Welcoming package for children under 12?
I am looking to compile a “welcoming package” for children under the age of 12 that will be entering a residential group home setting. It seems that a practical, informative approach would be to have it in language that a child could understand; simple language with informative illustrations. If someone could point me in the right direction, it would be greatly appreciated.
I think a welcome package is so important, because the way in which a child enters the place of care will set the tone for a long time. First impressions last. Something I have found is that sometimes when children come to us, they arrive with nothing and sometimes their few things are just bundled into a plastic bag or something similar. This may not be the case everywhere. Something I have advocated is to have a few suitcases or bags to provide to the child before they arrive, so that they can pack their few things and when they arrive they can do so with a little dignity. It is not necessarily part of a welcome package in the traditional sense, but it is part of how they enter into a new environment. Just something to think about.
If you currently have any access to the children that already reside in the setting, why not ask them what was/is important to them when they first arrived? A great moment of engagement and voice for them and a wealth of knowledge for you, a win-win!
I hope you’re in school Danny. What a “Perfect” (ha) project for you to develop! It would also be a wonderful thing to share with others.
Some of the best resources to come out of Australia are the KidsRCentral Tools and Resources.
The All About Me booklet is a great place to start!
At one time I was involved in putting together welcome packages and we would contact previous placements or their social worker to get an idea of what the individual liked/needed. Favorite candy, hair care, diary, personal care items and a big welcome sign. I like the idea of asking current residents for their input on what they would have liked to have had waiting for them upon their arrival to a facility.
I am a second year Bachelor of Child Studies student at Mount Royal University. I read your question and started thinking about welcoming packages for children, and I think that is a great idea.
I think that some great things to include in a welcome package for children under 12 entering a residential group home setting would be some comfort items like a book, a soft blanket, maybe even a stuffed animal. Entering residential group home settings can be a very anxious time for the children and having a comfort item might help to make the transition smoother and also help them feel more comfortable there knowing that they have that comfort or security item that is theirs.
Another thing to include in a welcome package might be a fun game that they can play with other kids to help them get to know each other and build relationships. Something as simple as a card game, or puzzles for younger children, that they can use as a starter for getting comfortable with the other children and building friendships within that setting.
I also agree with Charlene's response, I really think it's important for them to have their own personal care items right away to make them feel comfortable and welcome and a few of their favorite things that they really like.
Welcoming packages should also include rules and expectations of the home so that the children know what the boundaries are right at the start.
Welcoming packages should be as individualized to the child as possible to help them feel welcome, safe and comfortable when they arrive to the home.
Hope that helped with some ideas.