Home child care providers usually have some type of daily communication with parents. The format of that daily communication varies greatly though. Some prefer to just give or receive a verbal update at drop off and pick up times, some use a written daily journal in a notebook, others send a quick email off in the evening to parents to let them know how the day went and some send a daily or weekly summary. At a recent training experience I attended, the group of 25 child care providers shared their thoughts on how they communicate and the opinions varied greatly.
I have been the mom dropping off my child in a home child care. The first day care my daughter was in we used a daily written journal, where the care provider wrote in just the basics of day -what she ate, when she slept, her general health and mood. First thing in the morning I would write in it to say how long she slept, if she’d eaten and if there was anything out of the ordinary. The second care provider my daughter went to communicated with a daily email to keep us in the loop of how our daughter’s day was going. Once or twice a week she would attach a couple pictures too. Oh how I lived to get these emails! It was the highlight of my day. To feel like I knew what was going on in her day, and to hear if things weren’t going well was such peace of mind. I could call or email back to offer suggestions or reasons why things may be going the way they were which made me feel like I could still contribute to her well-being and helped out the care provider. Then, to see a smile or see her happily engaged in an activity with some peers was so comforting. She was ok. I was ok.
When I started my own home child care just over a year ago I wanted to give parents that same peace of mind. I started to send a daily email giving a brief description of what their child did that morning, what they ate, how their general health and overall mood was, and what time they fell asleep for their nap. I also included anywhere from 2-4 pictures of their child engaged in play. They LOVED it!
My only problem was that at times I couldn’t attach the pictures, or my computer would freeze and I would have to send things all over again. It started to become very time consuming. I was writing these as the children slept. When you have 5 children and 5 families to connect with, it was taking anywhere from 45 mins to sometimes an hour and 15 mins if I was having technical difficulties. By the time I was done the children were ready to get up and I hadn’t felt like I had any time to myself to catch my breath.
Then, a friend of mine introduced me to Kinderloop. I was instantly excited about having a secure, easy-to-use, professional way to communicate with parents. As an independent home child care provider it is important that I demonstrate to parents that I am a passionate, professional and dedicated child care provider who values an open relationship. Kinderloop has provided me with a safe and secure way to continue to include parents and extended family and friends in their child’s day, and it is easy and fast to use.
It is also important that I show to parents that the activities and daily routines that I plan for the children are purposeful and meet developmental goals for each child. That their children’s development in their social, emotional, physical, cognitive, communication, language and literacy domains is being fostered and scaffolded in each of their daily experiences. Kinderloop provides me with the option of applying tags to each of my posts which highlight which developmental domain or learning skill is being worked on in the picture it is attached to. This then provides me with the opportunity to search for pictures and posts depicting all the experiences their children had in a particular area, highlighting how they have developed over a particular time frame.
This is what every centre based and home child care is required demonstrate. How amazing that I can do it all at once, saving me amazing amounts of programming time!
Currently Kinderloop has a fabulous App for Iphone or Ipad users. I am a BlackBerry user and I take pictures either with my phone or camera, download them to my laptop and send the daily Kinderloop posts as the children sleep each day. Even though this seems time consuming, using Kinderloop has cut down on the time I spend communicating with parents each day to anywhere from 25-45 mins. This to me is a much better use of my personal time and I anxiously await the release of the app for android users like me!!
Parents are increasingly busy and their time is precious. Many prefer to communicate through email or text message anyway, and have a mobile device or computer with them at all times. So this quick, immediate and inclusive method of communication and documentation works well for everyone. They do say a picture is worth a thousand words right?!
Sandra Zito RECE