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  #1  
Old 10-06-2011, 04:37 PM
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Default Kids Ran Off In The Park!

Hi All,
I am registered but posting without logging in because of the situation. Let me first say I am super upset and at a loss of of what to do and feeling like closing the daycare down and would appreciate any advise or support you guys can give me.

I have a small daycare with 6 kids max. We had six today and my assistant and I took the kids in the strollers to the park. We do this usually 2X a week for the last more than one year and the park is so fun for them, we have never had a problem. I have one girl who is a "runner" and she does often start running off away from the group. She is just turned 2 this summer, I usually give her 1-2 warnings then put her in the stroller if she keeps running off. We have another boy who is the same age and these two play together all the time. Well, today I have one infant with me and we are all together playing, I turned to put the baby in the stroller, then looked up and counted and we were missing 2 kids! My assistant didn't see which way they went and I didn't either. She looked one way I ran down the trail a ways to try to catch up with them. I didn't see them, she didn't see them. I keep going around looking and calling and she started asking other people in the park if they had seen them. Finally just as I was about the call the police two of the people we had asked found them and brought them back. I was so stressed and crying and upset. I guess we are not going back to the park for a long, long time. But that really sucks since I try let them be in nature often. Both kids don't really understand, I tried to talk to them, but they don't get it. I'm not sure if there is even a point to tell the parents, since they would probably just get upset and not be able to do much else. Anyways, I feel awful, but I didn't do anything wrong, I was paying attention the whole time and counting the kids as I always do. Those two are just runners and got together and went! Thanks for reading and any advise.

Last edited by Michael; 10-06-2011 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 10-06-2011, 05:11 PM
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First off hugs to you...nothing worse than a scare like that.
I also have six kids and take them to the park on my own. We dont have far to go, but we do have to cross a major street.

I am what some might consider very strict about park rules. But it has to be this way so that I dont have an accident. This is why its so important that the kids spend time with thier parents doing these things as well. They can't get hurt on my dime.

One of them is that we play as a group, you must stay with the group, no more than 15-25 feet away. I tell the kids if you go too far away and something happens to you, I wont be able to help you anymore. Like what if a stranger comes or a dog comes to the park. I am not trying to scare them, I am being honest.

If I were you, I would just take a deep breath. Dont cancel your park trips. It's not fair to those that are behaving well on the outtings.

Next time when you go, either you or your assistant will need to take these two kids under your wing and not let them more than 15 feet away from you. Always be a step behind. If they start to take off, then in the cart they go. let them know what can happen if they wonder off. Especially now that they took off and got lost, that must have been scary for them too.

I don't think I would discuss it with the parents, as there is nothing that they can really do other than complain, but then again the gulit might eat at me and i would say something to them taht becuase of their behavior, that you are worried they will not be able to participate in park days.

I added to my PHB taht any child that acts up and causes stress to the group or takes my attention away from the group and cant participate in a normal manner will asked to be picked up by parents.

I hope that others have some good advice...

Last edited by daycare; 10-06-2011 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 10-06-2011, 05:14 PM
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Other field trip disasters: http://daycare.com/forum/showthread.php?t=28336

http://daycare.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24236

A walking rope idea that help to and from the park: http://daycare.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23251

Last edited by Michael; 10-06-2011 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 10-06-2011, 05:25 PM
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I'll start by saying that I HAVE lost a child before, actually, the same child twice. I understand the fear that comes with that.

I disagree with you in that you did do something wrong. You know that this child is a runner, which means that YOU have to have a visual on her at all times. I currently have 2 runners that are very quiet when they're getting ready to run, which means I have to know the second their feet move.

Do not give up your outings, just try to be more vigilant with the runners.

As for telling the parents, I would tell. You never know when little Suzy pops up with telling the Mom that Mary and Johnny got lost at the park today. I want the parents to hear it from me first.
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Old 10-06-2011, 06:00 PM
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I just remembered a letter that I sent out about 5 years ago regarding park play. I had a kid that got his nose broken because a child was going up the slide when a child was going down the slide. After that, all play equipment had to be used as it is intended to be used. We go down slides not up.

I think I would write a letter and address all parents via email tonight or print one for take home.
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:16 PM
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I mean, going to the park is a privelege. Before I go anywhere, I tell the kids the rules and what the consequences will be either at the park or when we get home. I think you and your assistant need to divide the children up and each take 3 kids. And at the age of 2 they are not young that they don't understand, they knew enough to run away.
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:33 PM
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I would be honest with the parents. I would rather find out from my DCM than from someone spilling the beans later.

