Parents can be sensitive when it comes to their children. I know I am. So there are times when we have to deal with angry parents in home daycare.
Parents aren’t sending their back up kids to your home daycare, they are sending their precious angels, their world, their heart. So we have to use kid gloves when we deal with families. There are so many ins and outs to running a home daycare. But you can run a really wonderful program if you take the time to do it right.
Tips for dealing with angry parents in childcare
There are many reasons a parent would become angry with their daycare provider. Maybe they are having a bad day? Maybe they are always a jerk? Maybe they need sleep and a cookie. I know I have bad days and I think everyone else does sometimes too. So I try to handle people with a little grace.
I have seen it all over the past 26 years. I’ve had parents mad because my husband lives here, parents that are mad because a kid scratched, hit, or bit their child, parents that were mad about how their kids were holding a paint brush in a picture, parents that were mad about what we had for lunch.
There are so many things that we do day in and day out that we never think would bother someone, but they do. When I change a potty training child into a pull up for nap time, I always leave their pants off so it’s easier to change them back after nap.
I had someone get really upset about that one time and say their kids weren’t allowed to run around in a pull-up at home. They wanted me to change them into sleeping pants for nap.
Uh, no thanks, that defeats the purpose of it being easier. I guess getting pants off and on 7 kids seems like easy breasy to some people. This is a hard job and I do whatever I can to make it more efficient, but if someone doesn’t want their kid sleeping in a pull-up without pants, all they have to do is ask me to have pants on them and I got their back.
It’s their kid, not mine, and I do whatever makes parents the most comfortable when I can.
One time I had a mom get really angry because there was dust on my entertainment center. She asked me if I ever cleaned. I had dusted it the day before, but if you do childcare, you know that kids keep dust stirred up and nothing ever looks clean when you have 7 kids in your house.
This one really hurt my feelings because she was so condescending about it. I mean, I don’t like being called dirty. And she did. Sometimes you’ll just have to realize that there isn’t a lot of respect for this job and people think they can tell you what to do or look down on you because you do it.
Try to remember who you are and that you are doing the most important job in the world. Remember that there are a lot of hurting people in the world and they do and say things they shouldn’t, but that’s a reflection on them and not you.
How to deal with difficult parents in childcare
One of the best ways to deal with difficult parents is to have your business policies done in advance. When they interview, they read and sign them so you know and they know what the expectations are between you. Have a short contract for them to sign and good policies for what you do and what you want them to do.
If you need more help with your contract or are looking for help with all of your business documents, check out Daycare Time Solutions, they are a great resource for all of your home daycare business needs. I sure wish they had been around in my earlier years. They even have monthly menus and lesson plans to help you save time and headaches.
This will cut out about 80% of your issues before they start. There are always going to be jerks and stupid people in the world, but the rest is just plain fixable and not a big deal. If you think your angry daycare parent is a nut job and 100% wrong, it’s best not to yell at them and throw them off your porch.
Think about how many other people they know that might be parents. Think about your reputation. There is always a possibility that they will slander you no matter what you do, but if you act with dignity, the chances are higher that your reputation will stay intact.
Just remember that we are all human, so if you do overreact and do something you regret, show yourself the same grace. Learn from it and do better the next time.
How to deal with parent complaints in childcare
Hopefully, when a parent comes to you with concerns, they come nicely. They share their complaint and give you a chance to help them by fixing the problem or explaining why you can’t change whatever it is.
When a parent approached me about my husband being home, I told them while I understood having a man around the house might make you uneasy about your daughter being here, he lives here. He’s allowed to have a day off. He isn’t alone with the kids unless I let parents know I’m leaving ahead of time. He’s not creepy. I’m the one helping the kids and not him. We worked it out and she was happy.
Also, remember, they only see a snapshot of the day. You’re there all day, slugging through the work part of it and doing a great job. They only see drop off and pick up times.
A good way to remedy is to share photos of your day. I do it on facebook, some people do it in private groups or over email. Texting is a fun way. But let parents know what goes on so they are comfortable with your program. Take out the mystery.
