A Guide to Helping Prepare a Foster Teen for Independent Living
Preparing a foster teen for independent living should start as early as possible. This is so they can learn the skills they will need to thrive. Many foster carers assume that preparations for independent living should start at the age of 16, but some skills can be taught earlier or later. Here we take a look at how you can guide your foster teen.
Teach Them Independent Living Skills
By the time they are 16, most foster children are already learning how to live independently. A structured approach can help speed up this process while ensuring they retain the skills you teach them. Start by establishing routines that allow you to teach them skills like cooking and cleaning. You can start by having them make a simple dish and move to more complex dishes as they approach the age of 16. These chores and responsibilities should increase as they grow older.
Teach Them About Money
Teaching your foster children about how to deal with money is a crucial life skill. Start with simple things like taking your foster children with you when you go shopping. Doing so will present opportunities to teach them about how to shop for the stuff they need and how to save money when doing so.
Next, teach them to start paying for the things they do using their pocket money or savings. Doing this will teach them the difference between what they need and what they want while also teaching them the importance of thinking things through before making purchases.
As they grow older, you can open a bank account for your foster children. Many banks have accounts for young people and opening one can be a great way of teaching them how to save and manage money. If you decide to open a bank account for them in their name, ensure you talk to the foster care agency first to see if it is okay with them and the foster child’s social worker. Carers can get the answers they need at orangegrovefostercare.co.uk where they can also find someone to talk to about preparing foster children for independence.
Let Them Succeed or Fail on Their Own
It can be tempting to want to step in when you see a child in your care struggling with something. Because they will encounter situations that will require them to come up with solutions on their own in the future, it is best to leave them to fail or succeed on their own unless they get themselves in dangerous or very difficult situations. Even then, remember that your role should be to guide them but not to do it for them. This is the best way for them to learn to analyse a problem and find viable solutions.
Talk to Them about Further Education and Employment
You should also talk to your foster children to find out what they will do once they start living independently. Ideally, you should encourage them to continue their education and then later get gainful employment.
To give them the best chance of thriving, you should start preparing foster children for independent living as early as possible. Teach them the skills they will need to thrive on their own and encourage them to start thinking about their future.