If you are a family child care (in-home daycare) provider, you are most likely all too familiar with the pressures felt when it comes to being prepared for and receiving visits from licensors, food program representatives, coaches, and other people involved in the operation and regulation of your business. Recently, the authors of Family Child Care Guide to Visits, Inspections, and Interviews, Sharon Woodward and Donna C. Hurley, hosted a special training event at our offices that touched on this very topic. Sharon and Donna have collectively worked in the early childhood education field for more than eighty years. Their backgrounds included experiences as child care providers, licensors, child care administrators, and trainers.
In their presentation, Sharon and Donna acknowledged the many concerns and stressors that can arise when a visitor—scheduled or unscheduled—shows up on your doorstep. They provided a slew of ideas and strategies that can help you be more successfully prepared for, present during, and productive after visits. Sharon and Donna were kind enough to share part of their presentation in this special guest blog post.
There is a certain amount of effort and planning that is required for successful visits. While you may not always know when a visit will occur—and you might not be able to control the circumstances of a visit—you can adequately anticipate a home visit by maintaining a welcoming, child-appropriate environment; making sure your appearance is professional; uphold all regulatory compliances; and keeping organized paperwork. Part of your preparation should also include having a “visit plan” for the children in your care.
Creating a plan and practicing what children can and should do during a home visit is a great way to make sure children are safe and comfortable when you are unable to give them your undivided attention. When children know what to expect when a visitor arrives, it allows you to be more present with your visitor so that you can establish a more polished, professional connection, ask important questions, and take notes as needed.
Create a visit plan by:
- Talking to the children in your care. Tell them about the possibility that visits from licensors, food program monitors, and health and safety inspectors might occur.
- Assembling a visit box. Help the children decorate a special box that will hold a few special items (books, puzzles, stacking toys, etc.) that can only be accessed when a home visit happens.
- Taking special supervision precautions for younger children.
- Practicing. Young children learn through repetitive activity. Practice so that they become familiar with what might happen and so that they understand your expectations during visits.
- Staying calm. Even the youngest child is sensitive to tension. Try to remain at ease during the visit, because children can pick up and react to visible stress.
Do you want to know more about being surviving visits, inspections, and interviews? Family Child Care Guide to Visits, Inspections, and Interviews is filled with everything you need to successfully prepare for and host visits. You can also contact Sharon Woodward and Donna C. Hurly through their website, S&D Instructional Services, through which they offer many training and skill-building resources.
Tell Us: What do you do to be prepared for visits?