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What Makes a Good Home Visit?

A hot trend in the world of early-childhood education is home visiting by a professional to a family with an infant or toddler. Ideally, the visiting professional builds a relationship with the primary caregiver and other family members, helping them understand infant and toddler development and behavior and helping the family through any special challenges their child presents.

In the policy world, home visits are mostly talked about for low-income families and teen moms, but others can benefit, too. (Full disclosure: I've been receiving home visits from Chicago's Fussy Baby Network, a project of the Erickson Institute, because my son is a slow weight-gainer.)

This Zero to Three article talks about what parents and practitioners think are the components of a successful home visit. There's a chart that lines up what parents think compared with what practitioners think. While most of the points are the same—getting practical help, observing, getting support—parents noted that the personal characteristics of the professional they work with make a big difference. No surprise there, but it's a good reminder to professionals in the human service field that who you are speaks louder than what you say.

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