Here are a few steps to take in dealing with problems when they arise.
Take the time to really listen to their concerns. Face them, give them eye contact, and lean toward them a bit. That makes people feel heard.
Validating other people’s feelings doesn’t mean they are right. But being dismissive is hurtful and only fuels the fire. Make sure you understand why they’re upset and that it matters to you.
Sometimes this can be hard. Especially if it involves another child or family in the daycare. We can’t always say, well little Timmy is a real handful and his mom won’t believe me. We have to assure the angry parent that we are working with that sweet angel Timmy without telling them we put him in time out three times today.
Timmy gets his own privacy too. I try to always remember to think about what the other child’s parent might feel like if I shared all of their business with the parent that was angry. I might end up with two angry parents.
But you can help Suzie’s mom understand that you care about what’s going on without sharing all of Timmy’s family history with her. It’s a balancing act.
Taking responsibility is a great way to diffuse anger and upset feelings. We can say we are sorry the situation happened. And remember, if you have a child biting all the other kids, you have to intervene. You can’t just say there’s nothing I can do.
Tommy the t-rex that bites all the other kids is under your care. His mom isn’t there all day to keep him from biting. When I bring up a behavioral situation to parents, I always tell them. I know you aren’t here and I am, but I do want to let you know what we are dealing with so you stay informed.
But back to the angry daycare parent, making sure they know you care about the situation will go a long way. Come up with a solution, even if you have to get back with them. A strategy going forward that you think can work to make things better and let them know what that is.
Don’t forget to get back with them as things progress to let them know how things are going.
Make sure you document everything that happened in case things don’t improve or end up going further. You never know when someone will report an issue to whoever governs you and you’ll have to defend your actions concerning the matter.
Always try to stay calm. It will help everyone involved to be calmer. Try to put a positive spin on each thing you say, even if it’s sometime nice about little Tommy’s shirt. If that’s all you can think of, that’s all you can think of. This is one of the best ways to deal with angry parents in home daycare
Try to find time to talk when the kids are doing something else. Maybe it’s best to talk on the phone later after the child goes to bed at home or to call them during nap time. Maybe you can step over to the side and get the kids interested in something so they won’t be as distracting.
Don’t forget there is nothing wrong with telling them you’ll get back with them when you can give them your full attention.
It’s a great idea to ask them for input on a good solution so they can feel like they are part of fixing it. But be careful because some parents can take it too far. They may have some great suggestions that you haven’t thought of though.
Don’t judge them on their decisions. It’s hard to know what we would really do in their situation. You’re not always right. Even though, most of the time you are. Still show people grace.
If things seem to be getting out of hand, you may have to terminate the family’s contract with your home daycare. In severe situations, you may have to contact DHS, a lawyer, or even the police. Don’t hesitate to do what you need to for your own protection.
Believe in your home daycare and what you’re doing
Don’t forget that you’ve made a lot of people happy. Some people are impossible to please. And you have done a lot of great things even if you feel like no matter what you do, someone will complain. There will always be angry parents in home daycare. And definitely complainers.
But there will be a lot of really great ones too that will know how to appreciate their provider. It’s true, people do have an easier time giving negative feedback than positive. But don’t let it kill your joy. You keep on doing you because you’re awesome!
If you want to network with other daycare providers, join our Facebook group, I Daycare So Hard! It’s a lot of fun and you can bounce ideas off other providers. You can also get monthly support from Thriving Childcare.
They have tons of home daycare provider helps such as planners, binder kits to organize all your paperwork, books, accessories and so much more that will help you with your business. Join the Provider’s Club for monthly support from them. Or get the products you need to help make your daily job easier. You can even get 10% off using my discount code.
Please remember not to take angry daycare parents personally. It can feel like a personal attack, but remember, there are a number of reasons someone may be upset and they might not have anything to do with you.
If you are not being your best self because you’re burned out or ready to retire, try some of these ideas. It may be time to do something else, or maybe just a good ole recharge would help.