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Mister Sir Husband 09:53 AM 09-21-2013
My wife having been a single mom for awhile before we were married, I am trying to come up with a payment plan that would be fair to some moms that I expect to have as clients... so here is what I am thinking..

The first week of enrolment will require a weeks deposit and a weeks payment.

Everyone pays me on time and in full my weekly rate for the first month.. even if your child isn't here a day or two.

After the first month everyone gets two "free days" from me. (a free day is a day that the parents can use whenever they want or need to.. if their child isn't in care for whatever reason I don't charge them for that day.)

Every month thereafter that I am paid on time and in full another free day is added to their account.

I will be requiring that I get paid for all holidays that I am closed, but when I go on vacation every summer, I don't expect payment. Free days cannot be deducted instead of payment for holidays .. and I don't feel right collecting money for 2 weeks in August while I sit next to the ocean working on my tan.

If I am sick and have to close, I don't require payment and parents wont lose a free day.

The idea of these free days is to help out parents if their child is sick and they cant send them. I would like to avoid the idea of "well I have to pay for the day anyway, so I am sending kids" Plus if the child is home sick, the parent may have to take the day off and to have to pay me anyways doesn't seem right. Free days also come in play if the parents go on vacation. Assuming they have been paying me on time the will have a small pile of them accumulated and can go away for a week or two and not have to worry about paying me. Perhaps use the money to do some extra fun stuff with the kids.

Now I am not sure if I want to either put a cap on how many free days parents can accumulate or maybe on how many they can use at a time. I can imagine a scenario where I have had a family for a few years and they announce that they are using their free days for a vacation... all 30 of them and therefore can go 6 weeks without losing their spot. Not that this is completely horrible because if they do have that many free days it means they have paid me on time for 2 1/2 years or so..

So anyways.. what do you all think? Good idea? Too complicated perhaps? Something I am missing that could burn me?
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Michael 10:02 AM 09-21-2013
I didn't get a chance to read your post in detail. The weekends are slower here. Have you tried using our TAG search? If you search CONTRACT you can read a lot of conversations that will touch on some of your questions: http://www.daycare.com/forum/tags.php

Also search DEPOSIT and DAYS OFF.
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Mister Sir Husband 10:12 AM 09-21-2013
Originally Posted by Michael:
I didn't get a chance to read your post in detail. The weekends are slower here. Have you tried using our TAG search? If you search CONTRACT you can read a lot of conversations that will touch on some of your questions: http://www.daycare.com/forum/tags.php

Also search DEPOSIT and DAYS OFF.
Cool, thanks Michael.. I will look into this..
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Unregistered 10:55 AM 09-21-2013
Originally Posted by Mister Sir Husband:
My wife having been a single mom for awhile before we were married, I am trying to come up with a payment plan that would be fair to some moms that I expect to have as clients... so here is what I am thinking..

The first week of enrolment will require a weeks deposit and a weeks payment.

Everyone pays me on time and in full my weekly rate for the first month.. even if your child isn't here a day or two.

After the first month everyone gets two "free days" from me. (a free day is a day that the parents can use whenever they want or need to.. if their child isn't in care for whatever reason I don't charge them for that day.)

Every month thereafter that I am paid on time and in full another free day is added to their account.

I will be requiring that I get paid for all holidays that I am closed, but when I go on vacation every summer, I don't expect payment. Free days cannot be deducted instead of payment for holidays .. and I don't feel right collecting money for 2 weeks in August while I sit next to the ocean working on my tan.

If I am sick and have to close, I don't require payment and parents wont lose a free day.

The idea of these free days is to help out parents if their child is sick and they cant send them. I would like to avoid the idea of "well I have to pay for the day anyway, so I am sending kids" Plus if the child is home sick, the parent may have to take the day off and to have to pay me anyways doesn't seem right. Free days also come in play if the parents go on vacation. Assuming they have been paying me on time the will have a small pile of them accumulated and can go away for a week or two and not have to worry about paying me. Perhaps use the money to do some extra fun stuff with the kids.

