Fostering a child can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility. As a foster carer, you play a crucial role in the life of a child, providing them with love, support, and stability when they need it most, during a time of transition. In order to be a successful foster carer, there are some essential skills to develop. Here are five of the most important:


Communication is key in any relationship, but it is particularly important when fostering a child. As a foster carer, you will be working with a child who will have experienced trauma and upheaval in their life, and they may struggle with expressing their feelings and emotions. Being a good listener and communicator can help you build trust with the child and ensure that they feel heard and understood.

It’s important to bear in mind that communication is a two-way street. You will need to be able to express yourself clearly and effectively to the child, as well as to social workers, teachers, and other professionals involved in the child’s care. Being able to communicate in a positive, respectful, and non-judgemental way can help to build strong relationships and partnerships with others involved in the child’s care. If this sounds like you, learn more about how to become a foster parent here.


Patience is a virtue that is particularly important when fostering a child. You may encounter challenges and setbacks along the way, and it’s important to remember that progress might not always happen overnight. Children who have experienced trauma might have challenges with trust and attachment, and it may take some time for them to feel safe and comfortable in your home.

Being patient also means being able to manage your own emotions and reactions. It’s important to remain calm and composed in potentially difficult situations and avoid taking things personally. Remember that any challenging behaviour from the child is not a reflection of you, but rather a result of their experience, that they will benefit from support with.

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Flexibility is another key skill to develop if you want to be a foster carer. You may need to adapt your approach to meet the individual needs and preferences of the child in your care. This could mean being flexible with your routines, your expectations, and your parenting style.

Flexibility also means being able to work with the child’s social worker and any other professionals that are involved in their care. You may also need to attend meetings and appointments, and you may need to adjust your plans to ensure the child’s needs are accommodated for.


Empathy refers to the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. This is particularly important when fostering a child who may have experienced trauma and loss. Empathy can help you connect with the child and make them feel understood and heard.

Along with this, empathy also means being able to see things from the perspective of the child. Try to put yourself in their shoes and understand how they must feel. This can help you respond in a more sensitive, supportive way.

Fostering a child requires a range of important qualities and skills. By working on developing them, you can provide a supportive, safe home for a child in need and make a positive difference in their life.