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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Could Use Some Emotional Support....
Unregistered 08:57 AM 07-05-2018
This post is a little unconventional as I have already decided to stop providing in-home childcare. I suddenly lost my job of two and a half years earlier this year, and came to the conclusion that offering in-home childcare was my best option for work considering my own inability to find childcare we could afford and a number of other reasons. I did tons of research, I was experienced and had worked with kids in an educational environment for years, I had my own kids, I had worked very stressful jobs as a CNA before....I thought I was prepared and that I could make this work.

Boy was I wrong. I am 3 months in and this has been a nightmare. I went against everything I had read in the beginning and didn't require a contract or set any boundaries. After the first family did EVERYTHING wrong (didn't pay, had an unruly undisciplined child, sometimes dropped off at 6am/ sometimes noon - constantly asked for over-night care at the last minute and would get mad when I said no and asked for them to come pick up their child, and I could go on) and another family lead me on for a month stating their kids needed just a little more time before they'd start.....only to finally just not show up and never call or text, cheating me out of tons of money I could've made if I had found another family instead. After those issues (I know - my own fault for thinking you could trust people) I got really strict and made contracts and set clear rules.

So I get several more families to work with. Thought I had interviewed them well enough and they seemed trustworthy. I felt bad because they all seemed to have such a hard time finding care before me (I now know why). I soon realized I had ended up with a toddler who screams at the top of her lungs constantly throughout the day, she hits and kicks, and snatches toys from everyone - screaming when you discipline her in any way - even if it's just asking her to stop doing something. I have an older boy who pees in random places all over my bathroom (on purpose - I've watched him. He knows how to use the toilet). And a baby who screams any time you put her down for even a second, sometimes she screams even when you hold her- I've had two babies so I know they are hard sometimes, but this is next level. she WILL NOT NAP unless rocked in a completely dark and quiet room for 30 minutes to an hour (which I obviously can not do) - I have never seen a baby this age that would go days on end without taking a single nap during the day. I was supposed to start watching 2 other kids and had to tell them I couldn't watch them after all because these 3 ended up being so demanding.

I realized I would need to terminate care for at least 2 of them, but when I started thinking about finding new children to fill their spot I realized I just have no desire to do this. I'm traumatized now. And oh my gosh do people lie! I have realized now that all of these families were having a hard time finding care before because their children were being kicked out or refused services.

Anyway - this is mostly me venting, but also asking for support because I still have two weeks notice to get through. Like an idiot I put in my contract that I would provide a two weeks notice if I couldn't offer care anymore, with no exceptions or special circumstances. So I just need some emotional support for getting through these next 2 weeks, and then I'm done with this. To all of you who are doing this well and surviving - you're superheroes. This is definitely not a job for just anyone. So, what do you all do on your very worst days? How do you get through?

Additionally, if anyone does think I can somehow get out of a two weeks notice, I'd love to hear your thoughts. But since it's in my agreement and I'd feel bad, awful kids or not, leaving someone suddenly without any childcare.
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Josiegirl 09:05 AM 07-05-2018
Two weeks can seem like a long time BUT at the end of each day, I'd pat myself on the back for making it through and maybe have a glass of wine(or Ben and Jerry's), put my feet up and breathe slowly. Maybe dcps will pull before the 2 week limit? And don't let anyone talk you into 'oh can you just keep my baby 1 more week? I can't find anyone!!!!'
When moments become difficult I keep taking deep breaths and saying this too shall pass. You have a light at the end of the tunnel. Do you have anything in your policies about immediate termination due to violent or destructive behavior, non payment, anything that you can use? If not, I'd write something up for your 2 weeks notice, saying nonpayment, or rude disrespectful behavior warrants immediate termination. Don't feel bad. These dcfs are making choices; don't suffer because of them.
Oh and if the dcks are really terribly challenging, separate them into different rooms, or place each one in their own space with a few toys and let them stay there for 30 minutes. Won't hurt them and will give you a bit of a break. Be stern about payment....no pay no stay.
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boy_mom 09:23 AM 07-05-2018
First.... deep breathes!!

Secondly, child care is super hard and very stressful so don't feel alone. We have all been there! Your post felt like a description of my first year as a provider!

If you can, get outside as much as possible the next two weeks, I found that helped me recenter and the kids love it! Sprinklers, kiddie pools and picnics will help pass the time. I would also update parents that excessive crying/screaming are grounds for early pick up, effective immediately. Kids crying really put me on edge and at a certain point you have to place the consequence back on the parents.

I would also spend the two weeks soul searching- what do you want out of this business? Once you have decided, create your contract and business plan based on that criteria. DO NOT adjust for any new families, because the right ones will come along who will be happy with your program as it is! Make sure you include some paid time off, possibly shorten your hours of operation and charge enough money to make sure you don't have financial worries on top of the stress working with children can bring!