Now I am not sure if I want to either put a cap on how many free days parents can accumulate or maybe on how many they can use at a time. I can imagine a scenario where I have had a family for a few years and they announce that they are using their free days for a vacation... all 30 of them and therefore can go 6 weeks without losing their spot. Not that this is completely horrible because if they do have that many free days it means they have paid me on time for 2 1/2 years or so..

So anyways.. what do you all think? Good idea? Too complicated perhaps? Something I am missing that could burn me?
I think that is a wonderful idea! I don't think it is too complicated. It is a great reward for the parents for paying you on time. I would put a cap on how many days they could use at one time. What ever you are comfortable with. If the free day was used for the child being sick, I would have them deduct payment on the next check. Just so you wouldn't have to give them money. If I wasn't hurting financially already I would add it to my contract too lol.
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MyAngels 11:08 AM 09-21-2013
It almost sounds like you're rewarding them for doing something that they should be doing anyway (paying on time). I guess if I were going to do something like that I wouldn't tie it to on time payments. You'll find some people will figure you're okay with being paid late as long as they're willing to forgo the free days - these will most likely be the people who will send their child to care open to close every day anyway.

I definitely would cap the amount of days they can accumulate and possibly reset it at the end of the year (use it or lose it).

One thing I've found after 20 years is simpler policies are always easier to enforce and get compliance on.
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GabsKids 11:14 AM 09-21-2013
I also think it is a great idea. I hear of so many employers offering vacation days to their employees that are accumulated. It seems actually, that is how most do it. That is what this reminds me of. I agree though there should be a cap on the number of days. I was thinking of suggesting they just start over with each year, but that may not work either.

For years, I didn't have my parents pay when there child was home sick or didn't come. My reasoning was the same as yours, if they don't have to pay they will more likely keep them home. I believe it did work to an extent, but occasionally I have had a family either bring their sick children anyway, or the opposite, the child was rarely at daycare a full week. Obviously not because they were sick, but if mom was sick, a sibling was sick, the list of reasons is a mile long. I honestly don't know how some of the parents are able to keep their jobs.
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Familycare71 01:45 PM 09-21-2013
I think it SOUNDS great-
But as a PP said- generally simpler is better.
I used to give parents sick days and I had some- I felt like my current parents were relived when I did away with them. Now they pay no matter if they miss but out side of paid holidays when I close they don't-so much less to keep track of.
BUT like I said- it sounds like a great idea. As a PP also said I wouldn't tie it to anything but time.
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LK5kids 04:19 AM 09-22-2013
I provide five free days, after they use the five free days they pay if their child is gone. This starts over on the anniversary of their start date for the next year. Some parents use up their free days quickly, some never use any.
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Mister Sir Husband 07:17 AM 09-22-2013
Originally Posted by LK5kids:
I provide five free days, after they use the five free days they pay if their child is gone. This starts over on the anniversary of their start date for the next year. Some parents use up their free days quickly, some never use any.
I kinda like that .. give them a few right off and be done with it. Would be easier to keep track of on my end. My idea of one a month if they pay on time is more prolly stemmed from reading too many posts on here about parents not paying on time. Has me thinking ahead that I will have a problem with this, which I may not and won't know until I open and see. Of course I am going to have the obvious rule if you don't pay you can't come back, but something for those who do pay everytime without fail would be nice.
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JoseyJo 08:14 AM 09-22-2013
Originally Posted by Mister Sir Husband:
I kinda like that .. give them a few right off and be done with it. Would be easier to keep track of on my end. My idea of one a month if they pay on time is more prolly stemmed from reading too many posts on here about parents not paying on time. Has me thinking ahead that I will have a problem with this, which I may not and won't know until I open and see. Of course I am going to have the obvious rule if you don't pay you can't come back, but something for those who do pay everytime without fail would be nice.
Seems like I am in the minority here- but I wouldn't give them any unpaid sick days. Most jobs provide PAID sick days so if they or their child is sick they are still getting paid from their job so they can still pay you.

