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Supporting a Child at School

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You’ve almost done it – the six week holiday is coming to a close! However, as the return to school creeps ever closer, you may be wondering just how your foster child is going to handle the new school year.

Whether they’re just starting school or returning after the summer break, there’s bound to be a few nerves on either side. If you’re looking for a little help on how to support your child when they do return, you’ll find some great tips and advice below...

Communicate with teachers

During term-time it is the job of your child’s school to help you ensure they’re well-looked after. However, teachers can’t provide the right level of support if they aren’t informed about your foster child’s situation.

If you haven’t already done so, contact the teachers and let them know briefly about your child’s circumstances. They don’t need to be told every little detail, but they do need to be aware the child is in foster care and provided with any information that could help them to identify and understand certain behaviours.

Once they are aware of the situation, the teachers will be able to provide a lot more support. They may even provide additional support if it is required so it’s worth finding out what help is available.

Listen and support the child at home

One of the best ways you can offer support is by sitting down and listening to the child. Each day, sit down and talk about how school went. Ask if they are having any issues and whether they’re enjoying it. This is a great time to spot the potential signs of upset and also an opportunity to let your foster child know they are not alone. If they are reluctant to talk about school, it could be an indicator that something may be wrong.

Offering praise and encouragement always goes a long way. Have they had any recent tests? If so, praise them on their results - even if it wasn’t overly great, praise them anyway for the work they have done and then work together to improve their scores over time.

Always make sure they know you’re available if they have a question about homework. Showing an interest and ensuring they feel comfortable approaching you if they do need help will make a massive difference. Sometimes all the support and encouragement they need is to know you’re there if they need you.

Be well-prepared

One way to ease any back-to-school stress is to make sure everything is prepared the night before. Be aware of which days they have PE lessons and make sure their kit is ready and packed the night before. Packed lunches can be prepared ahead of time too, speeding up your morning routine.

The more prepared you are, the more prepared a child will feel and the less chance there will be that you’ll send the child off without everything they need! It will also ensure you get them to school on time. These small things really do make a big difference, after all if you’re calm and prepared then any last minute panic can’t rub off on your foster child.

Overall, supporting a child at school is all about preparation, encouragement and communication. Getting into a good daily routine will help, as will communicating regularly with their teachers.

Do you have any other tips or advice for our carers? Why not share them on our Facebook page?