I also disagree with the statement that they don't know better. I think they need to be held accountable. I had one boy who was 2 yrs 10 months who tried to run away- intentionally looking back and me and laughing while I was following him- and I addressed it with mom that night. This was a number of months ago. He is over 3 now. He still holds on to the stroller EVERYDAY, EVERY WALK because he can not control himself enough not to. I have tried about 5 times this summer to see if he can go without holding on while on small outings where he and my son are the only two (other kids already picked up) and he still tests if he can run away. Then he is reminded why he can not be trusted to walk anywhere outside alone.

When I take this child to the park I am eagle eyes on him b/c I know what he would like to do. Our park has a concrete curbing around the outside and EVERYTIME we go to the park he has to walk the outside boundry BEFORE entering to play. He knows we stay inside the "rubber park" as we call it. If he tests 1x he sits the remainder of the trip. Sounds harsh but really safety is my 1st priority and I know he is fully aware of his actions.

I think you need to make a plan for you and your assistant to keep track of these little ones. Who will be watching who? What are you going to do if one runs off? What is the consequence? Talk to mom, maybe she has ideas. Maybe she has this concern too.

I wouldnt let one runner- and one follower- ruin trips for you.
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:50 PM
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Tot-a-longs! If the child is too little to walk, they are in a stroller. All walkers have a tot-a-long on their wrist and mine. If you can't trust these 2, they must keep the tot-a-long on and not be more than 5 feet from you or your assistant.

Playing is a priviledge. These children won't learn unless there are reprocussions and they are held accountable.

If this isn't an option, I would consider taking the other children to the park and leaving the runners with your assistant at home.
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:12 PM
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First let me say that anyone who has done child care for any length of time has made mistakes that could be the difference of life/death or serious injury. No matter what proffession you are in when you are caring for human beings you are going to make human mistakes. I have made a handfull of mistakes that if luck wasn't on my side I could have lost a child and lost my nurse's licensce and my ability to take care of kids.

These "near misses" incidences are there to teach you a life lesson. One part of the lesson is learning what to do when you make a serious mistake and what you must do to not repeat it.

I believe that you are making a serious mistake in not telling the parents about this for a number of reasons. The first one is that the parents have a right to decide for themselves whether or not this error is grounds to remove their child from their care. They are trusting you to care for their child every day when they drop them off. Not giving them the truth means their choice is not made willingly and with full knowledge of your abilities and your judgement.

Your decision to spare them is really to spare yourself. You are either worried that they will remove the children and possibly report this or you are worried that they will be upset. Please don't fool yourself into thinking that ignorance is bliss. If you do that, I can promise that eventually they will find this out. Your nondisclosure makes this SO much worse because you are robbing them of the decisions they need to make and their ability to exact the consequences they may deem necessary.

If you tell them the truth and they accept that it is an error in judgement and believe you have put in the safety measures to insure it won't happen again then you can move on and count this as a serious life lesson. If you hide this it will haunt you and will eventually land back in your lap in a much worse case then then it is today.

I do not agree that the children have ANY responsibility in this. You are their leader and you must be able to determine whether they can manage their physical environment without danger. That's your job to monitor... not theirs.

The next thing is that you must deconstruct this and figure out where your mistake is. I believe that you have overestimated your supervision abilities and that having a second person lulled you into a false sense of supervision. When you have TWO responsible people often the personal responsibilities lessens or becomes gray causing the actual security and supervision to lessen.

So when you are with your helper you have to recognize that having her help comes at a price. The price is that your guard drops. Your heightened sense of alertness is quelled by a false sense that there is safety in numbers.

You defeat this by having SPECIFIC assisgnments of responsibility so that you each have less to do by dividing then more to do by sharing.

I have a helper who is highly trained by me......... hand trained for 2.5 years and I can promise you that there has NEVER been a day when we have taken six little kids to a park and let them free play in a wide open space. I don't do that because I KNOW that I do NOT have the skill to pull that off and my helper sure doesn't.

I'm not saying it's not possible but I can say for sure that "I" can't manage it. The kids we have require WAY too much supervision to remain safe minute to minute then us two adults could offer.

When we do go to the park we only do it when we have low numbers and when we have at most.. ONE of our two year olds. Our two year olds need direct proximal supervision every second they are on equipment and when they are free walking.

Please consider "tot a longs". http://www.amazon.com/Safety-1st-Bab.../dp/B000XPV4CK

They are elastic bands that have velcro closures on both ends. They can attach to the childs wrist and to you or your stroller. I use them every day on every kid every time we walk out of the house. These would come in handy at the park for you to attach the kids to you but still give them some room to move around within a few feet of you.

