Home Environment For Anxious Foster Children

Creating A Calm Home Environment For Anxious Foster Children

January 17, 2024

Making your home a peaceful, low-stress environment should be a priority for any parent or carer – but it becomes especially important if you look after children struggling with anxiety issues. The outside world can feel intensely overwhelming for anxious children. Having a calm home base gives them a necessary sense of safety and allows their nervous systems to reset. This enables them to better cope with daily challenges.

Evaluate Sensory Input

Take stock of sensory input within your home. Noisy electronics, cluttered spaces, and bright artificial lighting often overstimulate anxious brains. Consider turning off TVs to create quiet spaces where children can retreat whenever they are feeling overwhelmed. Clear clutter and organise toys to help maintain an orderly environment. Also, open blinds and curtains to maximise natural sunlight during the day.

Introduce Soothing Scents

Pleasant aromas can work wonders in calming the home atmosphere. Invest in high-quality essential oil diffusers and fill the air with relaxing botanical scents like lavender, sweet marjoram, Roman chamomile or vetiver, taking into account any allergies. Allow children to help select signature scents for shared and private spaces. This gives them a sense of agency and control.

Stick To Routines

Children thrive on routines that make the world seem more orderly. Try to maintain regular daily schedules around mealtimes, schoolwork/playtime, and bedtimes. Consistent rituals like reading before lights out can be especially comforting. Foster children who come from less stable backgrounds can find safety in predictability.

Encourage Time Outdoors & Unplugged

Make sure to give children regular electronics breaks and outdoor time for improved moods. Nature and fresh air naturally restore calm. Simple activities like gardening redirect restless energy into productive outlets. Noise-cancelling headphones also allow children to retreat into quiet personal space as desired.

Model Mindfulness

Children notice the stress levels of those caring for them. Rushing around or yelling creates further anxiety. Make an effort to model slow, peaceful living instead. Gently move through your day without urgency. Minimise tasks to simply sit together calmly. This demonstrates that tranquillity is an important family virtue.

Incorporate Weighted Objects

Weighted blankets, lap pads, and stuffed animals can provide calming sensory input for anxious children. The gentle pressure gives the nervous system feedback that helps induce relaxation. Let children choose their preferred weights and textures based on what makes them most comfortable. Just taking a weighted lap pad to school in a backpack can be reassuring.

Play Soothing Music

Incorporate peaceful music playlists throughout your home to promote tranquillity. Lyric-free genres like classical, ambient electronica, or spa-style are safest bets. Allow children to help select songs so they feel involved in the process. Having the ability to turn music on or off themselves also provides a sense of control. Keep a portable speaker in their room for unplugged solo relaxation time.

Have Realistic Expectations

Perfection is unrealistic. An anxious brain on overload can lead to emotional outbursts despite your best efforts. React with empathy, not anger. Progress happens gradually. Celebrate small wins, and don’t forget to acknowledge your own efforts too! And if you are struggling, make sure to reach out to your agency, such as Foster Care Associates Scotland.

Creating a serene environment allows anxious foster children to relax their guard and teaches them what normalcy feels like. While anxiety requires much patience and compassion, establishing a home base of safety makes all the difference in helping these children heal.

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