Thursday, 20 March 2014

Tips for Decorating a Foster Child’s Bedroom.

I have always admired people who foster children, having read true life books about fostering and heard stories from friends who foster I imagine that fostering can be at times very difficult and challenging but very worthwhile and rewarding.

I remember when my best friend was beginning her journey to become a foster carer she often confided in me her worry about making any foster children they had feel welcome and comfortable in their home.  One of the tasks she had was making the bedrooms she had for foster children into rooms that children would feel happy and comfortable in whilst keeping them suitable for both girls and boys and for children of different ages.

Unlike with her own children whose tastes and likes she knew so well she had to create welcoming bedrooms that would become the foster children’s own space without really knowing their likes and dislikes.  I often sympathised with the tricky matter of delicately balancing the need for a lovely, welcoming and homely room for foster children without it being restrictive in regards of gender or age and also making sure it was not too overwhelming with over-the-top decorating as some of the foster children she would take it would sadly not be used to having their own room or a personally decorated haven for them to enjoy. 



When welcoming a foster child into your home, regardless of the amount of time they will spend with you, it’s of course imperative that they feel happy, safe and secure.  Even if they are only with you for a short time, they will need their own room in which they can have some privacy in a comfortable and happy space.

Creating this refuge for your foster child can seem like quite a daunting task as you will no doubt want to get it just right but may not know much about the child yet.  Therefore we thought we’d put some tips together to help you achieve that safe haven that they will love.

When in doubt, go for neutrals.
If you don’t know the child very well, you may want to avoid going for the whole ‘pink for girls, blue for boys’ themes, especially if they are a bit older.  Have a neutral base, including beiges, whites and warm browns to keep things simple yet homely.  You can then build on this and personalise the room with things like wall art, furniture, ornaments, rugs and curtains, which are also easier to replace if it doesn’t match their tastes or personality.



Help them make it their own.
You could even encourage or help them to make it their own by having them help you to decorate it, or at least add little details to make it their own.  Some foster children may not have had their own room before, so this will no doubt be a really exciting opportunity for them to truly own something themselves, which is even better if you know they will be with you for quite a while.  Or for something really simple and instant, things like notice boards are a great idea to add some colour and allow children to express their personalities and tastes.

Include a box that is private.
Some children in foster care may have had a bad experience in bedrooms before, and may not feel comfortable in them as a result.  It’s vital that they understand that in your home their bedroom is theirs completely and they should always know that they are safe and secure in it.  To reiterate this idea, you could give them a special box with a key and put it in their bedroom, and show them that this box – just like their bedroom – is private.

Think about the future.
It may be worth thinking slightly ahead when decorating the child’s bedroom, as although you will want to make it lovely and special, you will not want to make it too much of a mammoth task to change it if they won’t be with you for too long and you will be taking in another foster child afterwards.  It’s worth talking to your foster care agency for ideas of what you can do to help the specific child feel at home in their new temporary bedroom without having to decorate too much.  For example, with Capstone and other companies, they offer the chance to chat about the child so you can identify their interests, whether you’re fostering in the North West or other parts of the UK.  You could get a few simple things to make them feel happy in your home for the short time they are there, such as getting their favourite films, CDs and books to put on their own special shelf. 

4 comments:

  1. What wonderful ideas!....My parents used to foster kids and I can totally understand Including a box that is private.....Fab tip!

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    1. Glad you like the ideas and the tip of a box for keeping private keepsakes for the foster children. How brilliant of your parents to foster kids, well done them for doing so :)

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