Whether you are looking to make donations to a local nonprofit, support a foster family in your community, or looking to buy a gift for a foster child in your own home, it can be tricky to navigate what makes a good gift for a child or youth in foster care.
We want to help resource anyone who wants to show extra love to those in foster care this holiday season by offering you some of our thoughts and ideas on gift-giving in foster care.
When shopping for a child or youth in foster care you may need to first consider some of the following:
- What is the age of the child?
- How many homes have they been in?
- How long will they be with you?
- What is their personality like?
- How much do they already have?
- Are you a stranger or their long-term foster parent?
The best gifts for those in foster care often come with value beyond just a new plastic toy. Here are a few good ideas.
Backpack or suitcase- filled with favorite items!
Many kids in foster care end up moving around a bit. Unfortunately many times they end up moving their items in trash bags instead of a proper backpack or suitcase. Solve this practical need by supplying them with this, but don’t stop there. Fill it up with fun items. This could include snacks, electronics, hygiene items, clothing, toys, accessories, and more. What you fill it with may depend on your budget but try to find a nice balance between fun and practical items.
Gift cards are a great idea for children in foster care, especially if you are a stranger or still getting to know the child in your care. Many times foster children do not get many choices in their lives. Giving them the opportunity to make their own choices whether it be going shopping for clothing, toys, or anything else can be a very special opportunity. It also helps them start to learn and understand more about money.
Movie or Amusement Park Tickets
Movie and amusement park tickets are a wonderful gift for older foster children! Foster kids miss out on a lot of the fun stuff. Kids at school talk about trips to exciting places. Give them a story to tell!
Special tickets deserve their own special envelope. Even better if the ticket is tucked inside a card with a lovely message! Include an extra ticket so they can have a friend with them at the movies.
The Same Gifts You’d Give a Biological Child!
We love the effort many people put into giving practical items for foster children or to fill their needs this time of year, but remember gifts don’t always have to be practical. Chances are if you have biological children in your home, you aren’t giving them their basic needs such as a toothbrush or underwear for Christmas, so we encourage foster parents to purchase the same types of gifts for foster children as they would their biological children. This also helps your foster child feel a greater part of your family and prevents them from feeling like the odd one out which is perhaps one of the greatest gifts you can give them.
Foster Parent Training
We know this time of year may seem a little overwhelming as a foster parent. For this reason, we are available to resource and support all the foster parents we work with. At Benchmark Family Services we provide comprehensive foster parent training in Kentucky and beyond and are available with ongoing resources and support for when questions arise or tough seasons hit.
Overall we hope you are able to enjoy the holiday season with the foster child in your care and can play a role in making it a little extra special for them this year.