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  1. #1
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    Default Could have gone better...

    So, I was only registered last week and had my first meeting with a mum and her little girl today. I gave her the option of coming to my home or meeting elsewhere, and she chose a cafe near a few nurseries she was also checking out. As this was the first time meeting with a potential client, I researched like crazy, and decided to take a copy of my policies and procedures, but no other paperwork. I figured we'd use this meeting to see how we get on and talk about about the service I will provide, but I didn't want to bombard her with all my paperwork until she's seen my home and decided to use my services.

    My little girl (just a few months older than her little girl), is usually such a lovely, happy little thing...but all she did the whole time was whinge. The other little girl was very well behaved, and I was a bit worried that my little girl's behavior would put mum off. She asked a few questions, and I gave her answers, then she said she was struggling to think of what else to ask. I asked questions about her daughter, told her a bit about my family, and just generally tried to make a bit of conversation. I also talked about how cms have to work to EYFS same as nurseries, but I couldn't help but think she didn't want to be there and wasn't interested in anything I was saying. After about 15 minutes, she was making a move to go (hadn't even had half of her coffee), so I gave her the copy of my p&ps to take home and that was it.

    Feeling a bit down about it, but hopefully it's all in my head. Oh, another thing that I don't think impressed her much was that 2 different elderly women walked past our table a few minutes apart, and both stopped to have a little chat with my daughter and tell me how lovely she was (she certainly wasn't acting very lovely!), but made no comment about the other little girl. I really hope she doesn't hold that against me, I thought her girl was lovely!

    Does anyone else have any stories like this? Also, is there anything you can recommend I could do differently in future, or anything else I should take with me?

  2. #2
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    Oh dear, isn't that always the way it goes - just when you want the little darlings to be on best behaviour they decide to do the opposite?!

    I wonder if Mum is generally unsure about leaving her child with anyone and that's the vibes you were getting rather than anything particularly to do with you and your little girl? I think part of our job, especially with first time parents (assuming this is the case) is to reassure them that their child will be ok, that it's ok to leave them and also ok (and completely natural) to feel a bit unsure about it.

    Maybe next time you could take some photos of your home and the things that you and your daughter like to do? You could also take along a copy of Development Matters and show the parent to get them on board with it at the start (this was a suggestion Mrs O made at my pre-reg which I thought was a good idea).

  3. #3
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    I would meet in your setting next time as that is part of meeting someone. Put a folder together with information and then you can use this as your prompt to talkabout things ...oh and I always make sure my dd is out of the way!! We all do duff meetings when we first start, use it as a learning process of how to do things differently next time x

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  5. #4
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    Really sorry things didn't go as well as you'd hoped,

    what was your reasoning for meeting somewhere other than you're home? I know some cm's do this but personally I like to have my initial visits within the home so that parents and children can get a feel for the setting. After all, that's what they want to see, I also find it's great to see how the children settle in...

    It might be worth making up a parent pack for your next prospective parent - I find this particularly useful and give the parents a copy to take away with them so they can look at it at their leisure.

    Don't let it get you down though, we all live and learn, dust yourself off and get ready for the next one

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    Why would you meet at a cafe when u offer a service from home ???
    It little one would r a lot better in own environment when meeting strangers and also u want to show of you home and want you provide not sit for tea sorry of sounds harse

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    It wouldn't occur to me to meet anywhere but in my home. IME parents want to see me, Mrs Bunyip and the place where there lo would be cared for. After that, the policies, etc. are all a bit peripheral.

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    I would have thought she would want to see you at home??! Weird!! She won't go and see a nursery in a cafe will she??! :/

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    Thanks for the replies! I would have preferred to meet in my home, but she preferred meeting in the cafe. I figured perhaps she was nervous coming in to a stranger's home, so didn't think anything of it. I thought that we'd meet up, chat a bit and see if we got on, then make arrangements for her to come to my house if she was interested. To be honest, it was a bit of a pain as I don't drive, but I wanted to be flexible.

