I really like the idea of Home Visits. We can all list the problems associated with this practice (time, travel, unknown neighborhoods, safety, time, time, time), however, the benefits far outweigh the trouble.
The most important thing to remember when conducting a home visit is to help the family feel comfortable with you being there. Often, parents are concerned that they might be judged by what you see or what you don’t see when you get to their homes. You can work to see that this doesn’t happen by informing the families up front, about why you are visiting and what you expect to get out of the experience.
Be sure to tell the parents that the visit will be short and they don’t need to go out of their way to do anything special. You can also reassure them that the main purpose of the visit is to give the child an opportunity to meet you in a safe and familiar environment and to begin building a trusting relationship with you. Once you arrive, you can reassure them that the visit will be short and then focus in on the child. Some children will want to show you something special. This may be their bedroom or their favorite stuffed animal, but not all children have their own separate bedroom or their own stuffed animals. Therefore, it is best to keep your questions open-ended. Rather than asking the child to see his/her room, ask the child if s/he wants to show you something special or you could bring one of your own favorite children’s books and you could offer to read it to the child.
Sometimes parents will prepare something for you to eat or drink. Remember, that the offer of refreshment at many people’s homes is a sign of respect. It is inappropriate to turn it down or to race through the ritual. That means that you need to plan enough time for each visit.
Parents may want to ask you some questions. This is a great opportunity to talk about your personal philosophy regarding ECE or how you plan to work with their child. Remember the “Golden Rule”- Don’t discuss the child in front of the child. This is not the time or the place.