Many of our readers will be familiar with the acronym TMI, which stands for “too much information!” and is usually used when someone is telling us way more than we need to know about a personal or sensitive topic.
When it comes to children newly enrolled in a childcare program, however, there is no such thing as TMI!
While parents sometimes feel like they are sharing too much information about how their child sleeps, eats, and behaves, all of these “tips and tricks” are invaluable to educators, offering the next best thing to an instruction manual of preferences and personality quirks.
Armed with information, educators are much more likely to settle children into care, and help them to be happy and safe.
Once a family has made the decision to enrol in care, the transition process begins, and often involves two or more short visits to the service, which allow the child to get a feel for the space, and gives the parents the opportunity to ask any questions they may have of the team.
During transition visits, parents often spend time with the child in the room, observing the educators and the rhythm of the day.
The transition process is also the time when educators can get to know the child’s individual routines, and learn a little more about them.
Questions such as “how does X like to go to sleep?” or “what sort of games do you like to play at home?” show parents that educators care about them and their child, but also help educators to work with already established behaviours and routines, maintaining consistency between home and care.
While specifics are recorded as part of the child’s enrolment paperwork, transition visits are an opportunity for parents to discuss things such as sleep, bottles, food and the kinds of activities their child likes.
These visits also allow educators to get a glimpse into how children may respond once they are enrolled in care permanently. Asking parents to step out of the room for five minutes gives educators the opportunity to observe how the child will manage the transition away from their parent, and to plan accordingly.
While making the decision to allow someone outside of the child’s family to care for them is a monumental step for many parents, relationships are quickly established, allowing children to thrive in care.
For more information about managing new enrolments, from an educator perspective, please see the further resources below.