Sick/Absent Policy for In Home Child Care?

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by saralynn2006, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. saralynn2006

    saralynn2006 Companion

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    Jul 30, 2012

    Hi Everyone,
    I have recently started an in home preschool/child care. I have a policy manual that I handed out to parents at registration that details sick policies, policies about bringing things from home etc. Well.....parents have found loopholes around things and I am stuck in a bind here! Parents are calling at last minute to cancel days/add days, they bring toys from home and they aren't labeled with their child's name (not that big of deal but it is stated in the policies that they are supposed to be), and they drop off after meal times and are expecting their child to be fed (of course I feed them, I'm not going to let the child starve -- but it is annoying and throws the schedule off!) So my question is for you is: how do you handle parents who don't follow policies? How do you handle sick/absent days after the child has been scheduled to come? Parents are asking for the days to be refunded (even if they call 30 mins before they are supposed to come and say they aren't coming!) and I just don't know what to do! :dizzy: How do you handle parents who do not pay on time? It is getting a little out of hand!!! :help:
     
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  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jul 30, 2012

    Does your policy state how far in advance they can cancel without paying? If not, I would add that, then if they cancel after that time, they have to pay. My daughter goes to a center, so it may be a little different, but I have to pay whether she's there or not, no refunds if she's sick, or they're closed, etc.

    Do the children have cubbies, or areas to store their things? We are not supposed to bring toys/ stuffed animals to daycare, but my daughter has an attachment stuffed animal that she refuses to leave home without. As soon as she gets to her classroom, she puts in her cubby and leaves it alone until we pick her up. It helps her to know it's there, even though she isn't playing with it. Depending on the age of the child, it may be a bigger battle than it's worth. If the toy bringing is causing disruptions, then I would talk to the individual parent and see what can be done.
     
  4. saralynn2006

    saralynn2006 Companion

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    Jul 30, 2012

    My policy states that parents must inform me before we open if their child is ill in order to not be charged for that day. It also states that parents must inform me if their child will be absent, but I didn't state a particular time they need to tell me. I guess I need to add that to the policy. Parents are asking for the money to be refunded when their child is sick, even though the policy states that they will be charged if they don't call before we open (6:30). I have been bad about enforcing it so far, but I think I just need to send home a note reminding parents about the policies. It's just so awkward when parents ask for the refund and I want to say no (and that policy states that they will be charged)....but I am a pushover! :blush:

    As for the toys brought from home -- I usually have the kids put them away in their cubby or in their backpack shortly after they come, but that was just another example of a policy that is not being followed. Not nearly as big of deal as the sick/absent days!

    As for parents -- when I am enforcing the policy more strictly now, do you think they will be upset about it? Is sending home a note explaining the changes enough notice to parents? Do I need to directly tell the "repeat offenders" that the policy will be changed to include a cut off time for calling before being charged for the day when their child is not attending? :dizzy: I'm in quite a mess!
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 30, 2012

    Sara..you've created this bad situation by being too flexible about the rules. Write up a new policy which addresses any current loopholes and tighten up the rules where there was a misunderstanding...tell parents that in order to provide all children with a reliable and consistent experience you need to clarify your center's policies. Have all parents sign and return a copy of your new guidelines...then ENFORCE THEM.
     
  6. saralynn2006

    saralynn2006 Companion

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    Jul 30, 2012

    I know....it's hard because most of the parents are people that I know so it makes it harder to enforce policies. I have definitely been too flexible and they have taken advantage of that! Hopefully the parents won't be too upset if I rewrite the policies to have more strict time frames for them to follow, but it is getting kind of ridiculous!
     
  7. Mrs.Sheila

    Mrs.Sheila Cohort

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    Jul 31, 2012

    Okay, I am not in an inhome center, but here are a few suggestions.

    1. "Effective Immediately" there will be a drop in fee expected to be paid at time of drop off. NO $$, child doesn't stay. (more then you would normally charge per day)

    2. All items NOT labeled with child's name will be considered donations and will not be returned.

    3. In a center or daycare that is not home based, there are NO refunds. Why would they expect different?

    When do you expect parents to pay? Is it written in your policy? Consider changing the way you charge ~ is it by week, month? Add in a late fee, and increase it by day.
     
  8. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jul 31, 2012

    No matter what you do, some parents will be upset. But you need to make sure that you can enjoy what you do without added stress. I would have a little talk with the repeat offenders, especially if they are friends. Maybe invite them over or grab them as they drop off or pick up.
     
