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Settling in - whats normal/appropriate(15 Posts)
My DD,who will be 14 months then, will be going to childcare 3 days a week from September.
I'm a teacher and so have the luxury of being free over August and would like to use this time to settle DD in with her childminder (who we havent found yet as my job location was a bit up in the air until recently).
So I was wondering what would be appropriate. I understand the childminder doesn't really want days and days of me hanging around but I'd like to do it as gradually as possible. I know lots dont have a choice in terms of financially or time wise but surely any settling in is better done gradually, allowing the child to use the parent as a secure base as much as they need to.
I'd like to do at least 2 or 3 sessions with me there, even for just a couple of hours. Obviously the aim would be that she becomes more comfortable and independent and I can withdraw to the kitchen for example and let the childminder get on.
Then I guess I'd like to do a few shorter sessions (without me there) before she actually goes 3 full days in September. I'm happy to pay for a full morning or afternoon session for these - I'm certainly not trying to get free childcare.
I know some will say I'm being PFB and 'she'll be fine' - yes, I know she will and I know the childminders are very experienced. Hence why I'm asking whats appropriate - I dont want the childminder to think I'm going to be an obsessive or difficult Mum!
I think 3 sessions are generally enough - one with you both visiting for an hour, one where maybe you stay for 30 minutes then go out/into another room for an hour, then maybe a half day just for you DD. Following week go straight in full time.
Or you could take up your space in August and just send your DD for the mornings?
I usually offer a staged settle where parents meet up with us at an activity or group.
Then parent brings child to play
Then parent leaves for 1 hour
Then half a day
It's usually enough to get a little one settled in. They will get upset in their first week or so but adapt to the routine very quickly in my experience.
It does sound a little much.
I usually have them both round round lunch and a play one day. I can see how much and what they will eat and we get to know each other.
Then 2x2 hour sessions for free the week before the contract starts in full.
I don't have the inclination to sit around for hours on end with a parent watching me, giving off nervous vibes. Especially in August when we do days out and I have more children here than term time. Also the safeguarding side of things and not being able to leave the room without taking all the mindees within me because you are there.
If you wanted to spend time in the same space as me and the minderes, I would suggest you come to the toddler group we attend.
Then I do all settling in at my setting without you there. Your child will not be settling while you're there, they'll just be with their mother.
If a parent is nervous, I do the first session as a short one and advise the parent to go off for coffee, clothes shopping for work, or whatever they need to do to occupy their time. Then I do one morning, one afternoon and one full day (preferably all in the week before the child stats). Then we go for it.
I have spaces in September, but I'm full in August, until the last week before term starts, so I wouldn't be able to offer time earlier in August.
Also ... if a parent has time and can afford it, I suggest starting before you return to work, so you both get used to it and get any concerns aired before all the time constraints of the commute.
I also normally just suggest a couple of session first with mum staying (usually whilst we chat about routine etc) and next time mum leaves for an hour or so depending on how it's going. I usually do it around lunch or snack time as it's a good distraction if child isn't used to being left.
That said, i have had a couple who wanted longer settling-in periods and started the contract a week early and did half days for the first week and this worked brilliantly - a luxury you/the cm might not manage but a lovely easy introduction to what can be a bit of a shock if they are used to be home all be with mum!
Personally I would make sure that there is only one session with you there. If the 'norm' becomes you being there (e.g. 3/3 times you have stayed), it will most likely be quite unsettling for you to suddenly disappear.
The children who settle in the quickest seem to be the ones who do quite a few short sessions, without their parents, so that they realise their parents are coming back, but don't expect their parents to stay with them.
I'm a childminder, BTW
Also, try and imagine it from the childminder's point of view. Ultimately the childminders attention is going to be divided with you there. She can't leave the other children alone with you, she won't be able to bond as well, or go about as normal and it will be unsettling for the other children to have another adult there. 3 sessions is just impractical and I wouldn't allow it in my setting.
I do completely see it from the childminder's POV and would definitely not relish having a parent hang around my classroom. It's also obviously unacceptable if they aren't giving their other mindees the normal expected care.
I think you make a really good point dog about it being the norm for me to be there. I hadn't thought about it like that.
I think based on what you guys have said from your experience a better use of time would be shorter sessions rather than sessions with me.
I'm just worried about her feeling abandoned with someone who is effectively a stranger. She's nervous of strangers at the moment and is very wary when I go to someone's house if she can't remember being there before. I know this is all normal though. And this isn't a criticism of childminders or any form of childcare so I hope it doesn't come across like that.
As a teacher you must also recognise that children are different with their parents around. Short and sweet hand overs are ideal and loitering around only prolongs the distress. Happy, cheerful, 'mummy will see you later' kiss and leave.
Yes definitely the short cheery goodbye. The longer the handover takes, the more she will get upset. The childminder will give her lots of hugs and she will be distracted by the new toys and children.
I couldn't have you sat at my house for hours because legally despite you having a DBS for teaching it does not cover you for my setting (they were meant to but despite paying for a yearly update the government haven't sorted the transferability bit) so I could never leave you alone with any other child and this would not be possible as I wouldn't be able to do things like nappy changes fetch drinks?food in etc ....children also struggle to attach to the new person in their life if mummy is still there....I do at least 3 come talk play and sign meetings when parents stay and play so Lo is familiar then we do an hour say goodbye and leave....the car is fine if you want up to you....then a longer session covering feed and or sleep depending on LO some need 2 of these, so generally we have done half a day before returning to work.
Not what you are wanting to hear, but the last little one I starated with, the mum asked about settling in visits and I said that would be fine, I started saying about her dropping baby for a couple of hours maybe two or three times and she replied she was thinking could I have her for an 8 hour day as she had quite a lot to do before going back to work. I did the day, it was fine and then straight into full time the week after.
As others have said, I would be reluctant and probably unable to do lots of settling visits as the child whose space you are having is probably still with me through out August and starting school in September.
For the majority of children a couple of visits lasting 2-3 hours, without you, will be fine.
I agree with all the advice about the quick goodbye. A good caring childminder will be able to calm and distract your child if they become upset.
It's normal to worry though, however confident you are with your choice of childcare. I never mind if parents phone or text to find out how their child is and I often send a photo/message on the first few days so parents can see and be reassured the child is fine with me.
My childminder was very good and let me have a few settle sessions and only charged me for when she started going at least 4 hours. It started with me going with her, then i left for an hour. A couple more sessions of slightly longer and then built up to around 6 hours at which point i was paying. My daughter cried through most of the first few and was only fine once i started leaving her all day. I think the settle sessions were more for me to feel better to be honest!
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