- March 2020
- Vol. 21, No. 2
Tips for Helping Children and Teens Before and After Visitation
Visits with family can be stressful for children and teens in out-of-home care, and so HealthyChildren.org released a set of tips to help prepare them for visits and family time. Preparing children and teens for these visits can help mitigate some of the stress associated them. Foster parents and kinship caregivers can help by insisting that visits be scheduled around the child's schedules so as not to disrupt their routine or education; suggesting that the child be picked up from and returned to the foster home, if possible; helping the child decide on something to bring, such as a stuffed animal or favorite blanket, and what to wear to the visit; sending a healthy snack with the child; helping the child draw a picture or make something to give their parent as a gift at the visit; reminding the child that they will be there to welcome them when they return after the visit; and transporting the child to the visit, when possible.
Children can also experience stress after the visit for various reasons, such as the child not getting sufficient attention from the parent because the visit was chaotic or multiple siblings were present, the parent displays rejecting behaviors or a lack of warmth toward the child, or the parent is not sufficiently attentive because of their own mental health or other problems. Foster parents and kinship caregivers can help relieve this stress by picking the child up from the visits or being there to welcome them back home and interacting calmly with the parent in front of the child.
The full list of tips is available at https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/adoption-and-foster-care/Pages/Tips-for-Helping-Children-and-Teens-Before-and-After-Visitation.aspx.