Christmas traditions

Ankromfamily1's picture

With our foster children being younger, the important thing for us will be to make sure they don't get overwhelmed by us trying to do too many new things. We're blessed to have extended family locally that loves all our kids.

Christmas traditions

Ankromfamily1's picture

This will be our first Thanksgiving/Christmas with our foster children, but since they are quite young, I don't anticipate a lot of issues. We have a young bio daughter and we know cramming too much into the season can make her cranky and tired, and I'm sure our foster kids will be the same way. Parents of young kids (foster and/or bio) usually have to work to make sure their kids don't get too overwhelmed by too many new things. We are blessed to have extended family that is local and attached to all our children.

Fostering Youth through Holiday

epowell's picture

From experience my kids have good holidays every holiday. Since day one my children have been accepted as family period so the holidays they feel normal because that's what happen when your a true family. Treat people how you want to be treated regardless of the situation.

One of us!

Ryanfontana's picture

We foster younger children, under the age of 4 so I think it may be a little bit easier for us and them. Our foster kids have/get everything that our bio kids do even with our extended family. We are fortunate to have family members who view our foster kids as a bio kid, welcoming them with open arms.

Xmas cheer

grant2050's picture

We pray together at the dinner table and I like to add feelings and emotions into the prayers. The foster children are often surprised that my wife and I know and understand (as best we can) their feelings of grief and separation. We try to let them have a say about what would be good family fin (board games, walking, going to the park, etc) during the holiday. We give them plenty of warning about our plans since they do seem more anxious about where they may be going to next (

Chhristmas time

Reneehughes's picture

I always let all of the kids put up the Christmas tree every year and decorate the way they want and make sure they are always involved.

Chhristmas time

Reneehughes's picture

I always let all of the kids put up the Christmas tree every year and decorate the way they want and make sure they are always involved.

Chhristmas time

Reneehughes's picture

I always let all of the kids put up the Christmas tree every year and decorate the way they want, make sure they are always involved.

This is the first year that I

refrazi's picture

This is the first year that I ha e had older kids in my home for the holidays. I have already been talking about our traditions over the holidays and asking them what they did for the holidays. It is important to maybe do one or more of their traditions that way they feel like we really care about their past and what they are used to doing. Making gift for their family also makes them feel excepted

Holiday Cheer?

Rosesaurus's picture

As a former foster child I know of the troubles that the holidays might bring. For foster children holidays like Christmas are almost always challenging, no matter how much love and care you give to your foster child. Foster children might act out, be fussy or depressed during the holidays. Which can be very frustrating when you're trying so hard to make them happy. Don't let this get you down! It's important to acknowledge this holiday sadness, and understand why your foster child is acting this way. For me it always helped when my caregiver was very clear with me (your foster child may have never had a Christmas, and won't know what to expect). So explain even the simplest things to your foster child, just talk them through the holidays, so they know what to expect.
So to summarize: Be loving, understanding and communicate.

Get them involved

Chafinclan's picture

Getting the children involved in decorating for the holidays has always opened a door for conversing about what they want to talk about during these stressful times

Holidays

courtneydavis's picture

This will be my first holiday season with children, and I am so excited to make the season about celebration and time together. They have had mixed experiences with the holidays in the past, so I hope to have them involved in the planning and events that happen.

Thankful for the agencies

davis71809's picture

It is amazingly overwhelming the gifts the children in our care received from the agency. We enjoy the children we have and would do anything for them but the extra support around the holidays is wonderful.

Holidays

mistycorn's picture

We haven't had foster children over the holidays, yet. I pray we are able to meet the emotional and physical needs of any child in our home, especially so during this trying time.

Treat them as if they were you're own

jdrobin123's picture

As foster parents, we take these kids on and bring them into our family, we should treat them just like any of our bio kids. They will feel the unconditional love we can give them.

Always make them feel wanted.

kisses28318's picture

Always make them feel wanted. Treat them as your own children including family gatherings and even if you are going away on holiday if it is allowed. Never make them feel as if they are a burden or you only have them out of obligation.

Holidays

andrewlr76's picture

We always include foster children in our family's events and gift-giving. Our extended family is also very warm and welcoming each year!

