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Old 12-13-2013, 06:04 AM
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Default Do You Allow Observations From Potential Clients...

Okay, so this one is new to me. I have a lady who was personally referred to me a year ago from my mother-in-law (they used to work together). She called and inquired but I did not have an opening. She recently called again several weeks ago and was referred again from one of my past clients (no correlation to the first referral). So this lady has had 2 separate personal referrals from 2 people who do not know one another. I currently have a waiting list, but she wants to come for a tour and get on the list. I set an appointment with her and she said her mom would be coming along because she is a single parent and her mom is really involved. Then she asked if her mom could come "observe" during business hours?? I have had a parent or grandparent bring their child for circle time to see how they do with the other kids, but I have never had a parent just come to observe. Do you allow this? I also feel like she already has 2 personal referrals and she still feel the need to come observe? Plus the kid is 4 years old. Its not like she is 2.
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Old 12-13-2013, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by originalkat View Post
Okay, so this one is new to me. I have a lady who was personally referred to me a year ago from my mother-in-law (they used to work together). She called and inquired but I did not have an opening. She recently called again several weeks ago and was referred again from one of my past clients (no correlation to the first referral). So this lady has had 2 separate personal referrals from 2 people who do not know one another. I currently have a waiting list, but she wants to come for a tour and get on the list. I set an appointment with her and she said her mom would be coming along because she is a single parent and her mom is really involved. Then she asked if her mom could come "observe" during business hours?? I have had a parent or grandparent bring their child for circle time to see how they do with the other kids, but I have never had a parent just come to observe. Do you allow this? I also feel like she already has 2 personal referrals and she still feel the need to come observe? Plus the kid is 4 years old. Its not like she is 2.
I do allow observations *after* they have come for the initial interview and I've gotten comfortable with them. I let them know what time they will be able to come (you can come Wednesday from 10:30-11:00) I let them know I have ONE observation and if they nc/ns or cancel it will not be rescheduled. Essentially I take charge so they know this isn't just a "one-way" interview.
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Old 12-13-2013, 06:12 AM
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I like to have the first meeting after hours, so that we can discuss things without distractions, after all the paperwork is done I do encourage parents to show up unannounced during daycare hours (not at nap time) to meet the group, and see how we do things
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Old 12-13-2013, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by originalkat View Post
Okay, so this one is new to me. I have a lady who was personally referred to me a year ago from my mother-in-law (they used to work together). She called and inquired but I did not have an opening. She recently called again several weeks ago and was referred again from one of my past clients (no correlation to the first referral). So this lady has had 2 separate personal referrals from 2 people who do not know one another. I currently have a waiting list, but she wants to come for a tour and get on the list. I set an appointment with her and she said her mom would be coming along because she is a single parent and her mom is really involved. Then she asked if her mom could come "observe" during business hours?? I have had a parent or grandparent bring their child for circle time to see how they do with the other kids, but I have never had a parent just come to observe. Do you allow this? I also feel like she already has 2 personal referrals and she still feel the need to come observe? Plus the kid is 4 years old. Its not like she is 2.
I have this line on standby for potentials who want to observe:

"While I understand that you would want to "see me in action" before leaving your child for the first time, I cannot allow it for several reasons.

First is the privacy of the other children and their family's. I do diaper changes, deal with medical issues/conditions, and discuss their home life with them on a daily basis. I have a strict privacy policy and having another adult around violates the trust between my clients and myself.

Second, you are a stranger to the children and their parents. Please consider how you would feel if your child were in care and I allowed a strange adult to the daycare to observe your child.

Third, I consider the trust my clients place in me the cornerstone of our relationship. In a childcare relationship I am asking that a client trust me completely with their child. I ask for honesty and open communication. Asking me to prove myself above and beyond my criminal background check, photo identification, insurance information, and references is not something I am willing to do.

I do understand if you need to find other arrangements. Just know that I value the children's safety and security above all else and allowing adults in to observe them is not part of the safe and secure environment I promise them each and every day."
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Old 12-13-2013, 06:29 AM
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No, I don't. They come by for the interview and have a look around but other than that, all I can do for them is a trial period.
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Old 12-13-2013, 06:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by originalkat View Post
Okay, so this one is new to me. I have a lady who was personally referred to me a year ago from my mother-in-law (they used to work together). She called and inquired but I did not have an opening. She recently called again several weeks ago and was referred again from one of my past clients (no correlation to the first referral). So this lady has had 2 separate personal referrals from 2 people who do not know one another. I currently have a waiting list, but she wants to come for a tour and get on the list. I set an appointment with her and she said her mom would be coming along because she is a single parent and her mom is really involved. Then she asked if her mom could come "observe" during business hours?? I have had a parent or grandparent bring their child for circle time to see how they do with the other kids, but I have never had a parent just come to observe. Do you allow this? I also feel like she already has 2 personal referrals and she still feel the need to come observe? Plus the kid is 4 years old. Its not like she is 2.
I do allow parents to come and *play* with us during business hours. I normally offer them a cup of coffee and have them interact with all of us. They need to bring potential DCK with them.