Please please please reconsider telling the parents and having the OPEN conversation you NEED to have with them and your licensor about this mistake. Do it for the kids, your helper, and yourself. The parents deserve to know. Your staff assistant needs to see you be HONEST and face up to this mistake. Your licensor (if you are licensed) needs to have the opportunity to decide or offer you training or supervision based on this mistake to correct it.

AND YOU.. you need the life experience to know and fully understand that when you make a mistake with children you ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS tell the truth and tell it RIGHT AWAY. The truth of a mistake is way less than the lie or lie of ommission of a mistake.
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:27 PM
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I agree to talk to the parents about it and also agree to clearly define responsibilities between your assistant and you. even my husband and i have to do this with our three kids! the parents most likely will receive this info better if they know that you have made changes to insure this will not happen again. i would not cut out park time. let the parents know of your safety measures and let them decide how they feel about this event. we all make mistakes. its a lot of responsibility to take that many kids out in public.
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:35 PM
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I am not sure where you are at, but in CA, it is required that you report it to licensing.
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:38 PM
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Absolutely, 100% everything Nannyde said.
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:11 PM
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EEEEK! That must have been so scary!!! Your probably still shook up about it. Thank God everything turned out okay. I'm so sorry that happened to you and to the kids. I'm too scared to take my group to a park because of things like this. Maybe you can just let them play in your backyard to prevent anything like that again. Sorry you had such a scary day!
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nannyde View Post
First let me say that anyone who has done child care for any length of time has made mistakes that could be the difference of life/death or serious injury. No matter what proffession you are in when you are caring for human beings you are going to make human mistakes. I have made a handfull of mistakes that if luck wasn't on my side I could have lost a child and lost my nurse's licensce and my ability to take care of kids.

These "near misses" incidences are there to teach you a life lesson. One part of the lesson is learning what to do when you make a serious mistake and what you must do to not repeat it.

I believe that you are making a serious mistake in not telling the parents about this for a number of reasons. The first one is that the parents have a right to decide for themselves whether or not this error is grounds to remove their child from their care. They are trusting you to care for their child every day when they drop them off. Not giving them the truth means their choice is not made willingly and with full knowledge of your abilities and your judgement.

Your decision to spare them is really to spare yourself. You are either worried that they will remove the children and possibly report this or you are worried that they will be upset. Please don't fool yourself into thinking that ignorance is bliss. If you do that, I can promise that eventually they will find this out. Your nondisclosure makes this SO much worse because you are robbing them of the decisions they need to make and their ability to exact the consequences they may deem necessary.

If you tell them the truth and they accept that it is an error in judgement and believe you have put in the safety measures to insure it won't happen again then you can move on and count this as a serious life lesson. If you hide this it will haunt you and will eventually land back in your lap in a much worse case then then it is today.

I do not agree that the children have ANY responsibility in this. You are their leader and you must be able to determine whether they can manage their physical environment without danger. That's your job to monitor... not theirs.

The next thing is that you must deconstruct this and figure out where your mistake is. I believe that you have overestimated your supervision abilities and that having a second person lulled you into a false sense of supervision. When you have TWO responsible people often the personal responsibilities lessens or becomes gray causing the actual security and supervision to lessen.

So when you are with your helper you have to recognize that having her help comes at a price. The price is that your guard drops. Your heightened sense of alertness is quelled by a false sense that there is safety in numbers.

You defeat this by having SPECIFIC assisgnments of responsibility so that you each have less to do by dividing then more to do by sharing.

I have a helper who is highly trained by me......... hand trained for 2.5 years and I can promise you that there has NEVER been a day when we have taken six little kids to a park and let them free play in a wide open space. I don't do that because I KNOW that I do NOT have the skill to pull that off and my helper sure doesn't.

I'm not saying it's not possible but I can say for sure that "I" can't manage it. The kids we have require WAY too much supervision to remain safe minute to minute then us two adults could offer.

When we do go to the park we only do it when we have low numbers and when we have at most.. ONE of our two year olds. Our two year olds need direct proximal supervision every second they are on equipment and when they are free walking.

Please consider "tot a longs". http://www.amazon.com/Safety-1st-Bab.../dp/B000XPV4CK

They are elastic bands that have velcro closures on both ends. They can attach to the childs wrist and to you or your stroller. I use them every day on every kid every time we walk out of the house. These would come in handy at the park for you to attach the kids to you but still give them some room to move around within a few feet of you.

Please please please reconsider telling the parents and having the OPEN conversation you NEED to have with them and your licensor about this mistake. Do it for the kids, your helper, and yourself. The parents deserve to know. Your staff assistant needs to see you be HONEST and face up to this mistake. Your licensor (if you are licensed) needs to have the opportunity to decide or offer you training or supervision based on this mistake to correct it.