Holidays

linneacnord's picture

I have yet to get my first placement having just been licensed. We are hoping for younger children so I'm not sure if we will have children that have traditions at their bio homes. However, I have already been planning on making sure we make gifts and cards for various holidays for the children's family. I have already purchased different photo albums where we can record holiday and mile stone events so the family can have it when/if the child is put back in their care. If we foster children old enough to have experience with traditions and celebrations I am hoping that we can incorporate as much as we can into our own family. We do not have children yet and so traditions are ones we do from when I was little and adding to them is something I look forward to.

Continued Outreach

grncarex2's picture

Being a foster parent under kinship foster care makes the holidays a little easier because the children are already accustomed to family and traditions. However, while reading these articles, something caught my attention that, sadly enough, I had not given consideration. So many outreaches have a specific target group, but what about reaching the youth that have just exited foster care? It would be nice to have a tactful way to reach them through the holidays and become that continued support system where it may be lacking. Even in church studies, statistics show that young adults, college age, 18-25, are the least targeted or "un-reached" age group. This makes my heart ache.

Holidays

vita's picture

For me as a foster parent, I have always included my childrens siblings and parents on holidays. It does make for a hectic time ,but so worth it because nothing that I can give them brings them greater joy.

Holidays

vita's picture

For me as a foster parent, I have always included my childrens siblings and parents on holidays. It does make for a hectic time ,but so worth it because nothing that I can give them brings them greater joy.

Holidays

hernandez685's picture

I think the best thing to do as a foster parent is to have an open mind and open communication with any foster children. Maybe even following the child's lead when it comes to communication. Take what they give you but don't pry. And show and understanding but also be honest with them that we (my family) don't know how or what they are feeling but will do our best to try to understand and help them through the holidays the best we can.

Holidays

anads's picture

Holidays are bittersweet for most people too, remembering family members lost. Tapping into that sentiment is helpful to understanding and communicating with foster children.

Holidays

Miriammyers's picture

I had my first foster child in my during the 2015 holiday season. It was obvious that he missed his bio-dad and siblings. Luckily, the siblings got to visit each other and exchange gifts. I also think it is hard because, most of the time, the children are out of a normal routine as well. School, extracurricular activities, and even church are not going on and/or have different program and schedules.

Holiday

bradley.reeder's picture

It is important to make the kids feel as welcome and comfortable as possible and be understanding if they are extra emotional during this time.

Holiday

bbreeder's picture

Having our 1st foster child during Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2015, we found it very important to make her feel as welcomed and as part of the family as possible. We included her in the family pics, Christmas cards, and Santa even come to see her (and brought GOOD gifts). We made our families aware she was coming and changed a lot of our gift practices to games so no one would be left out or made uncomfortable.

Holiday

TheJLedQ35's picture

I think if we keep in mind that nothing will ever replace our foster children's need for their bio parents then we will be more sympathetic towards asking some things that may make them feel less sad during the holidays.

Holidays

albaughg's picture

Holidays are a time of the year where families can spend quality time together and connect on some of the lost time during the hectic hustle and bustle of the school year and other times when it seems like everything just goes by in a blur. Whether its sitting down together for a Thanksgiving meal, opening presents together on Christmas Day or picking out that perfect pumpkin and carving a face on it together, many of the holidays offer times to spend together as a family and including your foster child with you as part of the family experience is something that is important to making them feel like part of your family.

I would always include the

cmlee's picture

I would always include the child an all the family traditions and activities. When purchasing gifts, there would be no distinction between them and my child. In addition, any Christmas gift would be allowed to be taken with them if they leave before the holiday.

I would always include the

cmlee's picture

I would always include the child an all the family traditions and activities. When purchasing gifts, there would be no distinction between them and my child. In addition, any Christmas gift would be allowed to be taken with them if they leave before the holiday.

Holidays

rocksheen219's picture

This was a great overview to show how the holiday season impacts foster children.

To always treat your foster

brandymh's picture

To always treat your foster kids like you would your own.

