Thursday 24 March 2016
One of the fundamentals of applying to become a foster carer is that you are able to provide a child you are caring for with a bedroom all of their own. This is so they feel safe and protected. During the application process you will specify what age and gender of children you would like to care for and when it comes to preparing a room for the child’s arrival, this can help a little.
However, as each and every child is different and has differing interests, priorities and needs, it can be tricky to ready a room in a way that exactly matches their requirements. With this in mind, preparing a room for foster placements can be hard and in many ways is something that should be approached with a flexible, adaptable attitude as making the bedroom a happy place to be goes beyond decorating.
Creating a feeling of warmth
When the child arrives you’ll want to make them feel welcome and as comfortable as possible, so try and prepare for their arrival in the same way you might if welcoming a family member to stay. The room itself should be clean and tidy but try not to go too overboard on decorations or filling the room with toys as this might make the child feel overwhelmed. Often a child can arrive hungry and may be shy of asking for food, so you may want to consider laying out a snack for them.
Give a tour of your home and the room, which may for young children need to include looking in wardrobes or under beds to provide extra reassurance of safety. You could also use this as an opportunity to introduce any house rules in a gently and friendly way – for instance, talking about bedtimes and when people generally use the bathroom in the morning.
From a furnishings perspective, some foster carers report that items such as pillows and bean bags are good additions that allow the child to be comfortable in the room whilst also acting as objects to vent anger and frustrations upon.
Decorating ideas for a foster child’s bedroom
We’ve made recommendations for decorating an older foster child’s bedroom on the blog before and this post is worth reading if you know you’ll be caring for a child within this age group. Many of the points covered in this earlier article will apply whatever age the children are too. So, just to recap – selecting neutral colours for the walls will mean that the room doesn’t feel stereotyped. To allow for personalisation you could fit panels that can be painted and repainted according to children’s tastes, put pin boards on the walls for attaching photos or posters and you could even consider using chalk paint on a section of the room where young children can draw directly on the walls. As you get to know the child you can start adding personalised touches that make the space more their own – this could include peelable wall stickers with themed bedding and their toys.
Furniture should be as versatile as possible – some beds can be used for a wider range of ages than others so consider that when making a purchase. You should be prepared for the possibility of things getting broken too. So, while you won’t want the room to look cheap you may want to fit it with good quality second hand furniture that can be replaced. Empty frames give children the option of putting out their own photos or pictures and a nightlight can also be a useful addition. Don’t forget to take into consideration safety – if you’re planning to care for young children you’ll need to fit items like cord tidies for blinds to help prevent any accidents.
It’s natural to feel excited and anxious before a child arrives but try not to get too hung up on creating the perfect bedroom for them. Making a foster child’s bedroom a happy place is something that will happen as you get to know each other and develop the space together, why not start by asking them what you can do to make them feel at ease? Read our tips on bonding with a foster child.
Do you have any questions about bedrooms for foster children? However small or silly you think the question is, we’d be happy to help! Get in touch with your local fostering team.