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  #1  
Old 04-08-2017, 04:13 PM
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Default Presenting Your Parent Handbook Policies?

I have started to compile my 'Parent Handbook' with policies and contracts, but I'm wondering how to present all of this information to future clients. There are already so many pages and I'm far from completion.

How do you present your policies and contracts to parents? Do you go page by page orally, send it via email for them to read, sit down and have them read it right there themselves, or something entirely different? I am thinking that oral presentation might be best, so they know what they are getting into to prevent conflict in the future. Then again I am thinking that oral presentation might cause them to zone out and get annoyed with the sheer length of pages. What do you do?
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Old 04-08-2017, 04:28 PM
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My plans are to give them a copy when they first contact me, either via email or in person, and let them read it at home. At interview time, I will discuss the key points and make sure to remind them that signing the contract means they agree with all terms whether they read them or not.

As many here do, with a big handbook, you want it divided into indexed sections, so if parents don't want to read it all, they can at least read what they think is relevant.
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Old 04-08-2017, 04:40 PM
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Still new to this, but I have them online. One of my first questions when I'm contacted is "Were you able to look over the handbook?". I ask this before anything else and if they haven't I direct them to it, or offer to email it to them. ("Please take a moment to look over the handbook. It will give you an idea of what to expect and what my expectations are. If you're still interested please get back with me and we'll set up an interview".) I think this has netted me fewer interviews, but I feel like the ones that follow through know what they're getting into are actually interested rather than just browsing.

My worst interview so far was the ONE time I did not do this beforehand, and they showed up expecting something completely different than what I was willing offer (picking and choosing days, late evening hours on last minute notice, etc...).

Then I go over the highlights during the interview, and touch on any areas that I feel need reiterating for that particular family. So far its netted me some awesome families and only one awful interview.
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Old 04-08-2017, 04:41 PM
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I have mine posted on my website. I don't go over every last detail just the most important ones like

Payment expectations
Hours they will attend
Illness policy
Termination
Two week trial
Deposit requirements
No medication policy
Communication
Our preschool program schedule
Immunizations
List of daycare closing dates
Sample menu of our meal program

Everything else is in my PHB that is posted online.
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Old 04-08-2017, 06:04 PM
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During an interview, I go over the most important parts of the handbook (payment schedule, illness policy, hours, why I'm awesome, etc) and I answer any questions. At the end of the interview, I give them their own copy to take home and go over before contacting me again (assuming they do). The handbook is longer and more detailed than the information I give them during an interview.
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Old 04-08-2017, 06:38 PM
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During the interview I give parents a copy of my handbook to read through. I go over the policies I want to highlight (illness, payments, termination, etc) and they can ask questions or clarifications.
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Old 04-09-2017, 03:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
During the interview I give parents a copy of my handbook to read through. I go over the policies I want to highlight (illness, payments, termination, etc) and they can ask questions or clarifications.
That's pretty much the way I do it too. Mine isn't all that lengthy so I don't have an index or anything like that. But I do love that idea!! That way you can add in every single fine point you can think of and direct them to the right page quickly. When a potential dcf calls with interest, I'll briefly ask them what their needs are, then tell them whether or not I have any openings to fit their requests. If so, I'll set up an appointment with them outside of dc hours. I have a folder filled with goodies to present to them, articles about messiness, parental involvement, choosing home daycare versus centers, an introduction letter telling a little about me, a sample menu, contract, a schedule we use(very flexible I might add Lol) AND the ta-da handbook. I show them around my dc. Then we sit down to talk about their philosophies, my philosophies, go over some of the main components of the handbook. Then I tell them it's very important to go home, talk about it, visit other daycares/centers and see what's best for them. They're allowed to keep the whole folder no matter what they decide. I know some providers would go at that because it's extra paper/ink used but to me, that's minor compared to all the other expenses this job entails.

