What To Do When Your Foster Child Fails A Class

A big fat "F" on a report card is never a fun letter to see. As a parent it's your responsibility to make sure your child does well in school. And realizing you've failed that duty is a hard pill to swallow. But now you need to pick yourself up- and make things better. It's an easy task, but does take a bit of effort.

Talk to the teacher first: First things first, go and talk to the teacher- in person. Ask them why your child failed. Were they not finishing their homework? Did they not do well on tests? What was the issue? Ask the teacher if there is any extra credit they can do to change their grade. Also ask what you can do to help your child succeed in their class.

Talk to your child second: Now talk to your child. If they were not finishing their homework- as them why. If they weren't doing well on tests, ask them what they had trouble understanding. Let them know about extra credit activities (that they HAVE to complete). And let them know you're going to work with them to change that "F" to a higher grade together.

Create a 'get back on track' plan WITH your child: Sit your child down and tell them they are better than an "F" and together you need to create a plan to get back on track. Work together to create a list of ways you're going to change the grade. You will do extra credit. You'll finish your homework right after school each night. You'll study before a big test.

Implement a consequence for failing: Let your child know that when they have an F in a class, certain privilages will be taken away until they pull their score up. From now on when they have an F they will not be able to play on the xBox or go shopping with their friends. Do not prevent your child from attending extra curricular activities. Most school events impliment their own consequences for bad grades.

Also implement an encouragement for passing other classes (and this one): Let your child know there are rewards for good grades. In my home we have a grade pay system. Each month the child recieves payment for their good grades, and payments are deducted for bad grades. For each A they recieve $20. For B's they recieve $10. For C's they recieve $5. For D's they recieve nothing. And for every F $10 is subtracted from their total. This gives them something to work towards, and rewards them for good grades.

Explain why school is important: Talk to your kid about why school is so important. They're not only learning about reading and writing and math. They're also learning about responsibility, how to build a good work ethic, how to be self-motivated, and how to be reliable- which are all things they need to succeed in the work place later in life.

Find tutoring help if needed: If your child is failing a class that you yourself are not very good at helping with- hire a tutor to help your child. Tutors can be found on many sites online (including Craigslist "Gigs and Services" section). Schools can also give recommendations for tutors. And even fellow students can help tutor your child.

Beginning Foster Child Check-List (What You Can Get To Prepare Ahead Of Time)

This list is based on things you can prepare before actually having a child placed in your home. These simple little necessities aren't all required (some are), but I recommend all of them. You'll eventually use every single one of these. This is just a beginner's list. Basic things to have on hand. Obviously it doesn't cover everything, but it does help give a basic idea of the beginning budget a foster parent will need to set aside to prepare for a child to come into your home. This list does not cover infant necessities. This one is for children 3 and older.

Bedroom Furniture
-Dresser or Closet Hangers
-Desk or Book Shelf

-Pillow Case

Children's Medicines
-Pain/ Headache Remedies (Advil)
-Cough Drops/ Syrup
-Chest Congestion Rub (Vix Vapor Rub)
-Bug Bite Remedies

First Aid Supplies
-Children's Thermometer
-Rubbing Alcohol
-Gauze Pads, Bandage Wrap
-Liquid Charcoal

-Hair Brush/ Comb
-Hair Ties
-Wash Cloth

Basic Entertainment
-Art Supplies
-Board Games

At-Home School Supplies (Homework Helpers)
-Paper, Notebooks
-Markers, Crayons, Colored Pencils
Wondering what you'll need to buy after a child comes into your home? Visit my New Foster Child Check-List to read my list of first-week necessity buys.

Things To Teach Your Elementary-Aged Foster Kid

Elementary-aged foster child (children ages 5 to 10) tend to miss out on a few key childhood lessons that other kids are privileged enough to be taught. When changing schools, specific teachings may be missed out on. And it's important, as a foster parent, to make sure your child receives a proper at-home education as well as a good schooling experience. There are a few wonderful little things you can take the time to teach your child while they're with you, that will benefit them for the rest of their life.

How to save money: If your child is old enough to count- they are old enough to begin saving money. There are a variety of techniques to use, but showing your child how to save for financial goals can give them a financial-intelligence that will last a lifetime. The easiest way is to give your child an allowance that goes into a penny bank. The penny bank can be dedicated to anything from a pool to a new bike to a big fancy toy. Have your child pick out something to work for. And show them how saving, rather than spending- can pay off big time in the long run.

How to properly treat animals: When a child comes from an abusive background, it's hard to reverse the damage that has already been done. But by giving them a chance to be compassionate to animals- you allow them to create positive interaction experiences (not just with the humans in their lives- but with other beings as well). These experiences can help heal children. But teaching your child how to properly treat animals can also give them a variety of other opportunities. It can teach your child kindness, responsibility, unconditional love, and how to gain trust through your actions.

How to swim: This one is one that is so often overlooked! But when a child is moved from home to home, swimming lessons typically aren't the first thing most foster parents are worried about. But if you have your child with you during the summer (or you have access to a community pool or YMCA center) teaching them to swim could not only save their life- but also give them a great amount of confidence by teaching them a new skill!

Stranger danger: Obviously foster kids have a different sense of 'strangers' than most kids do. They're put into strangers houses and told that they're 'safe'. So teaching a young child that some strangers are bad can be difficult. But you should still make an effort to teach your kids the basics. Don't go with anyone you don't know. If they try to take you forcefully, scream and shout. Always come to me if an adult you don't know is asking you to leave.

Fire safety: Every foster child should know what to do in the case of a fire. When many kids are moved from home to home, a basic 'escape plan' is a necessity for them to learn. Teach them how they can get out of windows and doors. Teach them how to check for smoke outside their bedroom, walk on their hands and knees, and how to 'stop, drop, and roll' if they're caught on fire.

How to say "No": All kids need to learn that it's okay to say "no"- and that sometimes "no" is an appropriate thing to say. Teach your kids how they should tell adults no, if they are doing something that makes them uncomfortable. This topic is a difficult one for children who have been sexually abused in the past, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't make an effort to reach out to the child and teach them that that behavior is not okay. If your child has had negative experiences in the past, ask a therapist or social worker for help and ideas on teaching your child when saying "no" is a good thing.

If your child stays with you into their teen years, or you also have teen foster children in your home visit my list for Things To Teach Your Teenage Foster Child.

May Foster Parent Bucket List

Drop Flower's Off At Elderly People's Homes For May Day: Let your child pick out a few flower arrangements from a local florist, and then anonymously drop them off at differently elderly people's homes in your neighborhood. The tradition of placing flowers on someone's doorstep, ringing the doorbell, and running away is a May Day practice done all around the country. It also makes both your child and recipient feel wonderful!

Send The Birth Mom A Mother's Day Gift: Don't forget your child's birth mom on Mother's Day. Allow them to pick out a gift and a card (and even wrap it themselves) for their birth mom. Have them send the gift in the mail- or if they have visitation rights, give it to them in person.

Visit A Local Biotanical Garden: As all of the plants begin to soak up the spring-time sun, most Biotanical Gardens open up for business. Take your child on a tour of one. You both can learn about new plants together, while enjoying the lovely scenery.

Attend A Memorial Day Event: Memorial Day is so so important and such a great holiday for children to be involved in. Take your child to a Memorial Day celebration where they can meet and shake the hands of veterans, as well as pay tribute to the amazing people who sacraficed their lives for your child's freedom.

Host An End-Of-School Party or Sleepover: At the end of the school year, let your child host an 'end of school party' at your house and invite all of their classmates. It's a great social activity for them. It's also a great way for you to meet their friends and classmate's parents.