The other day, I received a question from a reader, Sierra. She said that she worked at a daycare where a little girl in foster care comes back from visits to the class and is visibly upset. Sierra wanted to know if I had any advice or suggestions on how to help this little girl feel better about her situation.
Even when a child is too young to explain how they're feeling, you can still help them with the frustration that they're feeling. With the last foster sister I had, she was only two years old. She couldn't express herself. It was clear that she was having nightmares every week after visits though, so something was wrong. When I was home on days that she went on visits, I would try to ask her simple questions:
- Did you see your mommy?
- Did you eat breakfast with your mommy?
- Did you play with toys with your mommy?
Simple little questions that can get a yes or no answer will give you helpful information and will help the child to feel like they're able to talk about their experience, even if they don't know what to say.
In my experience just working with kids, I've also learned that kids express themselves really well through playing. To Sierra, I would say to ask this little girl some simple questions about the visit and maybe try to get her to use dolls to show you what she did with her bio parents. Play is really the easiest way for young children to express themselves.
I know for us, we can always get information about how the visit went from the drivers when they drop the kids off afterward. I don't know if this is an option in your situation, Sierra, but finding out just a bit of information from a driver, foster parent, or any caregiver who may be dropping off the child on a visit day could be really helpful. Even if you're not given specifics, it would just help to possibly know what fun things the child did on the visit, so you could talk to her about it at daycare.
I'll have to check with my parents and see if they have any other tips or suggestions for you Sierra. I don't know how much help I was, but it's hard with little kids. It's a learning process, no matter how many kids you go through the process with, because everyone is different. If I think of anything else that might be able to help, I'll definitely let you know. Thanks for reading! If anyone else has a specific question ever, feel free to leave me a comment or use the Contact page to write to me!
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