View Full Version : Settling in periods

10-02-2015, 09:41 PM
Do you offer settling in periods/sessions for parents/children and if so how many and of what length? Is a contract signed beforehand? Do you charge for these sessions?
What's normal practice?

10-02-2015, 09:46 PM
Contracts + deposit first for sure, no point wasting time on settling in if they are not going to come (unless you agree this with parents as a way to decide if you want to take on the child!).

I see what the child/parent needs- usually for a baby/young toddler I do a 1x 30 min visit with mum and have mum leave for last 10 mins so child sees that mum comes back. Then extend that as needed- 20 mins child only and then a 1 hour. I do not charge for these sessions (up to a limit!).

But some children just do not need it, some parents need it more than the child, some children need a lot more and you have to squeeze in more sessions before start date and home visits too if needed.
Some CM don't do much settling in sessions and just accept that the child is going to cry anyway so just get on with it and they will settle.

11-02-2015, 06:44 AM
I do contracts and deposits first. I offer 2 free 2 hour settling in sessions. Parent staying on the first is optional. After that if I think or parents think that we need more sessions they will be chargeable at an hourly rate. I did have a parent who wanted no settling in sessions so I deducted the free sessions off her first session and got on with it. 9 month old, 11hr day! Needless to say it was very hard and I would be very reluctant to do it again! I was very new to the job at the time and just went with mums wishes to secure the contract. Baby is very settled now though :-)

11-02-2015, 08:54 AM
I do 2 1hr sessions, one of them being over lunch. This gives me a chance to see how the child eats, if there are likely to be any problems etc.

To be honest, I don't see the sessions as being much use for the child. Either they're going to cry when they're dropped off, or they're not. A couple of hour long visits don't really make much difference. I find they're of more use the the parents and me. Very often it's the first experience the parent has of leaving their child with a stranger, so you don't want that to be done on their first day back at work.

I find the session useful for me as they highlight any issues I might not have thought to ask about - does the child feed themselves, do they have bottle or food first, will they ask if they need the toilet etc. I also get that first experience of the child's behaviour when parents aren't there - do they play nicely, do they snatch toys, are they confident with other children?

But one of the biggest advantages is finding out what the parents are like. I tell them what time to arrive, what to bring (paperwork, change of clothes etc) and what time the session will end. You get parents who arrive on the dot, with everything you asked for and who return dead on time. Then you get the parents who arrive late, have forgotten nappies, or forgot to mention that the child can't eat something or other, then arrive back half an hour after you tell them to. They're the ones you know you're going to have to be strict with from the very beginning!

11-02-2015, 09:45 AM
Definitely contract and deposit first. I made the mistake of not doing one once and that was a lesson learnt. I offered two free 1hr sessions and they never came back so 2 free hrs childcare :blush:

I offer 2 1hr sessions, parents stay or go whatever they feel comfortable with. If they decide they need more then they have to pay.