I work in my own home and it is very important to me that each child feels welcome and comfortable. It is also very important that you as parents/guardians feel secure in leaving your children with me. I welcome children from many social and cultural backgrounds.
The first contact is normally by telephone or email to make sure that I can accommodate the needs of each particular child and family, can offer the required days and generally to get a feel for the family and let you get a feel for me.
The First Meeting
The first meeting is normally at my house so that your child can see that you as parent/guardian are happy to come to me and so that you can all see what facilities I provide. I will show you around at a pace that suits you making sure that you are aware of the child friendly environment which is welcoming, friendly, safe and secure. I will also visit you at your home which gives me an idea of how you like to do things and gives your child/ren a positive mindset about our working relationship. If your child is from a different cultural background or speaks a different language from me I will make my best effort to learn about your culture and language and display this at our initial meeting. I will speak to your child directly using his/her name to try to find out a little about them. I will also speak directly to you as parent/guardian to find out exactly what it is you are looking for from myself. These communications are informal, warm and friendly. During times when home visits are not permitted (such as during Coronavirus or other pandemics) we can face-time or do a zoom call so that we can chat whilst we see each other. I will also show you around my setting during this video call
If we agree to go ahead with the childminding arrangements we complete the necessary paperwork and agree a mutually convenient start date. Any information about your child and family is kept totally confidential. I operate a three month probation period on both sides which gives both myself and yourselves three months to find out if the arrangement is going to work and if not can be terminated without any notice period being given. Contracts are reviewed and updated every 12 months. I will also send you a copy of my policies and procedures at this point for you to read through, accept and keep a copy at home. They are also available at my house and on my website for you to refer to should you so wish as well as any of my risk assessments.
Settling children in my care
Once we agree on a start date we also need to agree on two settling in dates where your child is left in my care for short periods of time until they feel settled and secure. If required we can do more settling in sessions. They may bring any comfort objects or familiar toys if they feel these will help. Each child has a hanging peg and small storage box at my house which is solely for their use and this helps them to feel important and special and gives them something familiar of their own in my home. Initially new children need more attention and I will try to arrange activities that I know they like and feel familiar with. I will try to follow your daily routine as far as is possible. During pandemics these settling in sessions would take place in my garden or as a meet up in a public park.
If I feel that a child is not relaxing in my company I will speak to you about this and find out if you can think of any reason why. I will also observe the child during the day to see if they are sleepy, a bit clingy when left, showing signs of illness or just generally unhappy. If they are old enough I will try to speak to them to find out if they would like to do something in particular. I will never rush a child to settle in, children are individual and will settle in their own time. If you agree; I am happy to seek professional help for particular sticking points, such as advice from health visitors on hyperactivity or allergies to certain foods etc.
Getting your child involved
I will encourage your child to participate in games and activities, co-operating with others and to sort out minor conflicts between themselves, intervening only where necessary. All children in my care are encouraged to make new children feel welcome.