Treat them as if they were

AmyWhiteside's picture

Treat them as if they were your own
Expose them to all of your family traditions and allow them to expose you to theirs

Include them!

wlalonde's picture

Include them in your Holiday traditions but also understand and participate in their traditions as well.

Christmas

spedteacher828's picture

Our foster son was placed in our home on the evening of December 19th - it was a Thursday. He was just 3 and just removed from him mother. He had not normalcy such as table manners, etc. If he saw food on a plate, he would go up and help himself. If he was thirsty, it didn't matter what was in the cup, he would get it to drink it. That year, my side of the family was celebrating on December 21st. I was given toys to give him for Christmas and my mother made sure he had several things, and he was too young to understand if someone got more toys than he did. Although foster children are not new to my family, this was an interesting experience for everyone. It was neat to look back the next year to how he had grown and changed.

Holiday Cheer

Rocran75's picture

Its a good time to share different activities with the child.

Teen Rebellion

Jmalott's picture

Over the years I have seen a lot more rebellious "acts" particularly around holidays. I know it comes from great deal of sadness so I tend to be more forgiving. I also try to do something really special they might like to do that they don't get a chance to do often.

Helping in the community

adowd416's picture

We treat any foster youth in our home as our own family during the holidays, but we also take it outside the home. My extended family all gets together to sponsor young adults who have aged out of foster care. We unite and a couple of kids who would otherwise not have much for the holidays. We fulfill their wishlists :)

Holidays....

BillandAmyLittlefield's picture

Anyone can be together on a holiday. It's about caring and sharing, not about who is or is not blood related. Having all included for a meal and doing a random gift exchange at Christmas can be really fun and non-stressful.

Holiday

kdavis5916's picture

I would try to make them feel as special as I could with out over doing it. I treat my foster children the same way as I do my own children. They receive the same treatment in every way possible.

Holidays

aarmentano's picture

I think it is a great idea to get foster kids involved in helping & serving others...whether it be helping other people or serving at a local animal shelter. The key is serving others in the community :)

Holidays

Donyetta's picture

I think it also shows the children that there are a lot of other people who may be in a worse situation and by allowing them to help someone else in need lets them know their talents are valuable and much needed.

By Creating a Sense of Normal

cmschock's picture

I personally think the best way to help a child get through a holiday is to create a sense of normal. Ask them what their favorite parts about the particular holiday are and then try to make sure you touch on those. Of course there may not be a tradition so perhaps ask them what they would like to do for this year.

Holidays

cindypearson's picture

Always be courteous to the foster child's feelings. Like to the things they like, want or beliefs. Maybe bring some of their traditions into your. You want to make them feel loved, accepted, and comfortable as possible. I believe in treating them as my own. And always will. Happy Holidays to all.

Always helping the kids know

Josebonilla's picture

Always helping the kids know that they are loved.

Family

marlene1112's picture

By always reminding them that they are loved. Including them in all activities and making it seem they are family...because they are. Help them understand what the holidays mean and that no matter how they feel, I am there for them.

Family holidays

cat10141966's picture

I have my grandchildren placed with me and getting permission ahead of time worked out well for me to have at least one bio parent here for Christmas. With big gatherings in my family and other siblings to consider having the go ahead took a great burden off of myself and the children with the worry that the kids wouldn't see the family like they always did.

Holiday memories

Rosemary1957's picture

Encourage children to talk about there favorite memories and what they did on every holiday.

Holidays

woods1219's picture

We had a three year old for almost two years in our house. She became part of the family and when the judge decided to move her without cause/warning it was very hard and two weeks before Christmas. Our older boys who we adopted out of foster care a few years ago had a hard time. We wish we had seen this earlier - it might give us some ideas of how to work with them as they grieve and get back to normal without her. THanks for all of your thoughts!

Holidays

HeatherPC's picture

While providing a sense of family, kinship and togetherness, openly or privately discussing with your youth that its ok to express moments of sadness during the holidays is a way to facilitate them coping with the stress and sadness that is associated with the season. Reassuring them that it is ok to take sometime to process their emotions and that you are always available to listen and help them through I think will go along way in reminding them that they are cherished even in the absences of their biological families. We are not here to replace their families or their memories of their family.

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