Plan something relaxing for yourself to do in the evenings for the next two weeks. Get yourself out of the house, even if it's just taking your kids on a walk or to a neighbors to play.

The only reason I didn't close up shop and finally began enjoying my job was because I became super strict as a business owner. I truly focused on what worked for me and my family and not the other way around! As you have found, families will do anything to make child care work for them, so you have to be strong and let them know what you are offering as a business owner is not up for negotiation. TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT

I hope things become a little less stressful and the two weeks pass quickly. There are great resources available here for writing contracts and advice on working with parents. Definitely stick around, this forum changed the way I ran my business, it was a life saver!!
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Ariana 09:27 AM 07-05-2018
Put the tv on! I know it sounds bad but if you are truly at the end of your rope and canít see a way through with crazy kids then do it for your sanity. Parents nowadays habe zero control over their kids and they somehow think its funny.
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Unregistered 09:49 AM 07-05-2018
Originally Posted by Josiegirl:
Two weeks can seem like a long time BUT at the end of each day, I'd pat myself on the back for making it through and maybe have a glass of wine(or Ben and Jerry's), put my feet up and breathe slowly. Maybe dcps will pull before the 2 week limit? And don't let anyone talk you into 'oh can you just keep my baby 1 more week? I can't find anyone!!!!'
When moments become difficult I keep taking deep breaths and saying this too shall pass. You have a light at the end of the tunnel. Do you have anything in your policies about immediate termination due to violent or destructive behavior, non payment, anything that you can use? If not, I'd write something up for your 2 weeks notice, saying nonpayment, or rude disrespectful behavior warrants immediate termination. Don't feel bad. These dcfs are making choices; don't suffer because of them.
Oh and if the dcks are really terribly challenging, separate them into different rooms, or place each one in their own space with a few toys and let them stay there for 30 minutes. Won't hurt them and will give you a bit of a break. Be stern about payment....no pay no stay.
This is all excellent advice - THANK YOU! I did put in the contract that care could be terminated for certain behavior issues after I had made the problems clearly communicated and given the parents plenty of time to attempt to work with me to resolve the issue first. I have talked to each of the parents with the issues, but I haven't directly said, "This needs to happen or they can't continue to come." Since I've already decided I don't want to do this anymore regardless, I feel like it's too late to attempt to do that or terminate care early, without notice.

Thank you for the reminder about not going past my 2 week notice. I am terrible at saying no, and I think you're completely right. These are all definitely that kind of parents that would say they couldn't find anyone and ask me to keep going. I need to be firm. I am also hoping they will take them out early. I'm even going to tell them they don't have to pay me for the full two weeks if they'd like to take them out early. Hoping maybe that will encourage them to leave sooner, and hopefully no one will try to skip out on paying for the care I have given.
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Unregistered 09:53 AM 07-05-2018
Originally Posted by Ariana:
Put the tv on! I know it sounds bad but if you are truly at the end of your rope and canít see a way through with crazy kids then do it for your sanity. Parents nowadays habe zero control over their kids and they somehow think its funny.
Before doing this, I thought my kids were bad. It's at least nice to know that I have actually done a fairly decent job in raising them so far considering the contrast in behavior with other kids. But you're right about the TV. Totally been doing that. In the beginning, I had so many plans and lessons and schedules and quickly realized that wasn't going to work with this group. They can't follow directions or behave long enough to do anything special or constructive. So we've cut way back on the supervised activities and are doing a lot more TV, unfortunately. But I don't feel so bad about it now that I've decided to not keep providing care.
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e.j. 10:47 AM 07-05-2018
Originally Posted by Unregistered:
This is all excellent advice - THANK YOU! I did put in the contract that care could be terminated for certain behavior issues after I had made the problems clearly communicated and given the parents plenty of time to attempt to work with me to resolve the issue first. I have talked to each of the parents with the issues, but I haven't directly said, "This needs to happen or they can't continue to come." Since I've already decided I don't want to do this anymore regardless, I feel like it's too late to attempt to do that or terminate care early, without notice.

