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Welcoming A New Family Member on Short Notice

You’ve received the call! Your family is about to expand, and you either feel really prepared or completely unmoored. In the worlds of foster care and adoption, families often don’t have a lot of time to prepare for a new baby or child to join the roost. We’re here for you! Don’t overthink it; start with the basics and build from there. 

When it comes to their bedroom, focus on creating a warm and comforting space. Bedding is important—often, children will use their bed as a safe space. Take into account any past trauma your child may have endured and bring in details that can accommodate a calming environment. These blankets, for example, promote safety, security, and relaxation. Lighting also creates a calming aura. Incorporate different types of light—soft, colored, and white, lamplight, nightlights—and let your child decide what makes them feel most comfortable. Once the basics are in place, you and your child can decorate together. 

Consider their personal care items. If you’re welcoming a new baby into your home, you have more autonomy on what brands and styles of products you like. If you’re welcoming an older child into your home, it’s thoughtful to offer them the products that make them feel most comfortable. This doesn’t need to be an elaborate shopping spree—a few key items for the bathroom will make all the difference. These include, but are not limited to, body wash, shampoo, toothpaste and brush, and other necessary hygiene items. 

Clothing is important, but refer back to the basics for this one. When it comes to older children, you likely aren’t sure what they like to wear yet, so, start with simple pajamas, underwear, socks, pants, and shirts. If it’s a warm-weather season, stock up on clothing that works well with hotter temperatures. If it’s colder out, make sure they’re outfitted with hats, gloves, thick socks, and cozy sweaters. Babies grow so fast; don’t stress yourself out curating a massive wardrobe. Onesies, pajamas, and soft shoes are your best bet. Additionally, consider a swaddle for your baby. Much like a weighted blanket, a swaddle makes a baby feel safe and secure. 

It is impossible to be perfectly ready to welcome (sometimes on short notice) a new child into your home and be 100% prepared. Approach this task as a group challenge and enlist the help of everyone involved. Giving children and young adults autonomy to make choices about their wardrobe and other personal items makes for a more comfortable situation. 

For more information on products that help ease anxiety and stress in a child’s life, we love this list from a child therapist about products to help reduce anxiety.

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