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3 Ways to Make the Holidays Memorable for Foster Care Youth

The holidays are one of the year’s most anticipated and celebrated seasons for many people. However, this time of year can be disheartening for children in treatment foster care. The future with their biological family may still be unknown, making it difficult for them to enjoy the holiday festivities. RISE Services, Inc. Idaho believes a welcoming and caring home environment is crucial for children and youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Here are three ways to make the holiday season memorable for foster care youth living with I/DD. 

A Home for the Holidays

1. Practice Their Holiday Family Traditions

A special way to make foster care youth feel at home is to share their unique family traditions. Ask them if they have any favorite holiday activities they usually do with loved ones this time of year. Maybe they drove around local neighborhoods to view the beautiful Christmas light displays. Perhaps they watched Christmas movies while drinking hot cocoa. Incorporating their family traditions will help them feel at home during this uncertain time. 

2. Include Their Friends & Extended Family 

Having friends and family around at Thanksgiving and Christmas is what most of us look forward to, including children. Consider inviting a friend or two of theirs to your home to decorate Christmas cookies or take your foster child and their friends for an afternoon of sledding. If appropriate, safe, and approved by RISE and the Case Worker or Support Coordinator, invite a member of their extended family or biological parents to participate in a holiday activity. Something as simple as inviting them over for coffee and dessert or meeting at a public ice skating rink can make a huge difference for your foster child and their biological family.

3. Be Understanding & Empathetic

There may be times when your foster children want nothing to do with holiday traditions, family gatherings, or playdates with friends, and this is expected. Because their future is uncertain and they are away from the only home they’ve ever known, they may not feel like participating in Thanksgiving festivities or enjoying the Christmas season. When this happens, be understanding and empathetic to their situation. Place yourself in their position. How would you feel if you couldn’t spend holidays with your family? Even if it’s for their safety and well-being, it’s still hard for them to understand why it has to be this way.

Strengths-Based Treatment Foster Care

If you have a heart for children living with disabilities, consider becoming a treatment foster care parent. RISE Idaho provides valuable training and helps you through the entire licensing process. We also have respite services for treatment foster care parents and provide behavioral health services and other resources for children and youth in treatment foster care. Contact us today to learn more or inquire about how to get started.

Source: “Holidays and Starting New Traditions with Your Foster Child.” Blog article. Foster VA. Web. 18 Oct. 2023.