I would LOVE to create an online presence for all of this stuff to be accessible but it would require upkeep, consistency and time. None of which I have or am good at.
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Old 04-09-2017, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josiegirl View Post
That's pretty much the way I do it too. Mine isn't all that lengthy so I don't have an index or anything like that. But I do love that idea!! That way you can add in every single fine point you can think of and direct them to the right page quickly. When a potential dcf calls with interest, I'll briefly ask them what their needs are, then tell them whether or not I have any openings to fit their requests. If so, I'll set up an appointment with them outside of dc hours. I have a folder filled with goodies to present to them, articles about messiness, parental involvement, choosing home daycare versus centers, an introduction letter telling a little about me, a sample menu, contract, a schedule we use(very flexible I might add Lol) AND the ta-da handbook. I show them around my dc. Then we sit down to talk about their philosophies, my philosophies, go over some of the main components of the handbook. Then I tell them it's very important to go home, talk about it, visit other daycares/centers and see what's best for them. They're allowed to keep the whole folder no matter what they decide. I know some providers would go at that because it's extra paper/ink used but to me, that's minor compared to all the other expenses this job entails.
I'm gonna steal that idea from you. Love it. Nice little sales pitch if they haven't decided yet.

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Originally Posted by Josiegirl View Post
I would LOVE to create an online presence for all of this stuff to be accessible but it would require upkeep, consistency and time. None of which I have or am good at.
True, it is more to keep up to date. But daycare providers have lots of free time, right?
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Old 04-09-2017, 10:52 AM
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I have a contract and handbook - two separate documents.

I don't go over my handbook it is just on the private parent only site for them to read and to reference. My contract is detailed and has my most important policies - they have to initial each item in the contract and sign it prior to enrollment. I tend to go over my contract or answer questions on that but I will answer questions on the handbook if they ask.
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Old 04-09-2017, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CityGarden View Post
I have a contract and handbook - two separate documents.

I don't go over my handbook it is just on the private parent only site for them to read and to reference. My contract is detailed and has my most important policies - they have to initial each item in the contract and sign it prior to enrollment. I tend to go over my contract or answer questions on that but I will answer questions on the handbook if they ask.
Just curious...what is in your handbook?
I have a statement on my contract that says 'I have read the handbook and will abide by the policies' or something similar to that.
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Old 04-09-2017, 01:30 PM
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I expect adults to be adults and review paperwork before saying they agree to it. Therefore, I do not read parents anything.

I provide the handbook via e-mail before the interview and ask them to read through it in its entirety. At the interview, I directly ask them if they read through it and if they have any questions. If they enroll, they sign a paper stating that they have read the parent handbook and agree to abide by its policies.

My handbook is lengthy.
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Old 04-10-2017, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josiegirl View Post
Just curious...what is in your handbook?
I have a statement on my contract that says 'I have read the handbook and will abide by the policies' or something similar to that.
I sent you a PM with the headers.
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Old 04-10-2017, 12:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EntropyControlSpecialist View Post
I expect adults to be adults and review paperwork before saying they agree to it. Therefore, I do not read parents anything.
I agree with this however parents have to initial almost all areas of my contract then sign the bottom. If they just initial and do not read it, then that is on them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josiegirl View Post
I have a folder filled with goodies to present to them, articles about messiness, parental involvement, choosing home daycare versus centers, an introduction letter telling a little about me, a sample menu, contract, a schedule we use(very flexible I might add Lol) AND the ta-da handbook.
I too give perspective parents a folder. It has my program name and temporary logo on the cover, inside is a sample daily schedule, school calendar, rate sheet, a couple consent sheets, required licensing forms/notifications and the contract. I feel it is a nice touch and gives parents everything they need should they decide to enroll in my program and while it is not "green" it makes my life easier to just have them pre-made and ready.
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Old 04-10-2017, 02:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CityGarden View Post
I sent you a PM with the headers.
Oh Thank you!
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Old 04-10-2017, 05:09 AM
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Since there is so much information in the handbook, what things do you all include in the contract itself?
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Old 04-10-2017, 05:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by debbiedoeszip View Post
During an interview, I go over the most important parts of the handbook (payment schedule, illness policy, hours, why I'm awesome, etc) and I answer any questions. At the end of the interview, I give them their own copy to take home and go over before contacting me again (assuming they do). The handbook is longer and more detailed than the information I give them during an interview.
I do the same! I also email them a PDF before they start and then give them a hard copy on their first day. At the beginning of fall I send an illness policy reminder by email or post it on my private FB page.
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Old 04-10-2017, 05:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamer View Post
Since there is so much information in the handbook, what things do you all include in the contract itself?
My handbook is my contract. The parent agreement that they sign states "I have read and understand the policies outlined in the parent handbook", then they sign and date it.
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Old 04-10-2017, 06:38 AM
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Quote:
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Since there is so much information in the handbook, what things do you all include in the contract itself?
Your contract should cover payment amounts and dates payment is due. Contracts should be all the financial arrangements you have with the parent/family while your handbook is the operational information.

