After several weeks, our crash course in parenting has continually thought me new things. There are a lot of parenting lessons I’ve seen played out in other’s homes. But being now being the parent has really brought a lot of those into focus.
Our foster care certification process had an emphasis on trauma informed parenting which has been very helpful. In many ways we’ve seen how establishing trust and felt safety lowers the pressure on kiddos. Thankfully both kids are sleeping better at night, with our 5 year old finally making it through the night more often than not.
One of our biggest gains has been establishing a routine. The first couple weeks trying to get both kids down to sleep would leave us exhausted. Every step: pajamas, teeth brushing, book reading, tucking into bed; all brought resistance. At first I was afraid that our routine would just cause every part of the routine to be associated with the dreaded bedtime. However, both kids have come to accept each part, and even enjoy or at least expect them. There’s still resistance, but they seem to have an easier time accepting the transitions.
Timers and other ways of preparing our 5 year-old for transitions have also been huge. Our certification training referenced how hard transitions are for kids manay times so it wasn’t news. But I’ve honestly been surprised by the difference in resistance if we let him know that in five minutes we’re going to switch tasks. It doesn’t make him okay with every transition and sometimes he complains that he wants me to do a “slower five minutes” so we’ve had to learn how to adjust the transitions to his needs.
While things have calmed down significantly, we still do have meltdowns or bouts of mischievousness. The best thing we’ve been able to do, is simply find a place to sit with the kiddo. Our TBRI training referred to this as “Time In” referencing the closeness retained while waiting for things to calm down. It’s most helpful when someone else can keep an eye on the other child, but if we have the time, it has been really effective at addressing behavior without causing defensiveness. There have even been times where our five year old has asked “can I have five minutes on the couch” when he’s wanted our attention rather than acting out.
My return to work has brought it’s own challenges. My wife has had to take on a lot more of the parenting during the day. I’ve shifted my mornings to get an jump on work before the kids get up. The early start has honestly been hard, but has left me more breathing room to complete my work while still being able to help with dinner time. However, half days at school and a cold that has passed through our household complicated our schedules. The sickness added to our existing exhaustion and pulled our kindergartner out of school. We’ve managed to make it to the tail end of the virus but being sick has a whole new level of dread now that we’ve become parents.
On top of normal parenting, we’ve been trying to keep up with foster care appointments. Social worker, attorney, and case managers have all come to the house while we’ve arranged more dentist visits, multiple doctor visits, and assessments for the kids. We’re also doing multiple family visits and phone calls a week though that hasn’t even ramped up to the full extent it could. We’re happy the kiddos are able to get all this care, but it’s a lot to manage.
Again I’d like to thank the people who have helped us the past few weeks. We’ve appreciated the knowledge other foster families have shared with us. Our kiddos really have loved people coming over to throw a ball in the back yard and we’ve loved being able to hang out with adults again. We’ve appreciated the ease of not having to make as many meals. I especially want to thank my mother-in-law who has spent the most time with us and who has given us a break when we’ve needed it most.
We've started our first placement
A couple weeks ago, Bekah and I accepted our first foster placement of two young kiddos; a five-year-old boy and a one-year-old girl. They are beautiful kids who love to have fun. They also have been through a lot, both in life and now being separated from their family. We...
Wrapping up our first fostering experience
After six weeks together our first foster kiddos were able to return to live with family members while their parent’s case continues to progress. This is great news for the kids as it will allow them to stay connected with their relatives. Throughout this journey, we were relieved to see...