View Full Version : How do you play with child at first visit?

15-07-2011, 08:05 PM
This seems like a really silly questions to be asking but how do you interact with the child at a first parent visit?

I had my first visit a few days ago and want to kick myself because it did not go well. I am shy and felt quite nervous. Mum came with toddler, I did a quick tour around the house, we sat down in living room and I started talking about my routine. The toddler jumped off the couch and raced over to the toy shelf which is at the other end of the room. I took this as my cue and went over to take some toys out for her. I tried to show her things and interact with her but she completely ignored me and kept turning her back to me. I was feeling really nervous, mum was sitting on couch staring at me and the whole thing was really akward. I left some toys out and went to sit next to mum so that I could take her through my parent pack. Mum asked some questions and then she got up to leave. The child spent the whole time at the other end of the room. I didn't feel that the visit went that well.

My ds was at nursery and dd was sound asleep. I don't have any mindees yet. So mum didn't get to see me interacting with any other children.

I think in the future I will make sure that one of my own children is at home and awake as this might make the atmosphere more relaxed. I will also put toys out nearer to where we are sitting.

I am really interested to know what everybody else does and how you manage to engage with the child in such a short amount of time. I really enjoy spending time and playing with children once I get to know them but I have never been a natural at putting unknown children at ease:blush: I need some serious help!

15-07-2011, 08:21 PM
I've always been very nervous with new families visiting. You've got the right idea though, with bringing the toys closer. I have out a selection of toys close to where me and Mum will be, and try to notice what the child is drawn to - watch the eyes :p Today I had a first settling in session with an 8 month old child who Mum had said was very clingy, he was playing quite happily with the rattles and figures but then suddenly noticed my fish tank and he couldn't take his eyes off it. I saw this and helped him get to it for a closer look, he was so interested in the fish he barely noticed that I had hold of him and he'd moved away from his Mum.
Also I now try not to have too much paperwork for them to look through at my house, I give them some info in a pack to take away - I don't think anyone can concentrate at a first meeting!

15-07-2011, 08:36 PM
Hi I am still nervous after many years. I tend to sit on the floor and play with something interesting whilst talking to the parents. Then the child will normally join me and start to interact. Sometimes I use cars, sometimes a jigsaw or the treasure basket. I try not to "force" myself on a child as some can be very nervous but more often than not their curiosity wins out.

I do have stuff out for the parents if they want to look through it but many are more interested in talking to me than looking at paperwork. I also have a booklet that parents can take home to read.

The Juggler
15-07-2011, 09:36 PM
if a child is sitting quietly with their mum and not exploring I'd try to interact with them but if this child is comfy enough to go and explore your toys, I'd let it happen. It shows they feel confident and comfortable already in your home.

All parents will perceive this differently but I think its a good sign.:thumbsup:

16-07-2011, 05:58 AM
I tend to go with the flow depending on the age of the child,, I ususaly have some toys out and show the child and say if you would like to play you can, if its a older child i try and chat to them to find out what they like and if its a baby then I get down on the floor and play whilst chatting to mum or if really little then ask for a cuddle.

christine e
16-07-2011, 06:48 AM
Don't be so hard on yourself. You did what you thought was right at the time - you attempted to interact with the child who was clearly not interested and so you backed off. It is very hard to gauge how to do things with people who you do not know. A few years ago I had a child come for a visit who was very clingy and he came round and ended up sitting on my knee, mum told me that he never did that and seemed really pleased at the time. BUT guess what after saying that she would take the place she later changed her mind and I put it down to jealousy - she really did not like the way he was with me - she liked him being clingy!


16-07-2011, 08:13 AM
I've been extremely lucky as a new childminder. All 4 families who have visited have said at the first meeting they wanted to go ahead and have all come back to sign. I have an ikea mammut round table and I put activities on their for the children and when they arrive, I ask them if they want to do some colouring or puzzles and show them where it all is etc... I then sit on the floor in-between the children and parents chatting whilst my 18 month old flutters from teasing the parents with his little games, and colouring. I can then in-between talking to parents, talk to the children about how they are doing and give them praise and so on. I didn't know where to start really but this seems to work for me. I bought from M&S a fairy activity book and a dinosaur activity book and I photocopy pages for them to do. It covers from 3+ cos there's colouring, puzzles, and little activities and they seem to love it.

16-07-2011, 08:16 AM
as a parent id be really pleased if my lo went off and started playing with the toys, you went over to see if they wanted some interaction, they didnt so you acked off, i think you did great. :D

i ALWAYS get nervous and shy on first meetings and always find first meetings very awkward, dont beat yourself up about it, just do what feels natual. :thumbsup:

16-07-2011, 02:01 PM
I agree with Flowerpots - sounds like you did the right thing. It does feel awkward but as long as you have followed the child's lead which you did then that's great. I always get a few bits out that are age appropriate first so there is something to do.

16-07-2011, 10:23 PM
Thank you for all the kind words and ideas! I feel better about it now and will try to be more confident next time. I will definitely try sitting on the floor while talking to mum so that I can give both the mum and child attention at the same time.

18-07-2011, 10:22 AM
:( It sounds as though you did ok to me ,I havent got that far yet it must be really nerve racking ( almost as bad as Ofsted ).How long have you been registered ? my registration came through in april but nothing much has happened yet . I got an email enquiry via my website on friday evening , replied with more info as requested ,but thats that up to now , i was so excited and scared was still awake at 2 30am .My head was crammed with policies and procedures and double buggies I couldnt get to sleep .
I've had graphics put on the back of the car , put business card in local shops, got the website sorted . Then came up with the idea to make flyers and post them locally through letter boxes . They cost me fortune in ink and printer paper ,took hours to make ,I was really proud of what i'd done ,off i went to deliver them ,Iwas back home within 20 mins after having my hand bitten by someones dog !!!!!!! Still got another 850 left !!!!! Someone MUST contact me soon .I don't know what else to do