“Visiting between parents and their children in foster care is generally considered to be the most important factor contributing toward timely reunification. Visiting maintains the connection between parents and child during placement and allows the worker to assess the readiness of parent and child for reunification.” —From: http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/downloads/promising-practices-in-reunification.pdf#

Many biological parents feel a tremendous amount of pressure walking into the visitation each week. All eyes are on you to see how you will perform your parental duties with your children.  It really doesn’t seem like a recipe for success when you know the way you care for your children over the next two hours can help or hurt your chances of getting them back.  People don’t act themselves under that much scrutiny.  Then, it only adds to your tension to see your children wearing clothes that aren’t the ones you bought or a new haircut. They almost feel as if they aren’t yours anymore. Your children are feeling pressure as well; and they sense your anxiety on top of theirs. All of these pressures can make family visitations a difficult place to connect with your child.

Is there a way to make this very difficult process a little easier?  I believe there are a few tips that can begin to ease the tension.

  • Bring your own bag of goodies with you.  Bring a book to read to your child or a new game to play. Bring a snack that you know they love.
  • Be on time.  When you’re on time, everyone knows that you’re excited about being there, including your children.
  • Begin a new tradition. Kids love to know what to expect when they visit.  They also want to re-live fun moments over and over again.  It can be as simple as the way you greet them when you see them.
  • Be in the moment. Put your worries aside when you walk in the building. Put your full focus and attention on connecting with your children.  They know when you are going through the motions and aren’t really “in it”.

Most importantly, enjoy your children! They are a gift!