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Entries in activities (1)



Large Information Technology organizations have a formalized process for “turnover” between shifts.  In the turnover meeting, taking anywhere from five to fifteen minutes, the prior shift is covered along with anything of note for the incoming shift.  “Shift Notes” are normally provided by the outgoing shift.  This is one of the ways operational organizations operate seamlessly 24x7.

In spending time with a professional person, her phone kept ringing with calls from the caregiver asking basic questions.  I shared this with a Grandmother and fellow Information Technology professional, and we were struck by how a similar turnover discussion could help prevent these calls. 

When babysitting, I want to know the key things for each child:

  • Feeding directions (meals, snacks, frequency)
  • Allergies and medications
  • Activities (especially if the child needs to get to an event.)
  • Favorite toys/games/books
  • Sleeping schedule & preferences (light on/off, etc.)
  • Insurance information (just in case)
  • How to reach mom/dad; where are the parents going?

This can be maintained on a document, and updated/printed each time.  It also provides the beginning of a checklist if put into a matrix with times.  Some parents may want to laminate the list, and fill in the variable information with an erasable marker.

My IT friend also pointed out it’s important to know anything you should not do.  She told a story of taking a child out for ice cream and capturing the messy moments digitally.  The parents were upset.  It had nothing to do with concerns on the food product; the parents were disappointed they didn’t do the first ice cream.

It’s important to be overly clear for activities:

  • The time something starts is not necessarily when they need to be there.  Or, when they should be picked up is not necessarily when it ends.
  • Give the address in addition to the name of the place!   Plus, provide an estimate on how long it normally takes to get there!
  • Make sure it is clear how to dress.  It not about a fashion statement; it’s about those things needed for different activities.  My friend shared, “My first trip to a hockey rink, I had no idea how to dress my grandson and royally messed it up! He ended up crying and we left the place without him skating at all.  Don’t assume the ‘caregiver’ is an expert in any of these things.” 
  • Fees – make it clear if entrance fees are charged and do any “traditions” need to be continued.  My friend continued, “First time to a swim meet, I had no idea how much the entrance fee was going to be or that I should buy (and keep for posterity) the heat sheet. It’s the only heat sheet he doesn’t have…”

Turnover is also important when returning the child.  The parents want to know of any issues while away, and have a sense of what to expect being back.  If after a couple hour night out, this can be a conversation using the turnover notes as a prompter.  If longer (a weekend or more) another turnover document can be prepared (including any school notes or assignments.)

A little structure can provide seamless child rearing 24x7!