Settling in time/sessions
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  1. #1
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    When a new child starts with you and parent asks about settling in sessions with you / settling in time,then do you do this free or charge and for a set length of time to have the child? (perhaps your hourly rate if you charge?) and for how long do you say for the settling in session to last? I have heard some CM's say they offer 2 hours free then anything over is to be payed for, but I have to question why offer for free when you are classed as working? Something that has often pickled me as to what is the right thing to do!
    Last edited by Snowwhite; 31-08-2014 at 10:21 PM.

  2. #2
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    I do 2 sessions of 2 hrs free, further settling in can be arranged at a charge. Why free? I just thought it was something nice to offer, a little sweetener I suppose :-) if you want to charge for your settling in sessions I don't see a problem and don't think parents would either.

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    I offer two 2 hour sessions free.

  4. #4
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    I don't do a set amount of hours or number of settling in sessions as I discuss with parents what they feel will be best for the child, it is for this reason I charge for them.

    I recommend for the first session 1 or 2 hrs depending on the age of the child, if it's a baby who has never been left with anyone I might even just do half hour. I then build it up from there depending on what they started with and how long the day will eventually be.

    As an example I had a baby who hadn't previously settled with another minder so I did 6 sessions building up from half hour to 6hrs, they eventually did 8hr days once started. I also have a 2yr old who did no settling in sessions at all as they had been to 2 minders previously, 1 of which was a good friend of mine so the child had visited for quite a few play dates at mine and we had also met weekly for outings, they very successfully did an 8hr day straight off.

    I recommend settling in sessions to be only 2 or 3 days apart so there isn't too long between.

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    For no charge, I offer 1 or 2 'stay & play' sessions, where mum stays with the child. This is followed by 1-2 settling sessions of 1-2 hours, where mum leaves the child here. They can pay for anything they want over and above those sessions. Well, that's the theory. This summer I've had 4 families doing settling in. They signed contracts well before needing the places and I booked the settling soon after, so they'd stay interested, then found it impossible to stop the settling as it's no use getting a child used to being here then not seeing them for weeks.

    So I've ended up doing a lot of "free work" and can well understand your thinking, Snowwhite.

    I think my main reasons for free settling sessions are:-

    It gets things off nicely with a bit of 'goodwill'. Parents see me as 'caring' rather than after their money - though I'm the first to say the business relationship is just as important as the caring relationship, and this is reflected by how long we spend on the contract, policies, permissions, etc. Anyway, a lot of businesses start with some sort of 'introductory offer' and I guess this is the CM's equivalent.

    It can reduce parental anxiety, and thereby reduce the number of times mum feels the need to call me on her first day back at work after maternity (to, say, a manageable couple of dozen instead of a fretful couple of hundred).

    What I learn from the sessions (about lo and parent) is almost always worth more to me than the cash I could've earned by charging. In extreme circumstances (not yet encountered) I might find that the child who is an absolute darling with her mum turns into the spawn of Satan when left alone, and I can terminate the contract before it starts and before my home is wrecked and other mindees all hospitalised. That knowledge is so useful that I would not risk missing out on it by putting on a charge which might put parents off. Ask yourself: do I want my first experience of this child to be a 10 hour day with minimal prior knowledge of what thy're going to be like?

    IOW I see settling as an investment of my time in order to save time and grief at a later date.

    Something I'm careful about: no settling sessions until the contract is signed; the permissions are in place; and I have banked the deposit and/or initial fee. In our area we have had some parents who regard settling sessions as a way of getting a free babysitting service or as a try-out before they've even decided which setting to use, and they are not at all honest or open about what they're doing.
    Last edited by bunyip; 01-09-2014 at 07:35 AM.

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  7. #6
    Simona Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowwhite View Post
    When a new child starts with you and parent asks about settling in sessions with you / settling in time,then do you do this free or charge and for a set length of time to have the child? (perhaps your hourly rate if you charge?) and for how long do you say for the settling in session to last? I have heard some CM's say they offer 2 hours free then anything over is to be payed for, but I have to question why offer for free when you are classed as working? Something that has often pickled me as to what is the right thing to do!
    I have to admit that I have never heard of settling in being charged to parents? personally I have never charged in 21 years...I don't know of any nursery/preschool who do either

    I also think settling-in depends on the child, the parents and you...what length of time are you happy with to judge a child is really settled and able to be in your care without still being under the separation anxiety phase...this also relates to some mums who can suffer from that

    Settling-in should also start when the parents have agreed your care and terms...you have their signature on your contract so you can have the child on your own after a few sessions with mum or whoever...say if you wanted to take the child to a stay and play as part of the settling-in

    Above all you should also have all forms signed and filed and their deposit...if you charge it and registration fee...at this point if parents change their minds you should be covered by the contract

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  9. #7
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    Bunyip and Simona have summed it up nicely

    I offer 2 x 2 hours free and then a parent can have further settling in at my normal hourly rate. I do this to see if the parent and child fit in., some parents that are first returning to work are very worried about leaving their LO so it is for the parent as much as the child to get used to separation. I can learn about the child more without the parent there as they often behave differently. It gives parents confidence in me.

    I only offer settling after contracts have been signed and deposits taken

  10. #8
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    Thanks all

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    I offer a maximum of 2 one hour sessions for free.

    The first is usually very much for parents' benefit as it's often the first time they have left their child with a stranger. They come in, have a bit of a play with their child, then I send them off for half an hour. While they're gone, I take a photo of their smiling child & text it to them.
    The second visit is usually when I introduce the new child to the others they will be here with.

    If it's a baby, I like to arrange a session to coincide with a feed so I can check they will take a bottle or food from me. If they won't, I'll tell parents how I approached it & whether they do it differently. If it's an older child I make a note of the toy they most enjoy playing with, let parents know what it is so they can talk to the child about it, then I make sure I have that toy out again when they start properly.

    I see the settling in sessions as a two way process - the child gets to know me, my home & the other children and I get to know the child.

    Personally, I don't usually do any more sessions than that. If the child is going to cry, they're going to cry. I'd much rather we all get thrown in at the deep and & battle it out together!

    I don't charge for those sessions as I see it as good practice to offer them, they are to help me as much as to help the parent & child, they're something I request & they're done on my terms and I see it as part of the overall package I offer. My fees include snacks, lunch, a daily diary and 2 free settling in sessions - it's another selling point. If parents wanted more than the 2 free sessions they would have to pay for them.

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  13. #10
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    I'm the same as most 2x2 hours free, then any other at normal hourly rate! I have one lo who is due to start with me in September (mum on mat leave) who has been coming 1 day a week since April (good job I charge)

 

 

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