Just like marriage or friendship, business relationships have to include clear communication and mutual respect. However, the way we get along with our daycare parents can vary greatly. I’ve had clients that I couldn’t stand! On the other hand, I’ve also been blessed to have some awesome daycare parents that I meet with regularly outside of daycare! Either way, there’s going to be some issues you need to bring up with these parents. There will also be day to day things you’ll want to mention, as well. Here’s some ways to avoid conflict with daycare parents.
Put It In Writing
Create a Handbook for Your Daycare Parents
Unfortunately, in this day and age, you really have put everything in writing. Cover your butt! All of your policies need to be in writing and given to your daycare parents before you care for their child. Make them sign off on them so that you can fall back on it
if when they have an issue with the way you do things at your business. This is your business, and you are in charge. Set the rules beforehand so that you and your daycare parents are on the same page.
Send Home a Daily Note for Your Daycare Parents
When you care for babies and toddlers, it really does help out the daycare parents to know how much they ate and how many diapers they went through. A great way to do this is to record each diaper when you change it. Also, record their meals at meal time. Here’s a template you can download to use for your daily notes home.
For older children, you can do a parent-teacher journal. Just get one of those cheap little spiral notebooks for each child and keep it by your sign in sheet. You can write important notes and reminders in it, and daycare parents can leave notes for you, too. Keeping daycare parents up to date on their child’s day, feelings, and education helps them connect with you as a partner.
When You Don’t Want to Send Daily Notes
My daycare is small and I like to chat to the parents at pick-up time. I’ve never felt like I needed to use daily notes, since I usually replay the day for them anyway. Plus, my parents and I like to text back and forth when we have something to mention. So I added a line to my contract to cover my state regulation about daily communication. Would you rather text or email than send home a paper note, too? Feel free to add this into your contract like I did.
I understand that I will receive access to the secret Facebook group “Shannon’s Daycare” where I will receive weekly communication and resources from the facility. I understand that in an effort to reserve resources and meet each parent’s communication preferences, I will NOT be provided printed materials as a regular form of communication unless initialed below. Parents of infants and toddlers receiving daily reports will receive text message reports if the line for electronic communications is initialed, or a Parent-Teacher Journal if paper communication is preferred.
You might notice that I’ve disable right-click on my blog to safeguard my images and products. There’s a link below where you can download this clause in a Microsoft Word document. You can copy and paste from there to add it into your contract.
Make Your Daycare Parents Like You
You know that saying, “The customer is always right”? It’s technically not true, but I’ve learned from spending my entire working life in retail (prior to daycare) that it is important to make your client like you. You don’t have to like the daycare parents – that’s not going to happen all of the time. But put on your sweetest face when they’re being annoying, share some personal ways you relate, go out of your way to accommodate them now and then, and be likeable. In sales, I was taught to make the client like me. Why? Because expanding your relationship that tiny bit makes them feel a personal connection to you, which makes them feel obligated to hear you out respectfully.
When Conflict Arises with your Daycare Parents
Nip it in the bud!
The ugly truth is that some daycare parents will feel entitled to take advantage or blow up no matter how much you’ve done for them. And the longer you let it go, the more the tension will grow. If a client is taking advantage of you, or if you are having behavioral issues, things will only get worse the longer you put off taking care of it. Trust me on this. I’ve let things slide too far and chances are the daycare parents don’t want to hear the info at any point in time, so you might as well get it over with.
Being assertive means being clear and firm. This does not mean you don’t have to be respectful! Remember, these people write your paycheck. You need to find a balance between sticking up for yourself and your business, and treating your clients like human beings. You’ve taken the time to consider your policies and put them into writing. Stick to them! Don’t let daycare parents guilt you into changing your policies on the spot.
If and when you have a rude client, do your best to stay calm. Time may show that certain daycare parents do not fit well with your business. It’s absolutely okay to break up with them. Just don’t burn any bridges in the process! You do not have to be a pushover – but biting your tongue in the heat of the moment and responding with an even tone means that you can later stand up for yourself and know that you handled the situation maturely even if they did not.
I hope these freebies help you communicate with your daycare parents a little more effectively. Comment below if you have any other rules for communicating with parents or questions!