Connecting with foster children is essential to making them feel safe and starting to enjoy your life together. If you are a working dad, you might worry about how to connect if you are out working a lot of the time, and the bulk of the day-to-day parenting falls to your partner. But it doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are some tips to help dads connect with their foster children.
Learn as Much as You Can
Agencies like orangegrovefostercare.co.uk have plenty of useful resources, but reading articles, getting tips and advice, and taking part in foster care training will help you be prepared for anything. This can increase your confidence as a foster carer and bring down some of the walls you might have put up. Being prepared and learning as much as possible will make it easier to bond and connect, whether you are a stay-at-home parent or going out to work.
You are unlikely to feel an instant bond with a child in your care. It will take them time to settle, and they’ll need to be comfortable before they open up to you. The process will be different with every child you care for. Be patient, don’t try to force a connection, and don’t worry if sometimes it takes longer than others.
Prepare for Bumps in the Road
Your journey with a child in your care will rarely be a straight line. Some days you might feel like you’ve got a strong bond and enjoy each other’s company. Some days it will feel like they’ve put walls up, and you’ve taken a step backwards. Reassure yourself that these bumps are normal, and they will pass.
Take on Responsibilities
If you go out to work, your partner will have many of the parenting responsibilities. But taking on as many as you can, and sharing important things like meetings and appointments, will let your foster child know that you are part of the team, have their best interests at heart, and will be there for them. Some responsibilities you could take on include bedtime, reading, and bath time.
Teach Life Skills
Teaching life skills is a fantastic way to spend time together and add something useful to their time with you. Things like baking, DIY, swimming, and for younger children, smaller skills like tying shoelaces can be skills that they’ll always associate with you.
Enjoy Some Fun Dad Time
Remember, not everything has to be a learning activity. Family time is great, but if you can, spending a little time one-on-one and having things just for the two of you can help you build a strong connection. Kicking a ball in the park on Sunday mornings or riding a bike are good ideas.
Start a Project
A project is a fantastic way to bond, spend time together, teach skills, create memories, and really connect in a fun way. Projects could include growing vegetables, building a birdhouse, or creating a scrapbook.
Talk About Feelings
Don’t be scared to tell them how you feel about them or talk about your general feelings. Show them that it’s ok to be emotional.
Connecting with a foster child can be tricky and take time, but you’ll start feeling fantastic when you do.