5 Tips to Prepare Foster Youth for Back to School


The times of sleeping late on weekdays, summer camp and family trips to amusement and water parks are over for your child in care – at least for now. It’s the season to get them back in the routine of going to bed and rising early to his world of lockers, gym and lunch periods. They may drag their feet when it’s time to get up early and get prepared for school. It is also possible they will grumble about not being able to watch a certain show that comes on later in the evening because of his new bedtime. Like any kind of change, it is uncomfortable and may take a while to adjust. Here are a few tips that should help you as a foster parent to prepare your child in care for a new school year.


Back to School for Foster Children – Build Excitement


In addition to attending class and doing homework, the school year will bring chances for fun and exciting moments. Talk to your child in care about the many opportunities that will be available to them. It would help to do research on the school and learn the activities that interest them. If they love music, try to get them excited about and involved in band, chorus or glee club. If they love sports, encourage them to try out for basketball, football, tennis or any other athletic team available at the school. Explain the reward gained when they are a part of a team – not to mention how great it can look if they apply for college in the future.


Back to School for Foster Children – Let Them Be Involved


If they bring their own lunch, let them be a part of choosing what they want to eat for the day – and let them help you pack it. Also, allow them to pick out his own clothing. They know the latest styles and trends in their school. Didn’t you know that their finger is on the pulse of the latest fashions? When they exercise their independence, it drives them towards growth and maturity. Packing their own lunch and picking out their own clothing gives them a voice and lets them know that their opinions matter. Now, if they only want to eat candy bars and wear their clothes inside out all of the time, you MAY need to take the upper hand.


Back to School for Foster Children – Revive Sleep Routine


For your child in care, there will be no more sleeping without alarms during weekdays for a good while. It may take some time, but sending them to bed early is your best bet for a productive day. It is generally known that getting the right amount of rest each night can give the body what it needs to function properly. Determine the best time your child in care should go to bed for a guaranteed good night’s rest, and stick to it – and, if there is a monster in the closet or under the bed, you’ll have to get rid of it immediately so there will be peaceful sleeping for all throughout the night.


Back to School for Foster Children – Create a Dialogue with Teachers


When you have the contact information of your child in care’s teacher, letting him or her know you have a foster child would be a great way to prepare the teacher for possible challenges. Give the teacher an overview and as much information concerning your child in care as you can without breaking confidentiality. Let the teacher know your involvement in your child in care’s life and any challenges you know of that they are facing. Chances are, the teacher will understand and be willing to work with him to ensure they have a successful school year.


Back to School for Foster Children – Get Involved


In addition to receiving progress reports, reach out to your child in care’s teacher to stay on top of how they are doing. They have been through some traumatic experiences; there could be many distractions they may be dealing with, so it’s in there best interest when you are aware of any hurdles he may need help overcoming. Arrange monthly meetings with teachers and get as involved as you can. A good way to get involved and stay up-to-date with what’s going on in their school is to join the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) or other school-lead groups.


Back to School for Foster Children - CASA is Here to Help


CASA is always here to advocate for the best interests of children. Part of our core-model is working with caregivers and service providers and make sure the child's needs are being met. Reach out to your CASA volunteer and DCFS case manager to see what services are available for your foster youth. Here's to a successful and productive school year!




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