8 Rules You Should Have for Your Family Childcare Home
When you open a new family childcare business in your home, it’s hard to know what will work and what won’t. If you start your business and add rules, it’s much harder than beginning the business with your rules in place. You can have them already in your contract or policies depending on where they belong and you will save yourself a whole lot of headaches.
Contracts have to do with time and money, and policies have to do with everything else. So if it’s about pay or hours, etc., it belongs in your contract. Click here to read more about contracts and policies.
I have asked some tried and true professionals what they feel the most important rules are, and I am going to share with you what they said. Make sure you take care of yourself when it comes to your business. You will never be able to please everyone or do things everyone’s way because they all have their own opinion. Make sure you set your daycare up for you. You’re the one who has to do it.
7 Rules You Should Have for Your Family Childcare Home
Remember to be ready to say no when you have to. Parents are just people and they want things to be as easy as possible for them. Who could blame them? You have to remember they aren’t trying to hurt you or make your life harder, they are only trying to make life easier for themselves. We are all doing our best.
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Establishing your rules and talking them over with prospective families BEFORE you enter into a business relationship with them will make your life so much easier. Before you start your business, put some time and thought into how you want to run it.
Tried and true rules from experienced daycare providers:
You make the rules, not the parents, it’s your business. I totally agree with this one. Like I said before, if you let everyone influence what rules you have, you will go crazy because everyone does not want the same things. You’re in charge, make sure your families know that.
- No outside food or drinks. This is a great rule. If kids bring stuff in, the other kids want it. It’s not nice to eat donuts in front of the other children when they are having cereal. Who would like that? They may even bring something like a peanut butter cookie when you have a child who is allergic to peanuts. It’s a safety issue. What if they drop a piece of that cookie on the floor and the allergic child eats it? What if they “share” while you are answering the door or changing a diaper.
- No toys from home. This is a big one I hear people talking about. Personally, I don’t care if they bring outside toys. I let them play and tell them they have to share. If they don’t, I put it up. It’s no problem for me, but I totally get how people wouldn’t want that. It can cause problems. Also, if the child loses the toy or it gets broken that can cause problems. I let my parents know it’s not my responsibility to keep up with the toy. If you bring it, you may not take it back home, the chances are 50/50. I hear most providers saying this is a big rule for them though and it makes a ton of sense. Do what you think will work for you.
- No pay, no stay. Obviously you are working for a living. You are not doing this job for your health. You have to protect your paychecks. So make SURE parents pay in advance and make sure you don’t allow children to stay before payment is made. People will give you every sob story in the books, but is their comfort more important than yours? Do you need to pay your bills or are they optional? Do you want to work for free? Make sure you are respected on this. It matters! Don’t let it slide.
- Your hours are your hours. If you are open 7-5 Monday through Friday and someone wants you to add 15 minutes early or late, don’t do it. People will keep on doing this until you are working 24 hours a day if you let them. You have established hours to protect your personal time. If your parents work from 8-5 and their boss wanted to add 15 minutes to the end of the day, they would not want to do that. Set your hours at what works for you and stick to it.
- Nap time is not optional. Can you let little Johnny stay awake for nap time so he’ll go to bed earlier? NO. First of all, little Johnny NEEDS a nap. Children require more sleep than adults and it’s important that they rest in the middle of the day. It recharges their batteries, helps them learn more and let’s their bodies grow. Secondly, it’s not fair for a parent to ask you to keep one child awake when the others are all trying to sleep. I can tell you from watching over 80 children, it does not work. The one who is up cannot be quiet. Oh you think they can? I promise, they cannot. Nap time helps you as the provider to recharge your battery too. This is a HARD job with so many demands and you’re doing it for at least 10 hours a day. YOU NEED A BREAK and that two hours helps me keep up with all of my paperwork and chores AND helps me reboot for the second part of the day. NAP is a must. And don’t allow children to pick up during nap either, it’s a huge disruption and usually wakes all of the children up. It’s no Bueno.
- Don’t let parents bring sick kids. I know they need to go to work and they will give you every sob story in the book. I know it’s hard on parents when kids are sick, but if they bring them to you sick, then all the other kids get sick and so do you. Then you either have to work sick or close and they miss work anyways. All of your other parents will be mad at you too. Make your sick policy and stick to it. Click here to see more about why you shouldn’t allow parents to bring kids to daycare sick.
- Expect parents to respect your privacy. Your home is your home as well as your business and your personal space should be respected by the families you serve. Tell parents what areas are available to kids and those areas are free reign for parents as well, but also let them know your personal boundaries and ask them to respect them. (Parents should be allowed access to all areas of your home where care is provided)
Establishing your rules before you open helps your business run so much more smoothly. You will be so glad you did once you get your business up and running.
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