Hmmm…this is something that your GPS classes for foster care will not tell you. It is something I hope you will find useful if you are in the fostering process. Please feel free to add other items to the list. Everyone’s list will be different because ever child is different and you might be fostering a different age range then us. (o – 3)
These are the things I kept on hand BEFORE we got our Little Bit:
- RID (for lice…hey, ya never know), you want to get the whole 3 step system. Spray all articles of clothing and treat their scalp (if the come to you with lice). Put all their clothing and anything else they came with into a plastic bag after you wash it.
- baby toothbrush and fluoride free tooth paste
- comb and brush
- baby shampoo & wash (we use Dr. Bronner’s)
- baby towel and wash cloths
- unscented baby lotion (we use Burt Bee’s)
- diapers in appropriate sizes
- crib sheets, blankets, tiny pillows
- pjs in appropriate sizes…i have one set for every age range (newborn to 3T)
- sippy cups, kids plates, kids forks and spoons, or bottles if you get an infant
- crib, toddler bed (have to have these for your home to be approved)
- educational games like puzzles, books, balls
- soft toys, stuffed animals or dolls to snuggle
- highchair or bumbo with tray
- bath toys
- stroller (not a necessity, but sure is handy)!
These are things we try to have on hand. Your foster child will probably need shoes too. Since they are so expensive we tend to wait until we have the child and then take them to find shoes once we know their size. They can just wear socks or be carried until then…we took Little Bit the next day, but your child might not be ready for a trip to Wal-Mart that soon…it just depends on the kid.
Some things like toys aren’t that big of a deal because most kids will just play with boxes and pots and pans, but it’s still good to have some books and puzzles for them.
If you can have your necessities on hand then you don’t have to freak out when you get your first placement. I imagine I’d be running around trying to figure all this stuff out after they got here and I’d not be focusing as much on the child. It really helped to already have most of it at home, so our first night was just getting accustomed to each other.
We shopped thrift stores and yard sales for pjs and play clothes. We have been so blessed by our Christian friends and have had to buy very little. Just today Little Bit got a care package from some friends with lots of little church dresses and outfits. It was the sweetest thing.
Also, toys can be very expensive, so search craigslist, yard sales, ask friends if they have extra their kids don’t play with anymore. I’m sure there are tons of moms out there who’d like to clean out the toy box!
We waited until she got here to buy baby food. You can’t really stock that in your pantry and fridge for months waiting on a placement. Depending on the age you will need appropriate snacks and food. One of you could stay home with the baby the first night while the other gets snacks and food for the next few days.
Also. Establish a schedule from the first day. These babies need some sort of structure. They have been thrown into a stranger’s home and have no idea how things go. If from day one you can put them on a schedule then they will know what to expect as far as naps, lunch, bathtime, and bedtime. A bedtime routine is so important. Instead of just sticking them in their crib establish a routine that works for your family. We do bath, brush teeth, potty, massage, bible time (reading & songs), then we pray with her and she knows she’s going into her crib after that. Some babies might be used to being rocked or need that extra cuddle time before bed. Little Bit cries for about a minute and then lays down and goes to sleep when we leave the room. She’s been really easy as far as bedtime goes.
You can’t really prepare for these kids because they come with their own little personalities and needs, but these are the few generic things I felt made our lives a little easier to already have on hand for the first few days.
So, what are some things you feel like you and your infant/toddler can’t live without? What soothes your baby when he/she is fussy? Favorite toys? I’d love to hear your ideas!