I tend to include them in our day. I hand them papers to pass out to the kids, make them sit at circle time with us and sing. If they are here during snack time I have them pass out the lunch boxes and help open juice boxes, ect.

I can't stand someone just standing behind me watching everything I do but I am always up for an extra set of hands!
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Old 12-13-2013, 06:51 AM
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I'm in the camp of allowing a very brief visit during daycare hours AFTER an initial interview/tour outside of daycare hours. And then only if I think the family is a good fit.

I've offered this, but no one has ever taken me up on it.

In fact, since I opened in September, I've enrolled three dcks, and no one has even asked for references. I find that odd, but I guess they place a lot of faith in the licensing, background check, and fingerprinting.
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Soccermom View Post
I do allow parents to come and *play* with us during business hours. I normally offer them a cup of coffee and have them interact with all of us. They need to bring potential DCK with them.

I tend to include them in our day. I hand them papers to pass out to the kids, make them sit at circle time with us and sing. If they are here during snack time I have them pass out the lunch boxes and help open juice boxes, ect.

I can't stand someone just standing behind me watching everything I do but I am always up for an extra set of hands!

Yes, this is sort of how I am going to phrase it when they come for a tour. You may come with your child for circle time and an art activity from 8:30-9:00.
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:44 AM
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I probably wouldn't let a parent come in and just observe not because I have anything to hide but because kids don't act the same with their parents around. I have some that suddenly become 3 and 4 year old infants the second their parents walk into the room. Plus, like others said, this parent is essentially a stranger to me at the time they are interviewing and I wouldn't feel comfortable just letting them interact with other people's kids.
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:50 AM
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No, I don't.

I do let parents come in for an interview during daycare hours as my dh is here to take over if need be. Other than the time for the interview, no I don't want extra people here. I have nothing to hide, but my one dcg is very needy and really acts up, having to be in the middle of EVERYTHING.
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by originalkat View Post
I have had a parent or grandparent bring their child for circle time to see how they do with the other kids, but I have never had a parent just come to observe.
But technically this IS an observation. if you already allow a parent/grandparent to come during circle time then they can use that time to observe.

"Sure, just give her my contact information and we can schedule a day where both she and DCK can come during circle time. Circle time is between Xam and Xam"

If that time does not work for them you can just say ...
"Oh that's too bad. My day is pretty busy and from experience scheduling an observation at any other time is just to hectic and disruptful. I allow observations during circle time only because it's one of the most calmest times of the days and it's less disrupful for the group. Let me know if you change your mind about grandma coming by during circle time"

It's a nice way of saying "take it or leave it".
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Old 12-13-2013, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by MarinaVanessa View Post
But technically this IS an observation. if you already allow a parent/grandparent to come during circle time then they can use that time to observe.

"Sure, just give her my contact information and we can schedule a day where both she and DCK can come during circle time. Circle time is between Xam and Xam"

If that time does not work for them you can just say ...
"Oh that's too bad. My day is pretty busy and from experience scheduling an observation at any other time is just to hectic and disruptful. I allow observations during circle time only because it's one of the most calmest times of the days and it's less disrupful for the group. Let me know if you change your mind about grandma coming by during circle time"

