Tips for Settling a New Placed Toddler into Family Life – Part 2

 This is the second part of @Lauralikes2read’s tips to read part one click here

2mums

Regression
Six months on, Squiblet still has a bottle morning and night. We kept that routine from the foster carer, and we will keep it until the day she loses interest. At first she had one three times a day, and for the past 2 months has not been interested in her 4pm milk – which leads me to believe that she will one day have had enough of having milk from a bottle. We are lucky in that she expresses her needs well; she often asks to be cradled like a baby and sung to. I would really recommend trying it, it brings a calm, trusting closeness that many adopted or fostered children may have missed out on.

 We are lucky in that she expresses her needs well; she often asks to be cradled like a baby and sung to.

I would really recommend trying it, it brings a calm, trusting closeness that many adopted or fostered children may have missed out on.

We are currently wondering if we should be encouraging her to use the toilet or potty. She was keen at first, but I think the move to “big girl” things has shaken her a bit. She is desperate to put her nappy back on, and has been asking for more baby-cuddles, so we are taking it to be a sign that she’s not emotionally ready. I have faith that if we wait she will lead the transition on her own terms.

Right of refusal
As with the use of the toilet, our approach with her has been that we will give her limited choices and respect her decisions. After about a week she went through a phase of being very upset by the prospect of the nightly bath (this being one of the bits of the routine we changed) and refused to get in for about 8 days. We ran it anyway, gave her lots of encouragement and the choice of either bath or quick flannel wash of the key areas. The turning point came when we provided a little step so she could climb in of her own accord, but assisted. I guess it must be horrible to feel like you’re being dunked into a bath whether you like it or not.

Our approach to food is similar. We provide her a plate of food and praise her for eating sensibly or trying new things but we never mention how much she has eaten or what.

pots

 

No issue made of what she has chosen to eat and absolutely no cajoling to finish one or all of the food groups. If she refuses the meal entirely we say “OK” and offer a banana as an alternative. Luckily she doesn’t have any underlying trauma associated with food, so we have the luxury of being able to use that approach. It’s easy to worry about her eating well, but at times when she refuses we think “well, she had a big lunch, and tomorrow’s a new day”.

 

 

Division of duties
In the beginning the Mummy and I would do bath-time together, but gradually I took over. I now do the entire bedtime routine: bath, teeth, cream, PJs, hair – so that Mummy gets a bit of time her herself (whilst clearing up!!).

At first I got in the bath with Squiblet every night, now it tends to be every other night. It has really strengthened our relationship and allows lots of eye contact, skin-to-skin contact and fun! We’ve had some very special moments where I’ve felt her regressing and letting me hold her tight. I also feel that it has helped to calm her fear of water to have me there.  I feel very happy to be able to spend that hour with her one-on-one every night, it makes up for not being there during the day!

Overall, my main message is “it gets better”! Don’t beat yourself up for letting other things go (hoovering, cooking etc), you’ll all learn how to live with each other and you’ll look back and wonder why you were trying so hard.

4 thoughts on “Tips for Settling a New Placed Toddler into Family Life – Part 2

  1. Suddenly Mummy

    As both a foster carer and adopter I wholeheartedly agree with your strategy of letting your child set the pace. Particularly with things like stopping the bottle, toilet training, etc. there are plenty of people out there who will ‘advise’ you to hurry up and make changes but really, what does it matter if a child still has a bottle at bedtime when they are 3 or 4 years old or even older? My 2.5 year old still has a bedtime bottle, still sleeps in a cot and is not yet toilet trained. All these changes will come in time but I’m not inclined to make him rush through the baby stage, especially as the first part of his life was so chaotic – I feel I need to build back in some of what was missed, and if that means he’s ‘behind’ some other children then so be it. Your gentle, careful approach is probably just what is needed 🙂

    Reply
    1. Laura

      Thank you for your kind comment. It is sometimes hard to stick to your guns when others keep telling you what you “should” be doing – for for us and our daughter this approach has worked.

      Reply
  2. Three Pink Diamonds

    Enjoyed part two, I can relate to a couple of the points you have made. Love the main point the most, something I am def trying to learn quickly.

    Reply

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