your child that you remember their birthday. Send them a gift, buy them a cake and have it delivered, have balloons delivered to their school- do something.. anything! Even a card is a huge huge deal to your child when they don't have the chance to see you on their special day.

Be involved in all holidays: Send little gifts or request visitation on holidays. It's a tough time for your child to be away from you- and they're probably worrying that you've forgotten about them. Or they're worried that you are lonely and left out on the holiday. Let them know you're okay- and that you are thinking of them by visiting them or sending them gifts. A box of candy on Valentine's day, some spooky treats on Halloween, a gift or two on Christmas, and a pack of fun little fireworks on July 4th can make your child feel loved and happy- which eases the burden of your foster parent on stressful holidays.

Stay in contact: The hardest thing for any foster parent to explain to their foster child is that their parent is no longer interested in parenting them. They've given up, run off, or just plain are avoiding contact. If you truly care- please, please, please show it by keeping in contact with your child! Talk regularly to the case worker and people involved in the child's life- including the foster parent. It goes a long way, and the more interest you show, the quicker your child will be back with their birth parents.

Always strive to make visitations positive experiences: If you are entitled a visitation with your child- make it good. DO NOT arrive under the influence, in a bad mood, or over-exhausted. Put on your happy face, act enthused, and keep your energy up. Your child has enough on their plate and the last thing they need to do is worry about you after a visitation. If you arrive in a bad state- the kid will pick up on that and worry about you long after you've left. This puts a huge weight on the foster parent's shoulders. We want our foster kids to be happy and thrilled to see their birth parents. And having birth parents show a lack of interest in their child leaves a bad taste in our mouths. So no matter how bad your life may seem- be happy for your child. They deserve it.

Write letters: Kids of all ages love snail mail. And a fun little card or note from their parents is usually very well-received. It gives them something to look forward to and lets them know that you are thinking of them- which is so important to them.

Give parenting tips: One thing many birth parents are afraid of is that their child is now living an entirely different life. And in many ways that's true. But that doesn't mean you can't share your insight with their foster parents. Let us know what you do to calm your kid during nightmares. Do you have a tradition of having pizza every Friday and watching a movie? Let us know. Does your kid enjoy a certain TV show? Let us know. We want to create a safe, loving, and FUN environment for your child. You can help us do that by giving us parenting tips. I always enjoy talking to birth parents and getting their perspective on things. It helps me incorporate key things into my foster kids lives. Without my current birth parent telling me I never would have known that my kids sleep best if they have a small snack before bed, that they do homework right when they get home from school (not after dinner), and that they like to do math flashcards. But I'm so happy she told me! Because now I do those things with the kids too.

Tips For Keeping The Birth Parent(s) In Your Foster Child's Life

Birth parents will always play an important role in a child's life. Whether or not they are currently in a positive relationship with the child, they will always have a profound effect on who that kid becomes. I feel, as a foster parent, it's my duty to keep the birth parent involved in their kid's life. I feel that it helps motivate them to improve their situation. It gives them hope for a better future and constant reassurance that their child is still a part of their life. And there are a few really easy, simple ways to keep a birth parent involved.

Send pictures: Pictures are worth a thousand words. When they see an image of their kid well-bathed, well-dressed, well-fed, and happy- they're mind is going to be at ease. Many people assume that birth parents don't care what home their child is in, but in my experience that is absolutely not true. The birth parents do worry about their kids and want to know they're being cared for. That's why I share positive pictures with my birth parents regularly. Not only to ease their mind about their child's welfare, but also to keep them visually intune with their kid. They know what their child looks like with their new sun tan, or new clothes, or even those few new inches they grew into this summer.

Invite them to school events: With a social worker's permission I will always extend an open invitation for birth parents to attend school events with me. This includes extra curricular activities, parent/teacher conferences, school recitals, and class parties and programs. It's a very positive place for the parent to be involved. And it's also a positive place for their child to see them- in an open no-pressure public environment.

Send school work to them: Once or twice a month I will send a few school items to the birth parents of my foster children. Homework and tests that they've gotten good grades on, art projects they've done, papers they've written, report cards. These things not only reassure the parent that education is a priority in my household- it also shows them how they, as a parent, can make school work a priority as well. I've noticed with parents that I've included in the child's educational progress, that once the children are put back in the home the parents will continue the same school patterns and habits I've already enforced with the child.

Have kids make crafts and snacks for them: When my kids have a visitation with a parent we make it a big fun deal. We always make crafts or snacks to take. Sometimes the kids will decorate cookies, sometimes they will bead a bracelet, sometimes they'll go to the store and buy a small gift. We're attempting to create a positive experience between the birth parent and child. I want them to be actively engaged in each other's lives and excited about being together. Granted- we all have our bad experiences. But when the birth parent begins to expect a positive experience with their child I notice that they begin to work harder to make visitations a great experience for them both.

Make home videos: Home videos are so much fun, but they're also so important for birth parents. Birth parents miss a lot of things in their children's lives. First steps, first words, school recitals, birthdays, sports events. There are many things that they may not get the chance to be there for. So that's why I film it and share it with the birth parents. This helps keep them involved, and I hope it also helps motivate them to create a better lifestyle for their entire family.

Include them in holidays: Having your child's birth parent involved in holidays is not only important for the birth parent- it's important for the child as well. If visitation is allowed during birthdays and big holidays, make a point to offer a planned visit that day. If visitation isn't allowed, have your child pick out a gift for their birth parent (this works well for holidays like Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Halloween). For the child's birthday, have them save a slice of birthday cake so they can celebrate with their birth parent the next time they see them.

Ask if they need anything: Birth parents often don't have a strong outside support system. So offering your hand can mean a lot to them. Let them know that if they need help writing a work resume or picking out a child's birthday gift- that you would love to help them out. Offer to be involved in their life as well. It will go a long way in not only bettering their lives, but inspiring them to be a better parent to their child as well.

February Foster Parent Bucket List

Send Valentine's Day Cards To Siblings/ Birth Parents/ Relatives: Prior to Valentine's Day have your child make or sign cards for their siblings, birth parents, and relatives that are still actively involved in the child's life. Then have the child mail them out. Not only is this a great way to brighten your birth-relatives day, it's a great way to ensure the child that their family is not left out as they celebrate the holiday.

Have A Craft Day: Pick out one day and make it into a craft day. Buy a bunch of craft supplies at your local Art Store or Dollar Tree, and then let your child(ren) create! Let their imagination go wild. Even you can enjoy the fun. Collect a variety of things from googly eyes, to markers, to pipe cleaners, and more!

Attend A Basketball Game: Whether it's a professional NBA game or even a high school or little-league event, bringing your child to a basketball game is a fun outing you can both experience together. High school admission prices are rarely over $5.00.

Attend A Local Concert: Music is such a fun art form that comes in so many styles! Find a music concert that will fit your kid's interests and then make a point to visit a local show. Whether it's a Holleywood star playing at a local venue, or just a small battle of the bands, or even a kids musical event at the local library- going to a concert together is a fun way to spend a day.

Grant Birthday Wishes on HeroNetwork: Use the website to find birthday wishes. Have your child pick out cards for each kids, as well as maybe a set of stickers or a few coloring pages- and have your child send out cards to less fortunate children. It's a great way to instill kindness, and is relatively affordable as well!