Foster parenting requires a lot of “stuff”. This post discusses some of the wish list items foster parents and biological parents alike have found useful in their parenting journeys. You won’t find clothes, diapers, or other basics on this list.
Why Develop a Wish List for Fostering?
When I was first starting out on my foster parenting journey, I thought developing a wish list, a baby registry or even hosting a “new child shower” was sort of excessive. I have done a complete 180, and now think it’s almost necessary!
My friends in the foster care world tell me that many people are interested in donating to foster parents, but they don’t know what to donate or where to start. Alternatively, they do donate to foster parents, but one family might end up with 50 pairs of socks and no t-shirts.
The wish list items for foster parents listed below are things I wouldn’t have thought of needing but that really come in handy once a child is placed in your home.
The Essential Wish List Items for Foster Parents
There certain items you just can’t go without when taking in a child for the first time. The following items are things I would never have thought of, but heard about through social media or other foster parents.
Medication Lock Box
Your county or foster care agency will require you to have all of your medications stored in a locked container. I was feeling pretty anxious about this because I take quite a few medications on a daily basis. I wanted something easy to access but big enough so that I didn’t have to have a bunch of little boxes all over the place. The SereneLife locking storage container was one of many containers I researched and eventually landed on purchasing. It seemed to fit the bill in terms of ease and size.
When the lockbox arrived, I loaded it up with all my medications, plus some lotions and other items to make sure it fit any extra stuff I might have on hand. It even fits one large cat!
You can set a code for the box, rather than opening it with a key. To me, this is important because I seem to lose little keys frequently, and if a kid was to find the key, they would be able to access it even if it’s locked. It works like a charm so far!
Fire Escape Ladder
You will also be required to draw up a fire escape route for your home. This was so difficult for me as I live in a condo on the second floor, so the only realistic escape is the front door. Unless I want to jump off the patio into the neighbor’s patio, I needed another option. This foldable fire escape ladder is something we had in my home growing up. You can get a cheaper version, but I like this ladder because there is a carrying/ storage case. I also like the foldable option because my house is so small and this doesn’t take up too much room.
The Mini Crib
I came across this Delta Children Gio mini crib from a friend’s page who actually has a paid partnership to promote this brand. After seeing her post I went down a three hour long rabbit hole researching the best crib for small spaces. There are tons! For the space, color options, size and the fact that it is adjustable, I think this is the best deal. It is adjustable for different heights, which is important when fostering as this crib can be used for babies and toddlers interchangeably.
Utilitarian Wish List Items for Foster Parents
This next set of items aren’t necessarily essential, but they aren’t “fun” either. In foster parenting, it’s all about making life easier for everyone involved. These items do just that!
The Wagon Versus the Stroller
In my naïve brain, a stroller seems logical and pretty necessary for going anywhere with kids. A friend of mine who has 5 kids under 7 recommended a foldable wagon instead of a stroller. She would know best! Her original suggestion was related to traveling with young children, but a wagon seems handy for other situations as well.
Since it is foldable, this wagon will take up way less space in my house than a stroller. The other benefit of having a wagon is you can stack more things inside. I like the Mac Sports wagon because it has two drink holders- perfect for my coffee and a sippy cup!
The other benefit for a wagon is that it has many other uses. One way I plan on using this wagon is taking it to the beach. Loading up all of the various items needed for kids at the beach seems like an extreme hassle, and the wagon takes some of that struggle out of the beach day.
Baby Life Jackets
Speaking of beach days, I love kayaking and I wanted a (safe) way to take any potential foster children with me on the kayak. I must have spent several hours researching the best kayaking spots for children in Colorado, how to kayak with a baby, and a whole range of water safety tips for babies and young children.
I found this life jacket towards the beginning of my search, and kept coming back to it after looking at all of the other options. It’s a little more spendy than some of the other options out there but I figure I’ll use it enough to make it worth it.
The structure of the life jacket helps babies float on their backs, while also not choking them with the straps. A note of caution though, no lifejackets for babies are approved by the USCG so you may need to do some research ahead of time if the approval is required like it is for us.
Weighted blankets are magic. I do not say this lightly, either. My mom and I have both struggled with insomnia for literally our whole lives. We’ve tried everything, from essential oils to melatonin- you name it, we’ve tried it. In a training for my social work job, the presenter talked about weighted blankets and it has changed my life ever since.
Weighted items help kids (and adults) who experience trauma by making them feel safer and more secure. I love my ZonLi blanket, and I’m excited to get this super cute owl blanket for my foster kids. Make sure to check out your child’s weight and bed size to get the right blanket for your family.
Fun Wish List Items for Foster Parents
Ok, on to the fun stuff! Here are some of the more fun wish list items for foster parents. These would be great for a new foster child shower or as gift from an out-of-state friend. You can order directly from Amazon making it easy, but there’s also a wide price range, making it accessible to everyone no matter their budget.
This was another recommendation from my friend who recommended the wagon. Again, she was recommending this child’s camera as a item for successful travel, but I think it would be great for a kid to have their own camera anytime!
Especially for children in the foster care system, a camera can allow them to have a little control over the parts of their lives they want to be documented. Because this camera is so cheap, it might even be a good gift to give to your new foster child to keep with them throughout the years.
Photo cubes are a great toy for younger children. They are a wonderful way to maintain your foster child’s connections with their parents or other relatives. You can point at pictures and tell a story about the person or show the child how they might look similar to their biological family.
Photo cubes can also help remind kids of your family members’ names, which can be helpful for new placements. With this photo cube you can insert pictures as well as a piece of paper with a name or fact about that picture.
A photo cube could even be a great start to a life book. Check back here soon for more info on life books.
Sensory toys are great for kids with sensory needs and are “cool” enough for kids who don’t need constant sensory input. Pinterest has a ton of DIY sensory toy tutorials. DIY sensory toys run the gambit from extremely simple to super complex. Store bought sensory toys also range from super cheap to extremely expensive.
The type of sensory toys that work best for you and your child will vary, but check back soon for a post all about different sensory toys.
So, there you have it! My ultimate list of wish list items for foster parents. Whether you are just starting out on your foster parenting journey or you have children of your own, hopefully the items on this list make your life a little easier fun and safe for all involved!
If you think I’ve missed something from this list, feel free to let me know in the comments! I’m always on the hunt for suggestions.