Every household needs a routine because it helps establish a sense of normalcy, provides a sense of security, and ensures everyone does what they are supposed to at the given time. Foster children and children already living with you fear the unknown as well as significant changes like moving to a new home or getting new siblings. Change can be very stressful for children even though it also presents learning opportunities. A normal routine establishes consistency and comfort in a foster child’s life.
Routines change from home to home and from one family to the next, so it is best to establish a routine that works for you and your children. Here are four reasons why daily routines are crucial for foster children.
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Our bodies depend on “internal clocks” to know when to do something. For example, you have a clock that tells you when you should go to bed and when you wake up to have enough sleep. Establishing routines helps foster children get on a schedule that ensures they do things according to their internal clocks. They may sleep better, digest food better, have a relaxing time playing outdoors or remain calm when they are supposed to if they are on a consistent schedule.
Many families struggle with getting foster kids to know when it is time for different activities because they do not have routines. For example, they will not know when to put away their toys or have a bath if they do not know when it is time to do so.
A consistent routine establishes expectations where children understand they are expected to do certain things at certain times. Once they understand this, they will start completing different activities and doing things on their own without much fuss.
As a foster carer, such expectations make you a participating partner instead of the overbearing carer telling a foster child what to do and what not to do.
Stress and anxiety can come from a child not knowing what is expected of them. This adds to the stress and anxiety they already have about moving to your home. Clear routines and expectations ensure everyone knows what to expect and what is expected of them.
A foster child always knows what is coming next in such a household, and this helps create a calmer one. Foster carers can also work directly with foster care agencies to get the support they need to create a calmer household and help their foster children deal with any stress or anxiety they may have regarding their new reality.
Having consistent routines where the family does things together helps create a sense of security and belonging that strengthens bonds. It also allows everyone to share their values, interests, and beliefs so others can understand and respect them.
Such bonding can teach foster children important lessons they take with them for the rest of their lives. For example, they will understand that spending time with the people they love and care about and who do the same for them is vital. They can take these traditions with them and have stronger families once they have their own.
Daily routines are crucial for foster kids to get accustomed to their new homes. It helps them know what is expected of them and what is coming next so that they are not anxious about it. They can also pick up healthy habits and a sense of responsibility that can help them later in life. Lastly, routines provide families with opportunities to bond and to ensure a foster child feels welcome, loved and included.
Alex is fascinated with “understanding” people. It’s actually what drives everything he does. He believes in a thoughtful exploration of how you shape your thoughts, experience of the world.