In a recent article, I shared four reasons early learning professionals should read and understand the government regulations related to their work. While it is important to read these regulations, I have to admit it can be a boring, tedious, painful task. Government regulations are rarely fast-paced and exciting reads. For example, from the KANSAS LAWS AND REGULATIONS
FOR LICENSING DAY CARE HOMES AND GROUP DAY CARE HOMES FOR CHILDREN:
“The secretary of health and environment shall have the power to grant a license to a
person to maintain a maternity center or child care facility for children under 16 years of age. A license granted to maintain a maternity center or child care facility shall state the name of the licensee, describe the particular premises in or at which the business shall be carried on, whether it shall receive and care for women or children, and the number of women or children that may be treated, maintained, boarded or cared for at any one time. No greater number of women or children than is authorized in the license shall be kept on those premises and the business shall not be carried on in a building or place not designated in the license. The license shall be kept posted in a conspicuous place on the premises where the business is conducted.”1
Obviously reading child care regulations isn’t something most of us do for pleasure. There are always exceptions (NonPon? Lisa? Tiffany?)–people who enjoy reading such stuff, but most of us would rather be doing something else. And yet…and yet, you should still read and understand them. It’ll help you become more effective at your job.
Because I like to be a helper and problem solver, here are nine ideas that’ll make reading such a boring document less like allowing an angry cat to remove your wisdom teeth.
Who doesn’t like cracking open a fortune cookie and reading their fortune? Well, you can make reading early learning regulations just as fun. Just print out the regulations, slice them into individual sentences, and make a bunch of home made fortune cookies–one for each sliver of paper. Then, sit back and enjoy.
Substituting words may make the process a little more fun. for example, read the above Kansas quote again, but this time, replace the word children with fuzzy bunnies every time you see it. The more words you substitute the more fun you’ll have.
Lots of them. All the colors. Chisel tip and fine point. They’ll not only make the read less boring, they’ll allow you to express yourself creatively–and you might even accidentally highlight something you want to remember.
Reading in your head without moving your lips is soooooooo boring! Read the regulations aloud. Read them aloud in the voice of your favorite cartoon character. Heck, you could even act them out for friends. (“Did you see Katie’s performance of section 37.95.214 Food Preparation and Handling from the STATE OF MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES LICENSING REQUIREMENTS
FOR CHILD DAY CARE CENTERS last night? It was amazing! She really brought the words to life–and she sounded just like Sponge Bob!”)
People have destination weddings, why not a destination regulation-read? Book a cruise, go to the beach, flop into a comfy hammock in your backyard. Settle in at a cozy coffee shop, visit a park, read in the lobby of a super fancy hotel you’re where you’re pretending to stay. Just avoid reading by a roaring fire. It sounds cozy, but you’ll be tempted to toss the regulations in the fire. Been there, done that.
Who read you stories when you were a child? Put on your pajamas, track that person down, snuggle into the nearest bed, and tell them to start reading. Pro Tip: don’t fall asleep! It’ll take forever if you fall asleep for 8 hours after every page and a half.
Misery is more enjoyable when you share it with friends. Why not team up with a small group of early learning peers and slog through the regulations together? Tessa could be in charge and break the document into sections (she loves that kinda thing), then you could meet once a week to discuss the reading assignment (and see how well Becky fakes her way through the discussion because you know she didn’t do the reading.)
I’ve got no advice to offer on what to drink or what the rules should be, just drink responsibly.
Why not hire a famous and distinctive voice to create an audio book version of your regulations? Me, I’d love to hear the Iowa regulations read by Julie Kavner in her Marge Simpson voice. My wife, Tasha, would probably opt for Sir Patrick Stewart doing his best Jean Luc Picard. Sure it’d be expensive, but you could crowdsource the money with a GoFundWe campaign. Plus, you might be able to work out a discount of some sort if you look at them with sad-puppy-eyes and say, “please, it’s for the children.” People love to do stuff “for the children”.
If you give one of these ideas a try and still find reading the regulations tedious try combining them. Maybe a drinking game played on the beach with friends while listening to Sir Patrick Stewart read your regulations in his best Sponge Bob voice?
What steps have you taken to make reading early learning regulations more exciting? Are you a NonPon, Lisa, or Tiffany type that likes reading this type of stuff? Who would you like to hear read your regulations? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.