Aside from the essential CONTRACT, there are some key policies that just about every child care should have in place. You know, the absolute sure to be pain points for most providers. So let’s get ahead of the game and get these policies in place NOW. So let’s get right to it. Here are FIVE essential policies, don’t sleep on them, child care providers should consider adopting to ease parent communications and avoid being taken advantage of.
5 Essential Policies for Child Care Providers
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1. Tuition Policy
Most child care providers would probably agree that the collection of tuition is often one of the biggest pain points for them, one they confront just about every week. Having a clear tuition payment policy, although not fail proof, is a great way of informing your clients when tuition payment is expected and consequences if it is not submitted as required.
2. Drop-off/Pickup Policy
If I had to guess (and I don’t have to, LOL) I would say that if tuition is the #1 pain point, drop-off and pick-up issues would be next or at least close behind. This is the one that parents seem to be the most casual about. It is really helpful to spell out whether parents are expected to adhere to their contracted times or if there are any limitations on hours of care in a specific Drop-off/Pick-up policy. Again, indicating what actions will be taken if the policy is not adhered to is very important. Speaking of which …
3. Late Fee Policy
As hard as it is for many providers to enforce a late fee policy, the funny thing is it’s absolutely essential to have this policy. This is a twofer because you need to address not only parents picking up late but also late tuition payments as well.
Picking Up Late
As far as picking up late, most providers simply adopt a policy that is aligned with what the larger daycares have, which is to impose a per minute fee past the scheduled pick-up time. Believe me, you probably will not have to impose this fee too many times to get a parent’s attention.
Late Tuition Payments
For the late tuition payments, many providers require payment in advance of the coming week. For example that if payment is not received prior to Monday morning services will not be rendered. Of all the policies, I would say this one is the one most frequently addressed. Parents just don’t seem to get the fact that late payments are very impactful and require you to do more work.
TIP: Consider offering bank transfers, credit card payments or recurring debits to make submitting payments a little easier on (you and) your clients.
4. Vacation Policy
Another issue for providers is the vacation policy. This is actually another two-fold policy, in that you need to specify what is expected of your clients for their scheduled vacation time as well as your own. Be clear about whether full tuition or reduced is expected during these periods and how many days are allowed annually to avoid confusion.
5. Sick & Illness Policy
Here again is a contender for a major pain point (pun intended), which is funny because most new parents inquire about this policy in particular. In my experience, most parents are all too interested and appreciative of a strict Sick & Illness policy. That is until it affects them. Nevertheless, this policy is really easy to put in place since most of the licensing mandates drive it. Simply pull out your regulations and start there. Don’t forget to include whether or not you will administer medication and under what conditions.
So there are FIVE essential policies for child care providers. Many of these policies could easily be included in your child care contract and/or parent handbook. Most of the above policies will help a provider avoid awkward interactions with parents. Having them in place provides clear communication with parents regarding your business policies and procedures.
I post many of my policies and handbook on my website so that they are easily accessible to clients. Here is how you can easily set up your website too.
What is one takeaway or action item you got out of this post? Will you be adding a policy or two? Leave me a comment below and tell me which one.