Are you ready to conduct a tour and interview to accept your first child? Your first interaction with a parent(s) will probably be by phone. Ensure you are prepared with a notepad to take notes when a potential parent(s) calls to ask about your childcare program. Have the rates and benefits of your program written down and be prepared to let parent(s) know why they should choose your program over your competitor’s program. After the initial phone call, schedule a day and time to meet with them to conduct an interview and tour and prepare your tour checklist.
Conducting an interview and tour with a parent(s) who’s interested in your service is an excellent opportunity to make a great first impression. During this time, it is important to know what works best for you to ensure their child is a good fit for your program. For example, how many hours you want to work in a day, paid vacation or sick days, the age you want to care for, etc. Once you figure out what will work best for you, include this in your parent and provider contract. Before the interview and tour, there are five key factors to consider. These factors include time, the setting, tour, questions, and enrollment.
It is important to schedule the interview and tour during a time that makes sense. If you have children enrolled in your program, when conducting an interview and tour, it is recommended to do it before or after working hours or on the weekend. You can easily get distracted if you have children enrolled in your program during the interview and tour. During this time, you want to ensure you give potential parent(s) your full attention because we all know how children love to entertain new faces, and you know what I mean, lol! In addition, children need your full attention too. We all know how quickly an accident can occur.
The setting includes the inside and outside of your home. Ensure your front and back yard is appealing to potential parents because this will be the parent(s) first impression of your childcare program. Clean up any debris, cut the grass, and put a welcome mat on your front porch with colors in it or with ABCs, 123s, or even shapes on it. Once they enter your home, it should be welcoming and kid-friendly.
Once the interview and tour are scheduled, always inform a trusted neighbor or significant other. You always want to ensure your safety and the safety of the children in your care. Although the person you are talking to over the phone is a potential parent, they are also stranger, and you never know who you’re dealing with. During the initial tour, you want to show parents each area used for the childcare program and inform them what it is used for. Some areas include eating, napping, reading, activities, free play, etc. After the first visit, you can allow parents to schedule a second visit to see kids interact and require them to bring their child too.
After the tour, sit with the parent(s) for the initial interview. During this time, ensure to go over the parent and provider agreement, the daily routine, and the curriculum, payment options, and most importantly, ask the parent(s) do they have any questions. In addition, you should have a list of questions to ask the parent(s). Some questions to ask include:
- What are you looking for in a program for your child?
- What has been your experience with your last childcare programs?
- Do you have any questions or concerns about the parent and provider agreement?
You did it! You have completed a tour and interview. The last thing to consider is having an enrollment package ready for the parent to complete in the in the event they decide to enroll their child and a checklist of other documentation needed once the child is enrolled. Documentation can include immunizations, birth certificate, a form of Identification from parent, etc.
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