For foster carers welcoming a foster child into their home, finding enjoyable activities to do together as a family is extremely important for building trust and helping the foster child feel comfortable in their temporary home. Gardening is an ideal activity for foster families to bond over. Not only does gardening allow for quality conversation and interaction, but the act of nurturing plants together mirrors the nurturing relationship between foster carer and foster child. This article explores the many benefits gardening offers to foster families and foster children.
Considering Becoming A Foster Carer?
If you would like to become a foster parent and welcome a foster child in need into your home, gardening is a worthwhile activity to take up. Gardening gets you outdoors in nature and sunshine, bolstering mental health for both you and the foster child. The garden also serves as a safe, calming environment far from electronics and other distractions of daily life. Here, meaningful conversation happens organically. Through gardening together, you will learn about the foster child’s interests, strengths, and areas for growth while developing trust through positive interactions focused on your shared garden.
Gardening Teaches Responsibility
Gardening helps foster children learn responsibility and build self-confidence by being tasked with caring for plants. Starting plants from seed allows foster children to nurture life from the beginning and take pride in the garden they help grow. They also learn that diligence and attentiveness pay off when their garden thrives. These transferable skills apply to foster children taking charge of their future and setting goals outside the garden too. By letting foster children choose plants and take the lead on garden tasks matching their abilities, foster carers encourage ownership over the space.
Gardening Is Flexible & Adaptable
One of the key advantages of gardening is its flexibility – it can be relaxing or vigorous, simple or scientific, messy or meticulous. Foster families can tailor gardening to align with every foster child’s interests, energy levels, strengths and areas for growth. Young children may enjoy digging holes to plant seeds and decorating garden beds by painting rocks. Science-minded children may prefer recording plant growth measurements and experimenting with various fertilisers. The options are endless, allowing garden time to work for each unique child. Every success in the garden, no matter how small, is an opportunity to praise foster children for a job well done.
The Garden Grows Community
Welcoming neighbours, friends and relatives into the family garden strengthens a foster child’s community connections. Foster children struggling with change and transition will benefit from interactions with caring adults outside the foster family. Gatherings in the tranquil garden space help foster children form bonds within a safe environment. Foster families can invite social workers and mentors to observe positive family dynamics occurring organically as they garden together. When foster children eventually transition out of the foster home, these community connections ease feelings of instability.
Gardening fosters growth, responsibility and community for foster families adjusting to their changing household dynamic after welcoming a foster child. The garden is a versatile space accommodating every child’s unique needs and interests so that garden time feels enjoyable rather than challenging. By nurturing plants together, foster carers help foster children learn self-confidence and other invaluable life skills transferable beyond the garden.