I totally agree that simpler is better- such as "if you are absent when I am open you pay, if I take a day off you don't"

You DO have to be firm on your policies-

DONT allow late payments, require payments in advance of services - "If you don't pay you dont stay"

DONT allow a sick child to be dropped off (or if they get sick in care require p/u) - no excuses, if they have exclude-able symptoms they are excluded

DO be nicely firm about your contract, remind parents that this is your business and livelyhood, and you are responsible for keeping all of the children and yourself healthy.

Some parents will try to get over on you no matter what you do- you don't want those parents anyway!
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Unregistered 08:34 AM 09-22-2013
This is very simple, no need to reward bad behaviour, No pay, No stay.
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Cradle2crayons 09:10 AM 09-22-2013
Originally Posted by JoseyJo:
Seems like I am in the minority here- but I wouldn't give them any unpaid sick days. Most jobs provide PAID sick days so if they or their child is sick they are still getting paid from their job so they can still pay you.

I totally agree that simpler is better- such as "if you are absent when I am open you pay, if I take a day off you don't"

You DO have to be firm on your policies-

DONT allow late payments, require payments in advance of services - "If you don't pay you dont stay"

DONT allow a sick child to be dropped off (or if they get sick in care require p/u) - no excuses, if they have exclude-able symptoms they are excluded

DO be nicely firm about your contract, remind parents that this is your business and livelyhood, and you are responsible for keeping all of the children and yourself healthy.

Some parents will try to get over on you no matter what you do- you don't want those parents anyway!
perfect

I don't reward behavior I EXPECT. I EXPECT parents to pay ON TIME. I do very few holidays because I know that my parents don't get paid sick or paid vacation days so I do try to be fair.

Since most of the families I deal with are single moms with very little family support, I do my best to be flexible.

BUT. This is my income.

If the rule at my daycare is no children aren't allowed to open the door, then I expect that rule to be followed 100% of the time. I don't reward them every time they don't open the door. Of course, I may give em verbal rewards but if its something I expect from all children, it's simply expected.

I admire you wanting to be supportive of single parents. And they appreciate it to. If I didn't need the income, I would be able to be more flexible.
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DEBBIES DAYCARE 05:05 AM 09-23-2013
I was a single parent for many years and I appreciate when someone empathizes, but keep these things in mind....
Back when I was alone with the kids, I struggled as your wife did, but there wasn't as many resources as there are now. Today's single parent gets assistance with rent, heat, food, daycare cost, heck, they even get a cell phone. Some will complain its not enough. It probably still requires a lot of sacrifice. Just don't be too much of a hero for these people. Heroism is commendable, but it don't pay the rent. Especially if you have a business to run and a family of your own.
I'm not saying you shouldn't help. But rewarding for on time payments IMO is too much...or worded wrong maybe. They are SUPPOSED pay on time, like many are saying...why reward that? And investigate if single parents are getting paid at work if they are absent. Probably yes. I also wonder, if you reward your parents that pay, what do you do with the ones that don't?
Here's what I do for my hard working folks, single parents included.
I accept Care for Kids State assistance, not every one does.
I give their child quality care so they don't have to worry
I let my parents drop off their kids in pajamas and Ill get them dressed and fed.
I feed their children healthy meals, breakfast, lunch, snacks and milk included in tuition
I threaten to refuse care if you are late paying, in my contract...but if a parent who I trust, asks for a few days, I agree.
I open at 5am the day after Thanksgiving for the crazy shoppers and don't charge extra
I stay opened where some day cares close....new years eve, columbus, veterans, the friday after Thanksgiving.
I offer Saturday care for the working parent if they need it ( not free)

Just be careful...some see kindness as weakness, as the saying goes.
Oh and I think keeping track of all that is mind boggling to me.
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harperluu 05:20 AM 09-23-2013
I guess I read this a little differently than rewarding for paying on time. I offer accumulated vacation time. I used to give 10 days right up front, but I've had several families start, take two weeks vacation and then give me notice a month later. A few years ago I added the accumulating vacation time to my policy. It all resets on Jan 1 each year. You use it or lose it. They only accumulate 10 days total for the year.

