Tonight, I wanted to talk about some of the things that a foster parent should think about teaching a child while caring for them. My parents have taught my foster siblings a lot, and I think that it has been really beneficial for the kids.
My parents have always focused on teaching our foster children life skills. No matter their age, my parents have tried to work with them to help them learn the things that they would usually pick up over the course of their childhood. For example, a skill like brushing teeth, which you might not do yourself until you're four or five, my parents would teach kids when they were a little younger to make sure that they learned. If kids came to us as part of a sibling pair, my parents would make sure that the older sibling knew how to take care of both of them, whether it was making sure it was clear that any food had to be split between them, or learning how to help dress a younger sibling.
Things like learning to count or write can be taught at school. There are plenty of kids who aren't taught these things at home, and teachers make sure that these kids are brought up to speed. But life skills are something that aren't taught in the classroom. Getting dressed and learning how to make a sandwich need to be figured out at home. As a foster family, you never know what will happen to the children you take in after they leave your home, so it's your job to prepare them for whatever lies ahead. Make sure that they know how to bathe themselves, get dressed in the morning, and brush their teeth. Make sure they know that they need to eat every day, and brush their hair. There are so many things that kids learn over the course of their lifetime that just need to be taught explicitly to foster children before they leave the foster home. It's important to give them their best chance in life, even when you can't watch over them anymore.
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