Culinary Kindness: How Foster Families Can Use Food to Create a Sense of Belonging Skip to main content
Powered By Book That In
More Parenting Articles

Culinary Kindness: How Foster Families Can Use Food to Create a Sense of Belonging

Fostering a child is all about providing them with a safe, stable environment when their birth families are not able to. Working to create a sense of belonging, and helping these kids feel at home, valued and supported is a key aspect of being a successful foster parent to a child of any age, from any background. Every aspect of the home environment that you provide to a foster child has a part to play in facilitating a positive, welcoming and secure environment for them, including food. Read on to explore how food can play a key role in creating a sense of family and belonging for kids in foster care.

The Importance of Food for Kids in Foster Care

Food is an essential part of our everyday life, but there’s much more to it than simply eating because we need to survive. Along with being a physical essential, food can also have a huge impact on our emotional wellbeing. Food can provide a sense of comfort; it’s why you might feel better after a bowl of warm chicken soup if you’ve got the flu. A tasty, home-cooked meal enjoyed together can be a sign of family, friendship, love and care. For kids in foster care, the simple act of preparing and eating food together can bring a sense of community and family. What’s more, involving foster kids in the process of cooking food can be a great way to teach them some valuable skills they can use for a lifetime, and is encouraged by foster agencies like Orange Grove Foster Care.

The Role of Food in Encouraging a Sense of Belonging

Involving a foster child in the process of planning and preparing meals to eat together as a family is one worthwhile way to create a sense of belonging for them and help them to feel part of the family. This could be as simple as taking them to do the weekly food shop, involving them in choosing what they’d like to have for dinner, or asking them to set the table ready to eat. Involving children in the food process can leave them feeling like they’re part of the family and provide them with a sense of autonomy. It’s often the little things that have a big impact on just how safe and secure a foster child feels in your home.

Using Food to Make a Foster Child Feel Welcome and Valued

Food can be a powerful tool in helping a foster child feel welcome in your home and encourage them to come out of their shell if they are shy or anxious. For example, if you are fostering a child of a different nationality, cooking meals using the cuisine that they are used to can help them feel valued and understood. Or, simply learning more about their favourite foods or foods that they’d like to try but haven’t had the chance to eat yet, can be a way to bond and get to know them as an individual.

Food is something we all need for fuel, but it goes much further than just eating to stay alive. For families caring for foster children, the whole process of planning, preparing, and enjoying meals together can be a way to create a strong sense of belonging and family.