It’s sort of a running joke with providers. Most of us don’t think parents read our childcare contract. At least they don’t act like they’ve read it. And to be honest, in general, they probably don’t. Or at least not every page of it. So I wondered is it possible to get parents to read our childcare contracts?
Here’s the thing, it’s not just parents who don’t read contracts. Most people avoid reading every paragraph and verse of long documents. Now I know what you’re saying (or at least thinking), parents really need to read my contract. How else are they going to understand how we do things around here?
I hear ya!
Which is why today I thought I would give you some concrete ways to get all that great info in your childcare contract, handbook or policies into the minds of your clients. Here’s how to get parents to read your childcare contract.
How to get clients to read your childcare contract
This is why they don’t read the contract
First, let’s address why don’t they read the childcare contract. Well, the simple fact is most people (including me and probably you too) tend to skim documents. Even short ones.
We just get turned off reading a sea of words on a piece of paper. I mean how many times have you really read the disclosure before you downloaded a new app on your phone? If you’re like me the answer probably is – NEVER. At least not all of it.
See my point.
And the thing is, even if we did read it, would we really retain any of the information. Probably not!
This is why it might be a good idea to find other ways to get the same information across to our clients so that they get it.
Let’s look at a few strategies to get your parents in the know.
A Few Strategies To Parents To Read The Contract
Years ago, I figured there were some really key things I needed my clients to understand. You know the top-ten type of issues.
Specifically, I chose a frequently abused policy – my childcare payment procedure. So you know what I did? Yep, you guessed it. I made an addendum to my contract titled “Childcare Payment Procedure.” I made this a separate form that the parents needed to “read” and sign.
To be honest, the information in my addendum was almost the exact information, word for word that was in the childcare contract. But by creating a separate form with a big heading on it, my intent was to call attention to it.
Is it fool-proof? Absolutely not! Remember people will skim. But at least there is a specific document that I can refer parents to. Everything payment-related is in that form.
Repeat the Info.
As I said, my addendums are usually a regurgitation of the same info that is in my contract. But, actually, people need to hear or read something several times (more on that in a minute).
Speaking of which, if you have other documents like a handbook or policy book, you might want to be sure some of the information that is in your contract is repeated there as well.
I don’t have everything about the childcare in my contract so I use a parent handbook to get into the details of a lot of my policies. At the same time, I reiterate some of the contract information as well.
Finally, I believe in reminders. I routinely send out policy reminders to parents. Some I have set on autopilot to go out with our daily notes, some I schedule to send as emails and sometimes I will just send out a text.
Almost every Thursday, I make it a point to have a reminder set to go out to parents that Friday is tuition day.
Just like that one, most of my reminders are canned responses that I can use over and over. It makes it easy to respond in a timely manner and also ensures the information is complete.
Getting the Childcare Contract Info Across
You know they say people need to be exposed to information up-to eleven times to retain it. Yep, 11!
This is why I have no problem reminding or refreshing the memory of my clients about my business policies. I have found it best to bake it right into the cake.
By using different ways to put my contract information in front of my clients, I have a better chance of them understanding (and more importantly) following my policies.
And since I do this routinely, it winds up being less of a bother but more of a helpful reminder type of exchange.