  9. saralynn2006

    saralynn2006 Companion

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    Aug 1, 2012

    :lol:I would have a lot of donated toys then! :) I will definitely have to rewrite my sick/absent/drop in policy to word it more strictly so there is no gray area! It's so hard when you are dealing with people you know! I don't want to make them mad at me, but I don't want to cater to their every whim either! I have parents pay towards the beginning of the week. I have a lot of part time families, so the bill usually goes out the previous Friday and they must pay the first day of the week they come. Then parents want to add/switch days around and it all gets so confusing! One parent asked to pay bi-weekly instead of weekly (which is fine), and then had her child not come one day in the first week of billing, had him sick the last 3 days of the 2nd week of billing, and now is on a new payment week and still hasn't paid for the previous two weeks. :dizzy: I sent home the bill again, so hopefully she pays this week or I will be adding a late fee!
     
  10. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Aug 1, 2012

    I don't give kids free sick days. I do let the family pay a reduced fee in the summer if they know their child will be OUT a WHOLE month. This is really for teacher kids. They pay quarter rate at that point...and then if the mom really needs to get her hair done she can still use the 5 days of pay that it covers. Then I sell her child's spot to a big brother or sister for the time they are gone. In the event that mom does want to use the extra days, usually there is a child who is also gone and it all works out. If not...mom needs to take the child to the hair salon. It is all spelled out in the policies. We pay at the top of the month. I get two weeks vacation (usually one at Christmas and one at 4th of July) and if parents choose to take different breaks or more breaks then they must pay to hold their spot.

    I also call my fee---tuition. When I started doing preK work, calling it tuition and sending out progress reports the parents began to view this as much more than "daycare".
     
  11. dizzykates

    dizzykates Habitué

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    Aug 1, 2012

    Ask for your pay the Friday before the up coming week. No pay, they can't come the next week. If they want to come, they need to bring full payment plus a late fee. I pay my DC 52 weeks of the year. Every holiday, every time she or my child is sick, and anytime I am not working. I may not be able to bring my child (sick) or I may have the time off (and go on vacation), but I pay in full. every.single.time. Annoying, but she is running a business, it's not my business, it is hers and when I signed my daughter up, I signed the papers agreeing to this.
    Good luck. Enforce your rules.
     
  12. saralynn2006

    saralynn2006 Companion

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    That's a good idea to have them pay for the week by the previous Friday. I will have to decide if I want to change that part of my policies too. I'm just afraid parents will be mad about all the changes, especially since I haven't been strict enough on enforcing the policies I already have. Thanks for all the comments everyone. I guess I have to just suck it up and hope the parents don't all get mad at me changing some policies!
     
  13. Mrs.Sheila

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    Aug 2, 2012

    That's the hard thing when you do inhome child care for friends. :unsure: Either they'll accept them or they won't. But you MUST stand firm otherwise they will just walk all over ya , and things may get worse before they get better. IF they threaten to leave, then suggest they check out the policies in preschools/daycares in your area. They may realize you are much more lenient then what they realized. :dizzy:
     
  14. saralynn2006

    saralynn2006 Companion

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    Aug 2, 2012

    I'm the only in home preschool in the area, so it has been hard being compared to in home daycares. We are structured like a preschool (circle time, craft, etc.) so most parents treat it like school (they all seem very happy with what their children are doing) However, it is hard to compare to the "cheaper" daycares in town (where the main source of entertainment comes from a TV), who must refund money to parents when the children don't come! I never thought that would be brought up by parents, but when put on the spot, I caved in. I'm going to rewrite my policies to state that there will be no money refunded, regardless if their child comes or not. It just makes for less headache for me! Regardless if their child comes or not, I already have everything prepared a week in advance for the children scheduled to come! Hopefully the parents aren't too mad about it, but I can't run a business when I am getting asked to issue "refunds" when children don't come.
     
  15. Mrs.Sheila

    Mrs.Sheila Cohort

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    Aug 3, 2012

    See I live in the suburbs of Houston, and here there are NO refunds! In some daycares/preschool they allow 1 week during the year (prescheduled) for vacation, but if they simply don't bring them out of choice or illness ~ there is no money given back.
     
  16. saralynn2006

    saralynn2006 Companion

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    Aug 3, 2012

    I live in a rural town (population 1300!) so I think parents will be a little more shocked at a policy change. I don't know how other daycares in town run things, but nobody seems to be willing to talk about any of their policies/rules with anyone else. I don't know why it is so secretive, but I guess I will be the one to do my own thing regardless of what others are doing. My program is different anyway! :)
     

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