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christmas for children in foster care

We automatically think of Christmas as being a magical time for many children. For foster families, it can be a complex time to navigate, as foster children may not feel the same about the impending festivities as other family members.

a young woman from behind looking at a window display of Christmas decorations

Some foster children will find it challenging celebrating Christmas with a family that is not their own. They may have different experiences and expectations as to what happens at Christmas, perhaps never having sat down to a Christmas dinner before. They might find all the excitement and people around quite daunting and overwhelming.

Christmas already puts a lot of pressure on families and so, here are some tips for foster carers to help things go as smoothly as possible:

  1. Talk to your foster child and understand what their previous experiences of Christmas have been like. Respect any cultural or religious differences and preferences as your foster child may not even want to celebrate.

  2. Prepare them for what to expect in terms of your family traditions and plans.

  3. Recognise that it might be very emotional for your foster child not to be with their own family on Christmas. Lower your expectations regarding how happy/grateful/sociable they will be.

  4. Take things at a slower pace and prepare the child for each thing that's going to happen, and the people they will be spending time with.

  5. Include the child in the planning for Christmas. Give them a chance to join in with food preparation, or present making/buying.

We hope you and yours have a peaceful break and a Happy New Year.


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