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Many families will grow and change over time with the introduction of new family members. The traditional way for a family to grow is for two parents to bring a new baby into the world. However, adoption as well as blending two established families through marriage is also common. Whether you are trying to integrate your biological child, a step-child or an adopted child into the home, there are a few steps that you can take to accomplish this more easily and successfully.
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Create a Personal Space in the Home
The new member in the home should be made to feel comfortable and welcome as soon as he or she arrives. Ideally, a bedroom or personal space will be available and prepared for the child ahead of time. However, if the child is old enough, consider giving him or her some freedom to decorate the space according to personal preferences. For example, letting him choose his paint color and working as a family to paint the walls together is a wonderful idea. Agencies like A Child’s Dream can often give you some insight on how you might prepare a space for an adopted child to be comfortable, too, so be sure to ask.
Adjust Your Daily Schedule
When someone new moves into the home, regardless of how old or young they are, the family typically needs to adjust its schedule in different ways. For example, children who share a bathroom may need to make adjustments so that the new child can have time in the bathroom each morning and evening for personal hygiene. The family may need to adjust what it prepares for meals to suit the preferences of the new member.
Introduce Holidays With Care
Holidays may only come around once every few months, but they are a critical time in family culture. Newborns and very young children may only need to learn family traditions over time. However, when you are blending families, such as when step-children arrive in the home, it is wise to blend traditions from both families together as much as possible. Discuss holiday plans ahead of time so that blended traditions can be created.
While some new family members may be integrated into the home with minimal stress, it may take months or longer for others to feel at ease in a new space. Each established family member should make an extra effort to include new members in activities and plans, and the preferences of the new family member should be taken into account at all times as well. While this can be a stressful process in some cases, most families will envelop a new member with open arms.