It's a nice way of saying "take it or leave it".
Love it! This is perfect. I will use this when they come to tour if they inquire further about the observation time. Thanks!
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Old 12-13-2013, 09:49 AM
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I feel an observation, especially for a 4yr old, is over kill. I allow interviews during business hours and have a small crew currently so circle time would be more like triangle time Haha! Anyway, I offer a list of references and a trial period as well so if they had 2 seperate referrals and a wait list that may never be open until child is in school, why would they waste their time? Why waste your time? If the child was potentially starting in Jan FT and you wanted to allow for circle time visitors with the boy and Gma that would be one thing but this seems like too much work for nothing.
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Old 12-13-2013, 10:25 AM
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I agree with TwinKristi. I think observation for someone on a waiting list is a waste of time. I do interviews only when I have an opening and then I have a short playdate for mom and kid or a couple of half days for the kid IF they have already signed the contract and are beginning the trial period. For someone on the waiting list, I would send them a copy of my parent contract and if their needs are something I can met if a spot opens up, THEN they are put on the waiting list and IF a spot comes up and I contact them and they want the spot THEN I do an in person interview, etc. for the above. For me, it is a huge waste of time to do interviews and observations constantly, especially for a grandma that is not even the custodial parent.
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Old 12-13-2013, 11:06 AM
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I agree with TwinKristi. I think observation for someone on a waiting list is a waste of time. I do interviews only when I have an opening and then I have a short playdate for mom and kid or a couple of half days for the kid IF they have already signed the contract and are beginning the trial period. For someone on the waiting list, I would send them a copy of my parent contract and if their needs are something I can met if a spot opens up, THEN they are put on the waiting list and IF a spot comes up and I contact them and they want the spot THEN I do an in person interview, etc. for the above. For me, it is a huge waste of time to do interviews and observations constantly, especially for a grandma that is not even the custodial parent.
This is a good point, I forgot this was a waiting list situation. I've not gotten to this point in my business, but I think this is how I would handle it, keeping a waiting list of people who would like to come for an interview/tour/visit when there is an opening, or about to be one.
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Soccermom View Post
I do allow parents to come and *play* with us during business hours. I normally offer them a cup of coffee and have them interact with all of us. They need to bring potential DCK with them.

I tend to include them in our day. I hand them papers to pass out to the kids, make them sit at circle time with us and sing. If they are here during snack time I have them pass out the lunch boxes and help open juice boxes, ect.

I can't stand someone just standing behind me watching everything I do but I am always up for an extra set of hands!
I would be scared to death to have a complete stranger sit that close to my daycare kids. The liability would be waaay too much.

And my food program and licensing would have a fit if I allowed someone without clearance and a current food handlers permit to pass out food. Hepatitis anyone?
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:20 PM
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I did interviews during business hours and had parents bring their child for a short playdate during daycare hours if they requested it but only if I had an opening and was actually looking to fill it. I would not even do an interview if I was not filling an opening. I wouldn't want to go through the nervousness (I am a worry wart...lol) and all the deep cleaning I think I need to do before an interview for a family who will probably find someone else before I have an opening,
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:24 PM
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first interview is after hours, I see if we are a fit. If so, I invite them to come view our circle time for about 20-30 minutes. After that no more.
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:36 PM
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first interview is after hours, I see if we are a fit. If so, I invite them to come view our circle time for about 20-30 minutes. After that no more.
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:47 PM
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No

I interview at 430 pm when I have at least one kid in the house. I do three interviews. By the time the child starts the family has been in my home about five hours. I don't believe it is necessary to do more than that.

I also don't believe that the average parent has the ability to assess a well running child care. I buy plane tickets but I am not able to assess whether a plane is safe or not. I don't think there is much value in observation. I think parents are more interested in the experience of seeing the other kids and getting a glimpse of how you do something they can't dream of being able to do (manage multiple kids with theirs).

I definitely see why they want to but it is too much for me.
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Old 12-14-2013, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
I have this line on standby for potentials who want to observe:

"While I understand that you would want to "see me in action" before leaving your child for the first time, I cannot allow it for several reasons.

First is the privacy of the other children and their family's. I do diaper changes, deal with medical issues/conditions, and discuss their home life with them on a daily basis. I have a strict privacy policy and having another adult around violates the trust between my clients and myself.

Second, you are a stranger to the children and their parents. Please consider how you would feel if your child were in care and I allowed a strange adult to the daycare to observe your child.

Third, I consider the trust my clients place in me the cornerstone of our relationship. In a childcare relationship I am asking that a client trust me completely with their child. I ask for honesty and open communication. Asking me to prove myself above and beyond my criminal background check, photo identification, insurance information, and references is not something I am willing to do.

I do understand if you need to find other arrangements. Just know that I value the children's safety and security above all else and allowing adults in to observe them is not part of the safe and secure environment I promise them each and every day."


I would also add that (depending on state) licensing will not allow it because any adult that is there for more than a certain amount of time (even if their child is enrolled) must have a background check/finger prints and a TB test (some states require a TB test).

But in the future maybe consider making a promotional video to show to potential clients where you record your average day and some interactions with the children (like circle time, reading with them, or helping them wash their hands). But of course I would make sure you have all the parents permission and let them know that this will never go on the internet, no copies will be distributed to strangers, and is only for personal use at your home/daycare for the purpose of showing potential clients and that you will show them the final product before using it in an interview. Probably also look into blurring out the children's faces if they do not give permission or if that is their preference.
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