It was a way for me to resolve the problem I was having with people taking their vacation all at once and then leaving, or those starting late in the year and squeezing 10 days in right around Christmastime. All my clients pay on time, so it had nothing to do with that. I would just leave that part out or have it read "if your account is in good standing," something like that...
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MrsSteinel'sHouse 05:37 AM 09-23-2013
ok you're wanting to give a break to "single moms" generally all my single moms qualify for state assistance.
But, now you have someone who can easily write a check every month at the beginning of the month for the month. They take oh my vacations, drive really nice cars, their one yr old has an ipad of his own etc... They now get 5 days a month free of paying you. So they send jr to grandmas or take that day off etc and now your only getting paid for 3 weeks a month... are you going to resent that?
My assistance moms have a copay. At one point I didn't collect that. THen I quickly realized that they need that responsibility!! They need to pay for part of their care.
I have been doing this for 16 years. You may have compassion from time to time but don't go into this thinking you want to give everyone a break.
I do like the idea of "earning vacation time" for them. But, all my parents pay on time otherwise I wouldn't be watching them.
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MotherNature 06:48 AM 09-23-2013
I provide 7 freebie days a year to myself and parents as well, in addition to their nonpaid vacation week and my 2 weeks paid vacation and my paid holidays. The 7 days are for my training, a dr appt that needs to occur during business hrs, a sick day, etc. Same for parents..they do not accrue & rollover though.
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jenn 07:07 AM 09-23-2013
Sounds good, but I wouldn't want to keep track of it.

At the beginning of each calendar year I give my parents 12 free days to use during the year. They can use these days for any day that their child is contracted to be in care, but is absent. I allow only 2 days per week to be used as free days. If at any time during the year they are late on their payment, their remaining days go away.
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butterfly 08:03 AM 09-23-2013
Originally Posted by jenn:
Sounds good, but I wouldn't want to keep track of it.

At the beginning of each calendar year I give my parents 12 free days to use during the year. They can use these days for any day that their child is contracted to be in care, but is absent. I allow only 2 days per week to be used as free days. If at any time during the year they are late on their payment, their remaining days go away.
I don't give free days unless I am the one who needs to close due to illness or vacation. It's just another thing to track and budget for. I like the idea, but I don't want another thing to have to keep track of. I have enough work to do.
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Scout 08:30 AM 09-23-2013
I give two weeks worth of free days after 90 days at a higher rate or they can pay whether their child is in attendence or not at a lower rate. This way it is their choice and I still can attract clients. I used to do all free days but, wanted to charge more but, still get people in the door so, I started this new policy. So far, so good!! Holidays are paid after 90 days because if thy earn their free days I should earn my holiday pay.Any time I am closed I dont charge as well, which I think is good business. Best of luck to you!!
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melilley 12:08 PM 09-23-2013
I don't give any free sick days. I do give families that are here for 90 days or more 1 free week of vacation per calendar year of the starting date and they has to be taken consecutively. If you are contracted for 3 days, you get 3, 5 days you get 5. I do have one paid vacation an year and one non paid a year plus paid holidays and 5 sick/educational/personal days per year( I haven't used one of these yet). I have had no complaints.

I also agree with other pp's-stay firm on your payment policy. I personally wouldn't award them for paying on time. Like my dh says "you have a monthly car payment, mortgage, etc.. that you have to pay on time, childcare is the same. Your lending co. doesn't give you a break for paying on time".
Being too nice can backfire. I know from experience. I still tend to be too nice though. It's just my nature
I guess it's all up to you and the perks you want to give your families and what you are comfortable with.
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melilley 12:11 PM 09-23-2013
Originally Posted by Scout:
I give two weeks worth of free days after 90 days at a higher rate or they can pay whether their child is in attendence or not at a lower rate. This way it is their choice and I still can attract clients. I used to do all free days but, wanted to charge more but, still get people in the door so, I started this new policy. So far, so good!! Holidays are paid after 90 days because if thy earn their free days I should earn my holiday pay.Any time I am closed I dont charge as well, which I think is good business. Best of luck to you!!
Interesting, I like this idea! I do charge if I am closed, but it's only a max of 5 days a year (I haven't even used one yet though) plus one paid vacation, but they get a free vac. week also.
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littlemissmuffet 12:41 PM 09-23-2013
In my experience, the more complicated you make your policies the more loopholes parents try and screw you over with. Simple is better.

