Partnership with parents
Parents and primary carers are the most important people in every child??™s life. These are the people who children will learn from their values, culture and religious beliefs and they will influence most a child??™s attitude and development. These are the people who a child feels most secure with and who know the child best. In fact current legislation such as the Children Act 1989 gives parents definite rights when it comes to their child, e.g. choosing the school their child to go to, the right of information about their child??™s progress, physical state, etc. In this respect it is very important for me as a childminder to establish good relationship with parents. Working in partnership with parents and primary carers will enable me to provide the best care for their child. Having good relationship with the child??™s parents or carers will enable the exchange of information to be easier and more relaxed and over time I will gain their trust and will make them feel confidant. This can in turn make the separation for the child from their parent to a new carer within the setting much easier and being able to share as much information as possible with the parents will enable to meet the child??™s needs much more easily. This will also make the time when I meet with the parents and spend with their child enjoyable for me.
The first impression is always very important for setting up and maintaining a relationship. That??™s why when I first meet with a child and their parents I have to be professional and welcoming. It is good to show them the setting and the documents I have such as certificates, registration and insurance documents and to introduce them to the other children in my care and parents if present and also to other people that live in my house. I will ask the parents and the child where appropriate about the child??™s likes and dislikes and the activities they like to engage in.
Like any other relationship the one I have with the parents have to be developed and maintained in a way which is beneficial for both parties. This can be achieved by communication and sharing of information. Communication is very important and is has to be effective so any misunderstandings and misinformation to be prevented. The ways I communicate with parents can be different such as verbal (face to face, over the phone), electronic (e-mails, text messages) or written (diaries, notes given to the parents when the child is collected). The way of communication is individual and has to be agreed with the parents depending on what is most convenient and preferable for both parties. Exchanging information is essential for having a good and strong relationship with parents. On one side this enables me to provide the best care for the child by making myself familiar with the child??™s likes and dislikes, interests, preferences, needs, disabilities, religious beliefs, dietary requirements, culture, etc. and by being kept up to date with the child??™s progress when not in my care. On the other side keeps the parents informed of their child??™s achievements and well-being. The daily exchange of information like the communication can be verbal, electronical, written or in any other appropriate format which has been previously agreed. However if there is something serious to discuss such an issue or concern I think is more appropriate for this to be done face to face allowing enough time to talk about it.
Respecting and valuing each child and their families is another very important
aspect of my relationship with them. We live in a diverse society where people have different cultural and religious beliefs, background, physical and mental ability and have been brought up differently. That??™s why I have to consider individual??™s perceptions and respect them and to be non-judgmental. Respecting and valuing each child and their families will enhance their self-esteem, will make them feel confident and happy and will strengthen our relationship. And finally I cannot expect people to respect me if I don??™t show them the same in return. If there is a difference between my values and practice and the ones of the child??™s family and especially if I feel these can affect the other children in my care I will discuss such with the family and if necessary negotiate and compromise where appropriate.
When caring for children it is very important to set routines in order to make my work easier and to enable myself to meet the individual??™s needs. Routines will also help children feel secure and develop physically well and emotionally stable and are important for setting up good standards of personal hygiene. Routines help children learn to look after themselves and become independent.
The routines I establish will depend on:
* The age of the children I look after
* The number of the children I look after
* The needs of the children
* The needs of the family
* The needs of my family
* Personal likes and dislikes
I will try not to change my routines often unless necessary and appropriate as this will make the children confused and might affect their emotional development and/or behavior.
Routines will be discussed and agreed with parents and children if appropriate prior to being established. I will take into consideration children??™s and parents??™ wishes and preferences, the methods and practices which are appropriate for their lifestyle, religion, culture, traditions and beliefs and will try to fit these where and if appropriate in order to meet the needs of both child and the family. However as I will be looking after other children with possibly different background and with different requirements it might not always be possible to comply with one??™s request and in such cases negotiation and compromise might be needed.
I understand that every child is different and unique with their own personality, likes and dislikes, abilities, preferences. All children will be provided the same opportunities and will be treated equally, but not the same. In this order I will encourage them to participate in the routines agreed with their parents but will not force them to fit into the same model, e.g. at meal time I will invite all children to join but if a child is not feeling hungry at the time they can have their meal on request or if they don??™t like the meal the other children are having they will be provided different food. Giving the child choice and taking into account their preferences will make them feel respected as an individual.
As children develop and grow their needs change as they gain more independence, so I will have to change and adapt my routines to their changed needs. There will be times when older children will require privacy, will want to do things for themselves instead of letting me do it for them, will want to help me with a task such as the care of younger children or preparing food. This should be encouraged as it is part of the individual??™s progress. Changing the routines according to the child??™s changing needs will make the child feel respected, valued and welcomed, will show them that their opinion and wishes are considered and they are treated as an individual and not as part of a group.