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Welcome box

Sebastian1 May 17, 2019 10:31

Hi,

We are attending matching panel for a 1 year old next month. I’m starting to get things together for their welcome box, I was thinking:

teddy bear (smells of us)

A few laminated pictures

butterfly photo album with photos of the 3 ( us and our birth child), i’ll make sure their new teddy is in a few pictures

A hardback book?

A blanket

Does anyone have any other suggestions/ideas? I want to keep it simple as they are only little.

Thanks

Chick's Mum May 17, 2019 18:02

Interesting question as there are so many different approaches to this and they all have merits in different ways. Does a welcome box work for a one year old? I really don't know the answer.

We bought a cuddly toy (which was given when we did intros) and made an age appropriate, tactile book for each of the children (which went to the Foster Carers a week or so before intros started) - the cuddly toy was the narrator for AD's book and was in most of the pictures; not for AS's, though, as I thought that it might freak him out a bit - not sure that I was right on this but hindsight is a wonderful thing).

AD was much older when she came to us (age 5) and looked at the book quite a lot in the early days, and I've seen her peeking at it more recently too (she is now aged 16). AD also came with a album of photos of her early life from the Foster Carers and she tore up nearly all of the photos - significant, perhaps? I had a series of photos taken of the children by a professional photographer for DH's significant birthday year before last and AD's cuddly toy appears in many of them (children got to choose what was in or out of the photos). Go figure!

AS was still little (20 months) and hardly looked at the book at all but latched on to the cuddly toy which became his constant companion for years (he is now 9 and the little leopard is still a favourite, although the bunny family seem to have surpassed the little leopard - yes AS still loves his cuddly toys!).

What I will say, though, is that both children have re-visited the books that we made for them (with pictures of the house, the cats, the surrounding area and us) endlessly over the years of their growing up. I often find AS's book in his bed when I tuck him up and it feels special that he likes to look at it. So, what I'm chucking out there is the suggestion that this exercise isn't a one-off "welcome" thing but something much stronger and bolder than that in "claiming" your child.

It was suggested to us that we should switch our brand of washing liquid to whatever the Foster Carer was using. Why am I mentioning this? Well, you may find that at that young age they will arrive with a blanket and may reject the one that you offer as it doesn't smell right. So, not saying don't do it but perhaps think a bit around how it might be introduced. Both children have been bought special blankets here but that was over time.

I suspect that a one year old will try to eat a book (hardback or otherwise) or laminated pictures. The book will probably be at least partially digestible - doesn't mean don't do it but you might want to keep it safe if you want it to be something for them to re-visit. Or let them eat it if you don't mind either way once it has been read. The laminate may give them tummy ache, big time, so perhaps think about this too.

I didn't do a welcome box but do have a memory box for each of the children containing things that have been important to them (in their time with us and before) to help with life story work but also to give their early lives some context. Both children know that the boxes exist. Both have probably peeked into them (although no evidence of this!) but I will hand them over, with context, when the time feels right.

So, long story short, I don't think that I have answered your question at all. Sorry!

Peahen

Edited 17/05/19
chestnuttree May 17, 2019 19:31

I think those are very good ideas. Maybe you could make a DVD with you singing nursery rhymes so s/he sees you in action?

Our kids also still regularly read their welcome book - 7 years on, aged 12 and 13 now. The transition toys are also still in use.

Chick's Mum May 17, 2019 22:31

Funny, I never saw the cuddly toys as "transition toys" (although I think that they are often thought of / referred to in this way); I saw them more as a welcome gift - something to make each of them feel more comfortable in an alien environment. Hence my saying earlier that it is an interesting question with no right answers and merits in all directions.

DVD with nursery rhymes is a good idea. Or how about just a DVD of you doing calm stuff at home (sitting in the nursery?) with whale music in the background? No, I've never seen this or heard of it being done but whale music is supposed to be therapeutic and it would be a great experiment,

But the more I think about it the more I think that the welcome book needs to be considered as a life-held item that we hope our children will cherish. Chestnuttree's experience seems to mirror mine in suggesting that this is the case.

Let us know what you decide on.

Sebastian1 May 17, 2019 23:23

I love the DVD idea!

Thank you

Pbf May 26, 2019 15:10

We did a dvd for our AD she was 3 1/2 we made a movie dvd with stills and video clips of us by the front door of the house welcoming her in then pictures of the house her room and a video of us in her bedroom telling a story to a cuddly which we gave her when we first met her. The foster carers has played the dvd and she had watched it many times by this point so our faces were familiar and the cuddly was welcomed with a that was in the dvd is it mine.

Edited 26/05/19
RO May 28, 2019 22:13

Hi,

our little girl was coming up to 9 mths when we started introductions. We did a build a bear, with our voices recorded on it, that we slept with before handing it over to foster carers during the planning meeting before intros along with a cot bed sheet for LO to sleep on and bring her smells with her, a small blanket my mum crocheted, laminated photos of us and her nursery in A4, and a photo book (Baby Einstein say and play photo book) of our immediate family which she absolutely loves even now after being with us for 6 mths. Keep it simple as it could become overwhelming for both of you. We switched to products foster carers used for a short time too. If you are able to speak to FC beforehand maybe find out if LO’s favourite toys are coming to you and replace if required, familiarity seemed to help our LO, luckily for us she came with lots of toys and clothes from FC.

Good luck, am sure it will go really well.

Togethersince2019 May 29, 2019 13:50

I recently adopted a 13 month old and did a baby board book with photos and simple words to explain the photos. https://www.photobox.co.uk/shop/photo-books/my-first-photo-book

Sebastian1 May 30, 2019 17:18

Sorry, I forgot to tick the box to show any new posts. Also noticed that one of my replies is not showing. These items will purely be for introductions, we’ve got a book they can look through when they are older plus we’ve made a picture for their room.

Thanks all, such great ideas! The handmade crochet blanket 😊 The hardback photo album would be great as well.

boltondad August 16, 2019 13:43

Hi
Would anyone be willing to share a template or ideas for the welcome books - I think this will test how creative I can be

aquilegia August 16, 2019 14:53

Hi boltondad, it would very much depend on the age of the child. Our boy was a cheeky 3 year old. We themed his welcome book based on his favourite cartoon characters. We also bought a teddy and had it hiding in the pictures so it was a bit like a game.

We personalised a photo album as the welcome book, then added photos from intros and early placement. Not too much information to overwhelm. Photos of yourselves, home, child's bedroom, garden, your car, pets, local park with you on the swings maybe, other fun activities. We took some funny photos and couldn't have cared less if we made fools out of ourselves. 😁

For very young children/babies i think people have used some sort of photo album which you can record voices on. It's a very individual thing. Hopefully others will jump in with ideas too! Exciting times! 😉

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