I don't give breaks to ANY of my daycares parents, single or not. There are endless programs out there to help - and I find that most "single" parents these days have well-off partners, are getting their nails done, wearing name-brand clothing, driving expensive cars and texting on iPhones.

I paint my own nails, wear from walmart, don't even own a car and have a cheapo old school flip phone... and I'm doing just fine

I have changed my policies many times over the years (as I suspect everyone here has)... as you deal with more parents (especially this new generation of self-entitled parents) your policies will just naturally evolve to work for you as new situations come up.
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Margarete 01:37 PM 09-23-2013
I am in the process of writing a contract and want to include some free days too. I want to encourage and support families spending time together (has nothing to do with what their family make up is). I will have a slightly higher rate then I would otherwise to accommodate this. These are all great idea's to think about, I should definitely cap the days, and I was thinking of requiring advance notice for at least some of those days 'vacation' time, (my own and theirs) so everyone can plan accordingly. I want to schedule a week vacation in the summer for me, with at least a months notice (and encourage them to take their vacations at the same time).
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cheerfuldom 02:26 PM 09-23-2013
I didnt read thru all the responses but I dont provide free days. I dont see it benefitting anyone but the parents and as I am a business, I always choose the business side that will benefit me. It sounds like extra stuff to deal with, extra things that might cause confrontations and hurt feelings with parents.....too much extra trouble.
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jenn 05:56 PM 09-23-2013
I agree that as providers we deserve to be paid for time off. I think it is fair to charge to parents for holidays and for days they take off. The main reason I do free days and don't charge for my days off, is really just marketing. I live in a big city with a lot of competition, so offering a little extra helps keep my positions full.
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BBDC 06:04 PM 09-23-2013
I give my families as many days a week they come they get that many free days a year, but really most families have never used them!
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JoseyJo 06:19 PM 09-23-2013
Originally Posted by BBDC:
I give my families as many days a week they come they get that many free days a year, but really most families have never used them!
That may very well be what happens- maybe some people want their kids to go to daycare sick not so much because they have to pay anyway but because they want US to deal w/ their sick kid not them!
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Sunshine75 09:32 AM 09-30-2013
I have it worked in my contract that parents get one free week of vacation time a year based on starting date. I also have two weeks paid vacation knowing they have backups they don't have to pay and because quite frankly most employers give their employees at least two weeks paid a year for them to use. They can choose to take their weeks based on my vacation schedule or not. Plus, when they don't pay me for one week they are banking that pay to use when I take off if they need it. Also, I have paid sick days. When my job requires me to work with children who are getting sick often and I am rarely sick, (before starting a daycare), if I get sick due to watching a child who is brought to me sick I am going to be paid for that day I need to rest. Plus, most parents honestly love when you take a sick day. They call their employer and none times out of ten they have sick days so they stay home with their child and watch some tv with pay.
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My3cents 10:31 AM 09-30-2013
Originally Posted by JoseyJo:
Seems like I am in the minority here- but I wouldn't give them any unpaid sick days. Most jobs provide PAID sick days so if they or their child is sick they are still getting paid from their job so they can still pay you.

I totally agree that simpler is better- such as "if you are absent when I am open you pay, if I take a day off you don't"

You DO have to be firm on your policies-

DONT allow late payments, require payments in advance of services - "If you don't pay you dont stay"

DONT allow a sick child to be dropped off (or if they get sick in care require p/u) - no excuses, if they have exclude-able symptoms they are excluded

DO be nicely firm about your contract, remind parents that this is your business and livelyhood, and you are responsible for keeping all of the children and yourself healthy.

