There are a number of ways you can prepare yourself and your family so that you can make a child coming to live with you feel as welcome as possible.
Prepare yourself and your family for the child's arrival. Talk to your extended family members about the child coming to stay with you and joining you at family events and gatherings. Discuss with your immediate family about your role and expectations of caring for a child. For example, you may want to talk about how you might need to divide your time between the child and the rest of your family members, because the child may have special needs and requirements.
Be realistic. Children and young people in care will need to adjust to a new environment such and new places, people, routines and boundaries. These adjustments require time and patience.
Find out as much as you can about the child. The more you know about the child, their history and background, the easier it will be for you to understand their behaviour.
Build the child’s self-esteem. Children in care, perhaps more than other children, tend to suffer from low self-esteem. Whenever possible, encourage them to participate in activities that will boost their self-esteem (see Growing a Child's Self-Esteem).
Listen to the child. It is important for the child or young person to know that you care about what they have to say.
Clear expectations. Once the child has had time to settle, make sure the rules of the house are clear. The clearer you are about your expectations, the less likely you are to have problems (see Step 2: Cool Tools for Family Rules of the 7 Steps to Safety kit).
Prepare your home. This is particularly important for all children, from infants to teenagers. It is essential that you create an environment that is both physically and emotionally safe for all children and young persons. (See 7 Steps to Safety.)
Involve the child in family events and gatherings. Even if the child or young person chooses not to go, it is important that that they feel included.