I have a very individual approach to settling in new children and see 'settling in' the parents to be just as important. If Mum is stressed and unhappy it rubs off on the child! From the moment parents first visit my setting I am trying to reassure them of my credentials, which include being a mother of three children – I’ve been there myself and can empathise with their situation.
The settling-in process begins with inviting Mum and/or Dad to come in to go through paperwork. I use this as an opportunity to get to know the child and their family by trying to find out plenty of relevant information about the child's likes and dislikes whilst they play with the reassurance of their primary carer close by.
At this meeting I also give the parents an 'All about me' form to take home. This asks for information about the child's routines, special people, favourite things – all this information helps me to plan for the child's arrival.
We also book settling in visits in the diary. These visits are complimentary and each child can have as many or as few as they need. If parents want to stay for some visits they can, alternatively I am happy for the child to be left here from the first short visit. At all times I am liaising with parents about the number, frequency and length of the visits necessary for their child.
When the new little one starts we do our best to work around their individual routine as possible - it's one of the many benefits of being a small, independent setting! This means that we work with their current nap and meal times to ensure as smooth a transition as possible. We keep parents thoroughly updated on how their child’s day is going, either by sending photos and observations via the online learning journal we use, and also using the child’s Daily Diary which includes information about food, nappies, sleep and a written summary of the day.