Some parents will try to get over on you no matter what you do- you don't want those parents anyway!
no not the minority.

I am working, so I have to depend upon a steady income in order to do what I do. My clients pay no matter if in attendance or not. I can't run my business that way. My bills are not going to wait. I have three sick days a year that are paid to me. If I use them great, if I don't then I was not sick enough to use them. If I go over three days then I wouldn't charge my parents. I have never used my sick days. Burn out happens to providers when they don't set up good rules, regulations, policies, have a good clear handbook and policy in place. This is not a help the world job to me. I am working to better myself and my family. I need a reliable income. I pick and choose how I want to do charity, usually at Christmas time I do a lot then. I also do good deeds through out the year. I don't leave much room for negotiation with my job. I work hard. Having children is pricey and paying for them is part of it. I make the choice to do good onto others in other areas of my life. My income that supports my family is not to be played with or made to be negotiable. Just how I feel
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My3cents 10:37 AM 09-30-2013
Originally Posted by littlemissmuffet:
In my experience, the more complicated you make your policies the more loopholes parents try and screw you over with. Simple is better.

I don't give breaks to ANY of my daycares parents, single or not. There are endless programs out there to help - and I find that most "single" parents these days have well-off partners, are getting their nails done, wearing name-brand clothing, driving expensive cars and texting on iPhones.

I paint my own nails, wear from walmart, don't even own a car and have a cheapo old school flip phone... and I'm doing just fine

I have changed my policies many times over the years (as I suspect everyone here has)... as you deal with more parents (especially this new generation of self-entitled parents) your policies will just naturally evolve to work for you as new situations come up.

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My3cents 10:55 AM 09-30-2013
I get two paid weeks of vacation a year- my parents gladly pay this and know that it is essential to me. IF it is an issue a parent can pay me a little each week up until my vacation......never a problem.

I have three sick days, two personal days paid

most holidays off, and if 4th of july lands on tuesday or thursday I get the monday and friday off.

I take these days off paid because it helps me to regroup and be a better provider just as all the days the parents get off from work to rejuvenate help them. I work hard for my family, so having time to be a family is important to me. I look forward to these days. I work hard, I have long hours, and I am dedicated when I am working.

During Christmas I give my parents a free night out to shop, or have a date night amongst the hustle and bustle of the season. I do a Christmas party with the kids.

I celebrate all my kids birthdays and Christmas and Halloween, Easter and Valentines Day and St.Patty's Day. I go above and beyond on these days for my kiddo's Mothers Day and Fathers Day too. I celebrate small on smaller celebrations....but I take note of special days and try to do something-

I keep my group size small so that I can give a lot of attention to my group and I love what I do! I love my JOB- but I must get paid well for my JOB because I work hard at my JOB.

I respect that everyone does things the way that works best for them, but if you go into this thinking your going to do charity work- you will no doubt in my mind burn out in no time at all. I plan to do this till I can't anymore. This is not a fly by night JOB to me, this is what I have chosen to do as my career. I want to do it well, in order for me to be able to do that I need to be treated well and so that is how I roll-
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Sunshine75 01:30 PM 09-30-2013
Ditto my3cents! My thoughts exactly! I work hard and have long hours. I have a small group and the parents know I will keep it that way so I can give a reasonable amount of time to each child, many times one on one. I also have contracted hours so that when they are done working the parents know it's time to get their little ones not work out or go grocery shopping on my time. After all, that takes me time away from my family and I have supper, etc that I need to make for them. My friend who dropped her kids off at daycare thought I was being extreme. She said, your hours are 7-5 so families should be able to drop off anytime within that range and pick up as well. I explained that I work and have those hours to accommodate a families varied work hours with the kids I'm watching not to be available for all my families ten hours a day five days a week.
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Blackcat31 08:53 AM 10-01-2013
I think giving breaks to single moms is like punishing parents who aren't single....kwim?

Most single parents have a myriad of things available to help them out....there really is NO reason why a single parent deserves a discount over anyone else.
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