The first thing I want to say is that if something isn’t working, CHANGE IT! Take steps right now to make whatever the needed change is. And then do it. Don’t wait till the 1st of the month. Don’t wait to exercise the change with your new or incoming clients. Make the childcare policy change now! Believe me, you will thank yourself.
Now with that said, let’s talk about when and how to make policy changes. Although most providers will feel like they have handled the bulk of their issues in their contract or handbook (at least that’s what we try to do), sometimes that’s not enough.
In reality, it is very likely that most providers will find an issue every now and then that needs to be addressed as either a policy change or a policy addition.
The truth is there will probably come a time when something just isn’t working and you will need to make a policy change. Whether it is to change an existing policy or add a new policy. You might even need to abandon a certain policy.
And that’s ok!
In fact, the more your business grows, there will be more opportunities to define and refine your business practices at the same time. Probably many times over.
So just how easy is it to make policy changes? Let’s dig in!
How to make childcare policy changes
Should you make a change?
Many providers might feel nervous about making childcare policy changes. But we shouldn’t. Again, you are the boss and if something related to your business is not working optimally, there is probably a change in order. Maybe we should just take another perspective as it relates to change.
Most people would say that they don’t like change. That is probably why we resist it. But in reality, we deal with change all the time. We wait for a sale on an item we want to purchase but realize that once the sale ends the price will return to the original price. Even though we would desire the lower price, if we truly need the item we realize we will have to pay whatever the current price is. If we don’t have a choice, we accept that.
The same is true of our businesses and for our business practices. Just like when your clients were just being introduced to your business, they accepted whatever your policies are. If there is the need for a change, they will get used to that too.
Now I am not suggesting everyone will love the change. What I am saying is that they will need to accept it, just like they accept other changes in their lives.
Change in contract
Should your change be reflected in your contract? Well, that depends. If the policy relates to a policy that is reflected in your current client’s contracts most likely you should make an addendum or amendment to your current contract.
However, if your contracts have an expiration date and you have clients sign new contracts intermittently, then perhaps making the change to the upcoming revised contract would be a better remedy. That would probably be in the form of a revision to the contract.
If the change is a complete revamp of your current policy, I would still call attention to the change in the form of a memo.
Issue a Memo
Speaking of a memo, this is my preferred form of issuing a change of childcare policy. It is really simple and straightforward. You just issue a memo to your clients regarding a change in policy. I state what the current policy is (if there is one), what it’s being changed to and when the new policy will take effect. Then I deliver it as an email to parents.
You might want to ask for proof that your clients have received the new policy by requiring them to return the memo with their signature. However, I would state in the memo that whether or not the signed memo is returned the change will take effect.
Change the Handbook
Should you reflect the policy change in your child care handbook? Just like your contract, it would probably be a good idea to revise your handbook to reflect your most current policies and practices.
To make it easier, you might want to get this policy primer too.
Stand your ground!
This is without a doubt is the most important issue when it comes to making a change. You simply cannot expect anyone to follow your policies if YOU don’t.
Believe me, I know how hard it is. I really do! But the simple fact is if you have identified an area that needs change, you owe it to yourself to stick with it.
You might find that it’s not as hard as you might think. You might find that your clients respect your policies more when they see you standing your ground.
Something that I have done in the last few years is to build a practice of reminding my clients of policies. I send out simple reminder texts or emails that tickle the memory of parents, especially if I see a problem arising.
Yes, it is a little more work. But I am willing to do a little more work in an effort to avoid a lot more frustration!
Don’t Be Intimidated
Change can actually be a good thing!
One last thing I will say or reiterate is – don’t be intimidated! Like I said at the beginning if something isn’t working CHANGE IT!
You are the boss. You are the voice of your business. Remember all the hard work you have put into your business. You owe it to yourself to care for it and sometimes that means making change happen.
Change can actually be a good thing. Especially if it makes your business better.