Posted by: icmadoptionnetwork | May 23, 2013

When Your Child Comes Home

Yesterday’s blog discussed the preparations for your child’s homecoming.  Today’s blog addresses some of the first things that you should do when your child finally arrives home.  A packet provided to us at the Empowered to Connect conference discusses several practical things to do to help welcome your child into their new home/life in a smooth, non-threatening way.  Here are some of those tips:

1)  Be aware of the child’s level of fear.  As soon as you bring your child through the doors of your home, observe their body language, pupil dilation, facial expressions, etc. to get a cue on what they are feeling.  This is a huge moment for the child, and they may be feeling overwhelmed or even fearful.  Ask your child if they would like to see the home, and slowly give them a tour at their own pace.  Let the child make as many choices as possible to give them a sense of control.  Make sure that you have food and water readily available to keep the child calm and hydrated.

2)  Practice proactive strategies.  When the child first comes home, immediately begin teaching them appropriate skills such as how to interact with pets, how to ask for what they need, how to safely cross the street, etc. Use this time to help your child learn to trust you and to let them know that they can come to you for any questions or for help with anything.

3) Observe your child to deeply understand their needs.  As you should do when you first have your child enter your home, watch their behavior and body language for cues as to how they are feeling.  You will need to do this for the weeks and months ahead of you since this is the prime transition time for your child.  Observe what things your child is drawn to, what he/she avoids, what he/she likes and dislikes, etc.  As you get to know your child to a much greater degree, you can help facilitate attachment and bonding by meeting your child’s needs and even by predicting them ahead of time.

4) Review materials you had studied in preparation to meet your child’s needs.  This is the prime time to pull out those old books, watch those DVDS, review websites and checklists, etc.  You may have done a lot of studying and research before your child came home, but keep reading and learning so that these important topics are fresh in your mind and can be put to use.

5) Take a small amount of specific materials to your child’s teacher.  If your child is old enough to attend school, you will likely want to have a meeting with the teacher to prepare them for your child’s specific needs.  It is important to not overwhelm the teacher (who is already overseeing a roomful of other children) with too much information or requests.  Start out small and let them know the important things.  This will help the teacher focus on what will best assist your child without overwhelming them. 

These are just a few tips of some things that you can do when your child first comes home, and hopefully you will find them helpful.  For additional information and resources, go to www.child.tcu.edu, Texas Christian University’s Institute of Child Development website.  You will find many fantastic articles and resources to assist you during this exciting time.

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