Flexible ways of settling in - Seedlings Childminding

Kelly from Seedlings Childminding in Bridgend talks about how she has managed her latest new starters in her setting and how this has impacted her business.

I've welcomed three new families over the past few weeks, two have started immediately and one is due to start in September.

I have met the families in the garden and the parent(s) have been happy to chat and look through paperwork while I play with the children. I have also taken photos of the inside of the house and shown them these on my phone (I didn't want to send them any sort of video as I was conscious of security issues with a video of the layout of my house in circulation). Parents were happy with this and the photos gave them an idea of space available and how toys and activities are laid out.

All in all, I think that it has gone well and has not been detrimental to my business at all. I can sometimes get a bit nervous when people visit my house as I feel it is being judged on decoration, furnishings etc. so I’ve found that I was actually a bit more relaxed meeting in the garden. The only drawback I’ve found is that I can't offer them tea or coffee on their visit, but one Mum even thought to bring her own!

In regards to the children, so far they have settled well. As we are spending most of our time in the garden anyway, I don’t think it has affected settling in because they are already familiar with the outdoor set up. When they arrive on the first day I have given the older children a tour of the house so they know where important things like the bathroom is, and they seem confident in using the facilities and helping themselves to toys. 

One thing I would recommend to others is going paperless and using something like Kinderly. In a bid to have less physical contact with parents I have started using this and it has been invaluable. All contracts are now done online and I email all policies etc. over to the parents before their visit which has given more time to chat about the children instead of going through policy files and contracts. It has also meant parents have had time to think of any questions. This has been particularly helpful when it has rained, as even though I put up a gazebo, it meant we didn't have to worry about paperwork getting wet.

I have been lucky that we have only had showers on visits, but my back up plan was a cafe just up the road which has a covered outdoor seating area. This would have been more difficult for the children I think as they wouldn't have had the playtime with me which I think is invaluable in helping them to settle. It would also have created issues around confidentiality if other customers were using the seating area. Luckily I haven’t had to resort to this yet.

Resources from PACEY

Free transitions training
Looking for accessible, interactive, bitesize training to support transitions and settling in? Then log in to EY Smart where we have a whole series of short courses aimed at supporting children and their parents through the hellos, the goodbyes, and some of the other challenges we all face when things change.

Top 10 Tips
If you’re looking for practical solutions to help make your settling-in process Covid compliant, then check out this list of clever ideas, all suggested by working early years practitioners, that you can implement in your setting.