    I like the idea of a parent pack, and I think a sample menu would have been useful today, so that will go in there.

    I don't have the option of making sure my little girl is not home for meetings, unless it's after 6pm. As this mum was bringing her little one, I thought it would be nice having my daughter around as well, to see how they reacted to each other.

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    Lesson learned. Do not offer an Alternative venue,set the day and time for parent and child to come to you. Have a parent pack ready with all the info they need, get your own lo looked after and have age appropriate toys ready. You live and learn, chalk this one up as a practice and move on.

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    I always meet potential clients in my own home and then maybe if they want to meet up again, may meet up in the park - wouldn't ever meet in a cafe as wouldn't want to give the impression that I sit around and drink coffee all day.

    I don't give the parents a pack of policies to take home (they get a pack to look at and then when they sign up they get a pack e-mailed to them or on a disc) - I do a double A4 leaflet with info about me and my setting - hours, prices, retainers etc

    I always text later thanking them for visiting and telling them to contact me if they have any more questions.

    Good luck with the next phone call and meeting - we all get it wrong sometimes.

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    my dd (then 2) spent the whole of my first meeting jumping on my back and hanging round my neck. I sympathise. Any parent who wants to know you can deal with kids will appreciate how you deal with your own.

    For next time, don't worry about your dd but maybe plan what you will tell them - as parents often forget to ask things. Give them a tour etc. Ask them, would you like to know ....... or how I ....................



    Mind you some parents are just quick and make decisions quickly whether it's yes OR no so you never know - you might get a call. good luck with this and the next meeting
    if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got

  13. #12
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    It could also just have been that they weren't the right family rather than anything you did! Every family that has signed a contract with me, I just knew almost straight away as thy would be easy to chat to, interested in why I was saying and had simulation views on parenting styles etc. Then there have been other families that have made me nervous as hell and I couldn't wait for them to leave! It's all good experience regardless so don't get too wound up on what could have gone wrong. I also always ask for feedback and I'm thankful hen parents are honest.

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    Chin up you live and learn I would agree with the others don't meet at an alternative venue I have done it once and found it quite difficult especially as you will be caring for the child in your own home.

    I would also say when you are at home it gives you a chance to see the child in a more relaxed atmosphere and determine how they will interact with the other children in your care mindees or your own.

    If she doesn't come back to you don't worry about it I have come to the conclusion that choosing a childminder/parent is a very personal thing and you need to be on the same wavelength so I no longer take it personally.

    You never know you might have read it all wrong and she may phone you in a couple of days.

    Good luck.

    Sam x

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    I'm not knocking your decision to meet outside your home just would be really interested to know why you decided to give her the option, I have to say it wouldn't have occurred to me to meet anywhere else but my home.

    To be honest if a potential parent asked to meet elsewhere I would think they were wasting my time, why wouldn't they want to see my home straight away its where their child would be no matter how nice I am, surely the surroundings count as well.

    Or am I out of touch?

  17. #15
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    My posts are being reviewed at the moment, sorry if they seem out of place by the time they get approved.

    When doing some research about meeting parents, I read that some cms meet outside the home first, so I decided to give her the option. The way I see it, I am a bigger selling point than my home. One of the benefits of being a childminder rather than a nursery is that I am the constant. Staff turnover can be high in nurseries and different people looking after the little ones depending on the day, but it will always be me, and I'm still me whether I'm in my home or a cafe. I know my home is important, but didn't think it would hurt to give her the option as it also shows I'm flexible. Obviously once my business is established, things will have to be a bit different, but at the moment I can cater to parents a bit more. She'd be very wrong to think I sit around drinking coffee all day as I never drink coffee.

    I really appreciate all the helpful replies, I will definitely be using some of these ideas! And I get it, a lot of you think I'm an idiot for meeting outside the home. Point taken and lesson learned.

