It's a legal requirement for any child over the age of 3 to have their own room. This is to ensure the child you foster has the privacy and space they require. Babies, however, can usually share a foster carer's bedroom up to a certain age (usually around 12-18 months).
A child or young person's bedroom is a place they can call their own and it acts as their special ‘safe-haven’ - somewhere they can go to get a sense of quiet and privacy, or even to play and be creative.
It’s also a really important part of helping a child in foster care feel like they belong. Importantly, it also acts as a kind of ‘stepping-stone’ into their new foster family, helping them acclimatise and settle in. For these reasons, local authorities won't generally allow them to share a bedroom with other children (except with their own siblings depending on age and space available).
For foster parents, there’s another practical reason why a separate room is important. It’s a place where children in care can learn boundaries and routines, such as regular bedtimes, or spend time without disrupting other members in the household.
1. Keep walls neutral
It's best to keep the walls a fresh but neutral colour when a child arrives at your home. Instead, perhaps stick up some posters of their favourite pop star, animals or cartoon characters - depending on their age of course. You should be able to find out this information from your supervising social worker or from one of our dedicated referrals officers.
2. Decorate with posters
We’re not necessarily talking new wallpaper, but all the other things that turn a room into something special. Maybe it’s posters, or a bookcase, or streamers from the ceiling. Perhaps it’s somewhere special to keep the child’s toys. The important thing is to take time to do it and to involve children in the process. That way they’ll make the room their own and be happy to be there.
3. Add soft furnishings
Cushions, bean bags, throws and blankets can make a bedroom feel cosy and homely and will be a real source of comfort during those first few days and weeks while a child is adapting to living in your home.
4. Keep a night light
Many children are afraid of the dark, even teenagers, and so it's a good idea to put a night light in the child's room, as they may not feel comfortable telling you to begin with.
Preparing for your first child
As well as getting the bedroom ready, there are lots more things you can do to prepare for your first child. Read some of the advice from our foster parents.
How to create a happy room for children in care
While there are minimum requirements your spare bedroom in order to foster, there’s much more you can do to prepare it so that it is a safe and welcoming place that actually helps build a child’s confidence and becomes somewhere they love and want to be.
Ready to start your fostering journey?
One of our team is available to talk to you over the phone to answer any of your fostering queries.
You can get in touch by filling out our online enquiry form with any queries that you may have.
Your local office
We have local teams covering most of England. Find your local office today.