There are many important features of foster parents. Love, understanding, patience, kindness. The list goes on. This post is a little different. I want to talk a bit about the concrete suggestions I have for foster parents. Many of these tips are also applicable for all parents as well.
Clothing Tips For Foster Parents
If you have been following TOTS for a while, you will have noticed that my bio has gone from “mom of 4 boys” to “adoptive, biological and foster mom to 6”. Our family composition has been dynamic over the past 3 years. We have said goodbye to two special little people and have two more that will likely move on in the next 6 months. Let’s look at some practical ways to make these changes a little less rocky.
Keep the Child’s Clothing Organized
When foster children come into care as toddlers or older children, they typically have some of their own clothing. This clothing will not only be important to the child but also important to their birth family. It is important to keep their clothing organized, so when the child is returned home, their clothing goes with them. Clothing that is too big, or too small, put away in a special bag right away, so that it can go with the child.
Keep Your Supply of Clothing Organized
We are a ‘safe baby’ home, this means that we typically get newborns or infants straight from the hospital. For this reason, it is important to be ready with both girl and boy newborn and three month sized clothing. As a child leaves, I set some time aside to reorganize my inventory of clothing, ensuring that I have enough of all sizes. If I do not have enough of one size or gender, I do not shop right away. I often wait and see what the gender and age of the next child I will be caring for is. I also let family and friends know what I am looking for, as people are typically happy to share their child’s outgrown baby clothes.
Help The Clothing Last Longer
I am certainly not a laundry guru. I do however take care of our clothing. Unlike a typical parent, I do not just want my child’s clothing to last through their infancy or childhood. I am, for both economic and eco-friendly reasons, trying to have the clothes last as long as possible. Stains and holes can’t always be prevented, but buying quality brands, washing according to instructions, using fabric protection through products like Downy, washing inside out and hanging to dry are all good options. Downy helps clothes maintain their shape, keep their colours and decreases pilling.
When It Is Time To Say Goodbye
The hardest of being a foster family is when it is time to say goodbye. This is not easy one anyone, but of course, my focus needs to be on the transition of the child and the well being of my children who also have to say goodbye. One thing I have found beneficial is to ensure that we have a special blanket for the baby or child. I wash it, and all the clothes, specifically in a scent that is familiar to our house, typically Downy Fabric Conditioner that I grabbed from my local Walmart. I ensure that the blanket is with them regularly during the last month they are in my home. When they leave, I encourage their biological or adoptive family to not wash the blanket, if at all possible, while the child transitions to their home. Our senses are tied closely to our memories and our sense of safety, smell is not excluded. Since it was carefully washed prior to the child leaving (and hopefully after), this might be an item that this child cherishes into adulthood.
I would love to hear any tips you have for me as I continue on this fostering journey. Share yours below.
This post was sponsored by SheSpeaks, Downy, and Walmart. All thoughts are my own.