When enforcing your contract legally or via the courts, they are only concerned about the financial information. Courts won't help or support you in enforcing your closing time or your meal routines/rules.

Tom Copeland has a book called "Family Child Care Contracts and Policies" that discusses the difference as well as what items should be in writing in which document.
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Old 04-10-2017, 06:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daycare View Post
I have mine posted on my website. I don't go over every last detail just the most important ones like

Payment expectations
Hours they will attend
Illness policy
Termination
Two week trial
Deposit requirements
No medication policy
Communication
Our preschool program schedule
Immunizations
List of daycare closing dates
Sample menu of our meal program

Everything else is in my PHB that is posted online.
This is how I do it too. I also have a handout with excerpts from my handbook, outlining most of the above. We discuss this and it's for them to take home.
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Old 04-10-2017, 12:30 PM
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A handbook would contain procedures, rules, regulations, anything about your services that applies to all families. The contract, like BC said, would be the finances, and would also be where you can specify any operating information that is different between families.
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Old 04-10-2017, 01:21 PM
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My handbook is 58 pages - WAY too long to read with the parent during an interview. I also have all the policies on my website, but not in the same format as the Handbook.

I email a copy of the Handbook before the interview so they can look it over and bring any questions with them. I also have all policies regarding time and money in the contract, with places for them to initial that they read the policies and agree to follow them, that I'm a mandated reporter, and that I will report unsafe transportation circumstances to the police.
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Old 04-10-2017, 01:49 PM
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Thank you Ariana, BlackCat31 and Mike for your answers! Reading this thread is really helping me a lot.

Wow, 58 pages! you all make me wonder what's missing from what I've written so far!
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Old 04-10-2017, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by dreamer View Post
Thank you Ariana, BlackCat31 and Mike for your answers! Reading this thread is really helping me a lot.

Wow, 58 pages! you all make me wonder what's missing from what I've written so far!
You'll figure that out as time goes on, or by reading here.
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Old 04-10-2017, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamer View Post
Thank you Ariana, BlackCat31 and Mike for your answers! Reading this thread is really helping me a lot.

Wow, 58 pages! you all make me wonder what's missing from what I've written so far!
Printed out mine is 10 pages easily ( front & back)... I also have all policies on my website as well as a FAQ's section... most parents that pass my phone interview are granted a 30 min Meet & greet (to see the house and finalize any last minute questions); 95% sign a contract at that meeting

I essentially let my website do the marketing for me lol
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Old 04-11-2017, 02:54 AM
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I redid mine last year and am finding I need to redo again. The major problem is parents either read it and forget or read it and ignore. So I end up sending home reminders A LOT. There has got to be a better way. I know parents have a lot going on and we are just one more entity for them to keep straight in their lives. My policies aren't that overly long so not difficult to read through and understand.
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Old 04-11-2017, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EntropyControlSpecialist View Post
I expect adults to be adults and review paperwork before saying they agree to it. Therefore, I do not read parents anything.

I provide the handbook via e-mail before the interview and ask them to read through it in its entirety. At the interview, I directly ask them if they read through it and if they have any questions. If they enroll, they sign a paper stating that they have read the parent handbook and agree to abide by its policies.

My handbook is lengthy.
Same
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Old 04-11-2017, 11:44 PM
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I have a folder with my handbook, info about myself, and other selling points. I let the parents look through it on their own for a few minutes before or after I visit with the child, depending on the child. Then we sit down and read through it. I skim over the less important common sense parts. Because my handbook is so long I do not give copies to everyone. But I do give a one page overview of the important policies as well as a page for them to write notes or questions they had. I do not give out the full handbook until they decide to enroll and have made a payment towards the deposit.
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