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It feels like I'm on auditions!(9 Posts)
About 2 years ago I began experiencing new parents visit different. I've been an ofsted registered childminder for 10 years and I truly feel that attitude between parents are changing and not sure how to convince parents to have an open mind and most importantly trust me and get to know me. I welcome parents and their children. I understand they're handing their precious ones to complete stranger. But life is full of risks as long as you follow right procedures such as checking for CRB, ofsted register/report references etc. I'm also constantly giving out my private home details out to complete strangers, coming my home etc. Despite they having a chat with my current parents, meeting children I care for, seeing my environment, my daily plans, healthy menus, pictures of places with both present and past children. My set up is well planned as well as children making their choices. They always show that they're interested but never hear from them again even when they say they'll call. All my children are moving on soon. Some are moving away and others going onto after school club and still unable to fill my places despite meeting so many parents.
How can I ask new parents to let me know so that I can make further improvements if necessary. Whenever I go training/forum and still haven't been able to come out with big changes because it keeps happening.
I'm so paranoid. Has anyone experienced this?
Do you think you may be trying too hard to impress?
Have you got a best friend who would come into your home with fresh eyes and pointing out things you could change that you haven't noticed yourself?
Do you have animals that are putting people off? Is your home too clean/ too messy (parents have told me some cm's they have seen the houses are spotless/ have cream carpet and they worry their children will ruin it)
Do you have a relaxed attitude, when people come to see me I am calm, pleasant and professional but I do have an honest take it or leave it approach because I am confident about the service I offer, I've had the children in my care for a long time now, children I have tend to stay for years and my references are really good.
Are there many other childminders in your area with vacancies? It might just be that competition is fierce and parents are doing the rounds and seeing many childminders before they decide. Perhaps others are offering a better rate.
Are you friendly with any local childminders? Could you find out what their current rates are? Have you been to
snoop around their settings visit them for a playdate?
when they visit, I aways ask for feedback if they decide to take the place or not, saying that no matter what people see things differently, If they don't take a place i txt them to ask why, a txt is easier that people saying things to your face sometimes and once they've made their choice sometimes they just forget
cant be bothered
I also wonder if you may come over as being too organised and structured, or perhaps a bit "professional" at the expense of being approachable?. I do a lot less preparation for visits these days and am more relaxed about letting people come on an average day with a typical amount of child-related mess. I joked to a parent recently that the state of my house at hometime was carefully designed to make parents grateful they don't have their children home all day.
I also think a lot of parents these days are convinced they have to see ALL the options available and go through a protracted and methodical selection process (often involving folders full of lists of questions probably suggested by Mumsnetters!) One I saw recently had a dozen or more visits lined up. I was actually quite surprised when they did come back, but they did say they had totally confused themselves, couldn't remember what different people had said, thought up more questions they hadn't asked the first people and so on. It is all very hit and miss when people take that sort of approach.
There also seem to be a lot of parents trying to line up childcare before they have secured a job - or before they decide whether or not to return to work. Naturally there are then a lot who don't follow through, particularly as the jobs market is so tough in many areas and often the wages offered don't meet expectations. I do try to gauge when people call how tenatative their enquiry is - for example it is not very promising if someone says they don't yet know what days they will need or when they will want to start. I am happy to talk to anyone, but I wouldn't have very high expectations in that situation.
It is disappointing when visits you have prepared for come to nothing. Perhaps it would be less upsetting if you invested less effort in preparation and tried to be more "take us as you find us".
Having said that, I absolutely hate it when people just can't be bothered or don't have the good manners to let me know their decision, one way or the other. It takes barely any effort to send a quick email or note to say "We are still considering" or "Thanks but no thanks" but I have had quite a few not bother at all or only come back to me looking to take up a place only after I had taken on someone else.
Anyway, wishing you better luck with your enquiries
do you have a local childrens centre which you use? could you put a business card up there or talk to your network co ordinator about what could be going wrong?
do you ask other cms to pass on your number if they get enquiries they can't take?
you have children at the moment so its not like you can't get anyone at all - I wouldn't panic too much just yet.
also, don't take this the wrong way but don't come across as too needy or desperate when parents visit. I always make it clear that I am in high demand and I am chosing whether to take them as much as they are chosing whether to use me.
Don't text people asking why they didn't go with you - unless you think it could help you in some way. if people can't be bothered to let you know either way i would say they are probably not worth chasing after.
good luck, i'm sure it will pick up - some times of year are quieter than others - try childcare.co.uk too and are you on your local childminder list?
Perhaps I try too hard. They normally come when children are around playing. I don't have any pet. 3 other minders have visited my setting including our local rep & they all feel it's fine.
I've started to insist on deposits and signed contracts before I will reserve a place.
Just so sick of being messed about. I've had them ask to reserve a place, then go elsewhere 2 weeks before they were due to start.
If they won't sign and pay, I can't guarantee the place.
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