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    Hi April!
    I totally understand you making this offer, as a cm I'm sometimes nervous about inviting a stranger into my home, I always make sure others are aware I have a visit and that I'll call them when we're done! I think too, that as a parent, who may find it hard to meet someone, it would be reassuring to meet first elsewhere. Nurseries are far less personal and much easier to escape from if you hate it!!! And, as you said, if you and the parent aren't the right fit, you still won't be even if you are at home, and if you are then the home visit comes next!

    I give out an A4 leaflet and a business card, everything else is emailed just before contracts are signed. Good luck with the next call.

  19. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by April_C View Post
    My posts are being reviewed at the moment, sorry if they seem out of place by the time they get approved.

    When doing some research about meeting parents, I read that some cms meet outside the home first, so I decided to give her the option. The way I see it, I am a bigger selling point than my home. One of the benefits of being a childminder rather than a nursery is that I am the constant. Staff turnover can be high in nurseries and different people looking after the little ones depending on the day, but it will always be me, and I'm still me whether I'm in my home or a cafe. I know my home is important, but didn't think it would hurt to give her the option as it also shows I'm flexible. Obviously once my business is established, things will have to be a bit different, but at the moment I can cater to parents a bit more. She'd be very wrong to think I sit around drinking coffee all day as I never drink coffee.

    I really appreciate all the helpful replies, I will definitely be using some of these ideas! And I get it, a lot of you think I'm an idiot for meeting outside the home. Point taken and lesson learned.
    Oh honey im sure no one thinks you are a idiot. Its very hard to express emotion while typing.

    The best thing about childminding is you do things your way. If you think a friendly chat somewhere away from the home is the way forward then do it. A lot of us think meeting at the house suits better. There are members who do home visits after the initial meetings to sign contracts.

    Hope your first mindee is signed up soon :-D
    When someone tells you nothing is impossible, tell them to go slam a revolving door

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  21. #18
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    I don't think you are an idiot April C, not at all I was just curious as to why you would meet outside your home.

    I have been doing this so long I imagine I have forgotten it can be a bit intimidating when first starting out and meeting strangers in your home. I hope I didn't offend you it was not intended.

    I think the lady in question had already decided to use a nursery from your post, she seemed very disinterested which is rude I'm not surprised you felt deflated.

    Unfortunately you learn to not take things personally in this job, some parents can be very annoying at best, I'm trying to be polite and always remember you must like them as well as them liking you, its a two way street.

    If she doesn't contact you again, I would consider it a lucky escape and move on to the next, nicer parents, they are out there

    Good luck

  22. #19
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    April, I really don't think you're an idiot, and I'd be surprised and shocked if any member here thought that.

    It simply never occurred to me to do anything but invite people round here. Certainly if a parent proposed meeting in a cafe, I'd be happy to consider it: I'd just never thought of suggesting it.

    It really is refreshing to hear from a CM who has different ways of doing things , and that's one thing that's great about the Forum.

    In fact, I find it quite sad that 95% of CMs (certainly round here) want to be the same and do exactly the same things. When I was introduced to my local CM group, I was told "we all charge £x-amount per hour; we've sorted out who does which school; nobody works bank holidays" etc. etc. - and I thought "how crazy" and I just knew we probably weren't going to get along. I'm always getting told off by my DO for "not fitting in" but I don't care - I'm self-employed. I didn't become a CM so I could copy all the other 'clones'.

  23. #20
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    Ha, sorry, I didn't realize my wording made it sound like I felt I was being attacked. I definitely got the feeling some people thought it was strange I gave the option, but I came on here for opinions and suggestions and am happy to accept all views. I thought I was portraying a bit of light hearted sarcasm.

    I do think I would prefer to meet in my home in future, simply because there are things to keep the little ones occupied. I may offer to meet at the park (2minutes walk from my door) if I feel uncomfortable, or if I think the parent may feel uncomfortable for any reason. I think that would be a good alternative as we can have a quick chat and easily move to my home if it's going well...or say a quick 'buh-bye' if it's obvious we're not a match.

    Again, I thank you all for your help!

 

 
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