By Carol Jones
Prepare your children for the first meeting. Make sure they are prepared to welcome the child into their home. Make sure they are clear which of their possessions they are willing to share. Make sure your children understand the rules about what belongs to the foster child. Very few foster children will be willing to share their possessions. Most foster children do not have much and what they have is important to them.
Plan something for the children to do such as going to the park or even playing in the backyard or inside with a fun game. At this point you need to be closely involved. The children will have to learn how to play together. You will need to re-direct behavior that can become a fight. Do not let either child bully the other. Your own children may feel territorial, which is normal, but your child will need to learn to share also.
Don’t let the children play until they are overly tired. Bring them in for a snack or a cool down time reading or watching a movie. Be prepared for the foster child to have a hard time switching from play to cool down, transitions are hard for many children. You may need to give them a time, such as 5 more minutes or even use a timer that goes off when time is up.