Thank you for the reminder about not going past my 2 week notice. I am terrible at saying no, and I think you're completely right. These are all definitely that kind of parents that would say they couldn't find anyone and ask me to keep going. I need to be firm. I am also hoping they will take them out early. I'm even going to tell them they don't have to pay me for the full two weeks if they'd like to take them out early. Hoping maybe that will encourage them to leave sooner, and hopefully no one will try to skip out on paying for the care I have given.
So parents owe you money for care you gave previously? If that's the case, I'd send home a note today stating that you're adopting a no pay/no stay policy for the next 2 weeks. In order to receive care for the next 2 weeks, all outstanding tuition payments have to be paid in full by this coming Monday. Tuition for the next 2 weeks has to be paid prior to care as well. Worst case, they'll leave without paying up but you'll at least be rid of them and you won't get taken for another 2 weeks of free care. Best case, you get paid for the work you've already done and for the care you provide for the next 2 weeks.
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Unregistered 12:43 PM 07-05-2018
Originally Posted by e.j.:
So parents owe you money for care you gave previously? If that's the case, I'd send home a note today stating that you're adopting a no pay/no stay policy for the next 2 weeks. In order to receive care for the next 2 weeks, all outstanding tuition payments have to be paid in full by this coming Monday. Tuition for the next 2 weeks has to be paid prior to care as well. Worst case, they'll leave without paying up but you'll at least be rid of them and you won't get taken for another 2 weeks of free care. Best case, you get paid for the work you've already done and for the care you provide for the next 2 weeks.
I am allowing 2 parents to pay me at the end of the week instead of the beginning. It hasnít been a problem but Iím worried when it comes down to their last week they wonít pay me that Friday as they normally would.
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LysesKids 01:19 PM 07-05-2018
Originally Posted by Unregistered:
I am allowing 2 parents to pay me at the end of the week instead of the beginning. It hasnít been a problem but Iím worried when it comes down to their last week they wonít pay me that Friday as they normally would.
This is why most of us require fees be paid in advance of care... no pay, no stay; I got burned to many times my first year, so I changed how I do things; Now I take nothing but bi-monthly/monthly pay IN ADVANCE. Takes a little longer to sign people, but I get a better clientele
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Josiegirl 02:32 PM 07-05-2018
Definitely let them know right away they'll need to pay you Monday for that week, otherwise I'd be surprised if someone didn't skip out on paying you.

Good luck! Sometimes, just knowing you've made that final decision with an end date, it's easier to make it through the 2 weeks.
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CalCare 02:40 PM 07-05-2018
I'm sorry it's been rough! I have a thing I do, to get through hard times, boring times, annoying times, anything I don't like. This is very silly. But I got the idea from Saved By The Bell. 😆 You know on TV shows, the teens would have to take a test or whatever and they would zone out and the clock would fast forward and they would be past it and suddenly all relieved... I honestly imagine this in my life lol I think, 'this will be over soon and I'll be looking back at it and it will seem like it went by so fast..' I remember to other ****ty times and how they are now nothing in the grand scheme of my life. I try to think about how I will remember it, what will the memory be like, can I find a way to look back and laugh- and if so, can I laugh at it now- at all? Good luck! Two weeks will fly by 💆
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Unregistered 04:50 PM 07-05-2018
Originally Posted by CalCare:
I'm sorry it's been rough! I have a thing I do, to get through hard times, boring times, annoying times, anything I don't like. This is very silly. But I got the idea from Saved By The Bell. 😆 You know on TV shows, the teens would have to take a test or whatever and they would zone out and the clock would fast forward and they would be past it and suddenly all relieved... I honestly imagine this in my life lol I think, 'this will be over soon and I'll be looking back at it and it will seem like it went by so fast..' I remember to other ****ty times and how they are now nothing in the grand scheme of my life. I try to think about how I will remember it, what will the memory be like, can I find a way to look back and laugh- and if so, can I laugh at it now- at all? Good luck! Two weeks will fly by 💆
Thatís a great idea! Ha ha. I love it. And I needed to hear something like that. Iím sure looking back 2 weeks wonít seem like it was that long, but from the other side of it it feels like an eternity!
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Unregistered 04:52 PM 07-05-2018
Originally Posted by LysesKids:
This is why most of us require fees be paid in advance of care... no pay, no stay; I got burned to many times my first year, so I changed how I do things; Now I take nothing but bi-monthly/monthly pay IN ADVANCE. Takes a little longer to sign people, but I get a better clientele
Thatís smart. I think thatís the problem. I was so worried about going without pay that I charged too little, was too lenient, and Iím working terrible hours. And therefore it attracted all the wrong kinds of people and burned me out fast. Now I know if I ever get brave enough to try again.
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LysesKids 07:40 PM 07-05-2018
Originally Posted by Unregistered:
Thatís smart. I think thatís the problem. I was so worried about going without pay that I charged too little, was too lenient, and Iím working terrible hours. And therefore it attracted all the wrong kinds of people and burned me out fast. Now I know if I ever get brave enough to try again.
I technically have no set hours, however I only interview families that request between certain ones; I offer drop-in (pay by the day, no guarantee) between 6a-9pm, however most my regular FT clients request between 7a-6p so if a FT client wants 6-6 they pay more than a 7-3 each week, however I still charge monthly (or bi-monthly); my vacation days/time off is figured into fees already, so no figuring out this month has 4 weeks, this one has 5 garbage... its the same fee each & every month with no discount for when I am closed
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Tags:daycare environment, no pay no play, overwhelmed, stressed
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