The How & Why Childcare Providers Need a Contract

How to write a daycare contract


As you begin to enroll children into your daycare program, you will have their caregivers fill out many documents. One of the most important documents that you will give them to sign will be your program’s contract. In this post, we will break down what a contract is and why it is important to your daycare business’s success. 

The Importance of Having a Daycare Contract

Why is a contract important? 

A contract is important because it clearly articulates the terms of the childcare services that you provide. Having a contract communicates that your childcare program is a professional business and your client (the caregivers) is entering into a legal agreement to utilize your services. This protects your business; if an issue arises, you can rely on your contract in the case of a legal matter (i.e.: non-payment, etc.).

A contract also prevents a client from claiming that they were uninformed of expectations (i.e.: tuition costs, late fees, hours of business, or how absences are handled).

Additionally, a contract protects your clients as well. By signing a contract, your clients know exactly what they are paying for; they are not surprised by unexpected fees, program closures, etc. The contract holds you accountable just as much as them. 

What is a daycare contract? 

A daycare contract is used in all professional childcare businesses; whether you own an in-home program or a daycare center, a contract ensures that all parties have the same expectations and are on the same page.

In the contract, you will outline the terms of childcare for the caregiver’s child. The contract does not have to be lengthy. In fact, you want your contract to be succinct and easily read to ensure that the caregiver fully reads the document.

The caregiver will need time to read the document carefully, so it is recommended that you have the contract available during their interview or tour.

At the time of enrollment, the caregiver will sign indicating that they agree to the terms. Keep the signed contract in their child’s file to ensure that it does not get lost or damaged. 

The following is information that you could include in your contract: 

  • Your businesses information: Legal name, address, phone number, website, email address, hours of business, etc. 
  • Name of your clients and the name of their child(ren) 
  • Tuition costs, the frequency of child’s attendance, payment policy if child is absent 
  • Payment due dates and how late fees are applied 
  • Process for terminating the contract 
  • Signature and date 

The contract should be unique to your program’s needs. That being said, as your business grows, you may want to make changes.

How To Write A Daycare Contract

If changes are made, each family will need to be made aware of the changes and then they will need to sign the updated contract.  

Why do daycare providers need a contract? 

While a contract may feel too “formal” for your business, it is important to understand the benefits of having one.

Your contract does not have to be extensive for it to be effective. A contract, simply, states the expectations for you and your clients.

If used correctly, your daycare contract can ensure that each party feels secure in the professional relationship. It helps to set the foundation for a respectful and collaborative experience, which creates the best environment for the children in your care. 

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