Monday, February 13, 2012

Enforcing Policies

Home child care providers should have a handbook or written policies of some sort.  Sometimes, getting clients to follow the rules becomes a problem.  Here's how I found to best enforce policies.

  • KISS--Keep It Super Simple.  When I first started daycare my handbook was eleven pages long.  I'm not sure if parents even read the whole thing and I know of at least one or two potential clients that did not sign on with me because of all the paperwork handed to them.  In later years, I condensed my handbook to two pages.  It was not overwhelming to clients.  I still have the other information included in the original handbook available to parents and use them when a situation comes up, but I kept my "core" policies to a minimum.
  • Enforce policies from the beginning.  I used to give new parents a little leeway with the rules because they were new.  The problem was I was not able to get the parents to completely follow my rules at all because they did not take me or my rules seriously because I was the one who didn't respect or enforce them from the beginning.  When I enforced the rules with clients from the first day, those clients knew I was serious about my rules and followed them throughout our time together.
  • I took care to include only policies I was willing to enforce.  For example, many child care providers charge $1 or $5 per minute a parent is late in picking up their child.  It's not my personality to bicker with parents over how many minutes they are late.  Instead, I charge a flat $20 fee for picking up late without making an arrangement with me first.  I did follow-through and charge the late fee a few times.  
  • It usually only takes one time to enforce your rules, then parents will follow them.  As child care providers, we have big hearts.  It's difficult for many child care providers to appear harsh.  It took a while for me to realize it's not over the top harsh to enforce the rules that have already been spelled out for clients.  Once I did stick to my rules and enforced them, I usually only had to do it one time.



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