AND YOU.. you need the life experience to know and fully understand that when you make a mistake with children you ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS tell the truth and tell it RIGHT AWAY. The truth of a mistake is way less than the lie or lie of ommission of a mistake.
You will not get any better advice than this. Take it.
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:24 PM
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How awful!

I lost a kid at my house once. He was gone for a long time. I looked, and looked. I had the kids looking, I even left the kids in the house and looked out front.

It was the worst four hours of my life. (it was probably less than five minutes, but it was awful)

The WORST part of that, was he was stuck under something heavy out in the yard. I'm guessing he was stuck for ten-twenty minutes. (because he was gone for a bit before I started looking for him) It was extremely hot outside, so this poor kid was stuck in the heat for a very long time.

It's been 15 years, and I've never fully gotten over that feeling that he was lost or stolen.
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nannyde View Post
I do not agree that the children have ANY responsibility in this. You are their leader and you must be able to determine whether they can manage their physical environment without danger. That's your job to monitor... not theirs.
I agree. Sure, i'd be mad at the kids...but, not ACTUALLY mad. Just mad that it happened. Two little kids like that are just loving life and running free. They don't look back to see where the grownups are... they are having a blast. It wasn't naughty of them, they didn't even notice that you were lost.
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youretooloud View Post
How awful!

I lost a kid at my house once. He was gone for a long time. I looked, and looked. I had the kids looking, I even left the kids in the house and looked out front.

It was the worst four hours of my life. (it was probably less than five minutes, but it was awful)

The WORST part of that, was he was stuck under something heavy out in the yard. I'm guessing he was stuck for ten-twenty minutes. (because he was gone for a bit before I started looking for him) It was extremely hot outside, so this poor kid was stuck in the heat for a very long time.

It's been 15 years, and I've never fully gotten over that feeling that he was lost or stolen.
You never forget your mistakes, just pray that you do better next time. I lost a 3 yo at Knott's Berry Farm for about 30 mins.
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Old 10-07-2011, 06:51 AM
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This is why I don't take my dck off of my property. I am licensed for 6 and I do not have a helper. I have set up my backyard to be as fun as the park and we go for walks around my property. I would never take dck out in town. Too many kids and too many variables.
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Old 10-07-2011, 07:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nannyde View Post
First let me say that anyone who has done child care for any length of time has made mistakes that could be the difference of life/death or serious injury. No matter what proffession you are in when you are caring for human beings you are going to make human mistakes. I have made a handfull of mistakes that if luck wasn't on my side I could have lost a child and lost my nurse's licensce and my ability to take care of kids.

These "near misses" incidences are there to teach you a life lesson. One part of the lesson is learning what to do when you make a serious mistake and what you must do to not repeat it.

I believe that you are making a serious mistake in not telling the parents about this for a number of reasons. The first one is that the parents have a right to decide for themselves whether or not this error is grounds to remove their child from their care. They are trusting you to care for their child every day when they drop them off. Not giving them the truth means their choice is not made willingly and with full knowledge of your abilities and your judgement.

Your decision to spare them is really to spare yourself. You are either worried that they will remove the children and possibly report this or you are worried that they will be upset. Please don't fool yourself into thinking that ignorance is bliss. If you do that, I can promise that eventually they will find this out. Your nondisclosure makes this SO much worse because you are robbing them of the decisions they need to make and their ability to exact the consequences they may deem necessary.

If you tell them the truth and they accept that it is an error in judgement and believe you have put in the safety measures to insure it won't happen again then you can move on and count this as a serious life lesson. If you hide this it will haunt you and will eventually land back in your lap in a much worse case then then it is today.

I do not agree that the children have ANY responsibility in this. You are their leader and you must be able to determine whether they can manage their physical environment without danger. That's your job to monitor... not theirs.

The next thing is that you must deconstruct this and figure out where your mistake is. I believe that you have overestimated your supervision abilities and that having a second person lulled you into a false sense of supervision. When you have TWO responsible people often the personal responsibilities lessens or becomes gray causing the actual security and supervision to lessen.

So when you are with your helper you have to recognize that having her help comes at a price. The price is that your guard drops. Your heightened sense of alertness is quelled by a false sense that there is safety in numbers.

You defeat this by having SPECIFIC assisgnments of responsibility so that you each have less to do by dividing then more to do by sharing.

I have a helper who is highly trained by me......... hand trained for 2.5 years and I can promise you that there has NEVER been a day when we have taken six little kids to a park and let them free play in a wide open space. I don't do that because I KNOW that I do NOT have the skill to pull that off and my helper sure doesn't.

I'm not saying it's not possible but I can say for sure that "I" can't manage it. The kids we have require WAY too much supervision to remain safe minute to minute then us two adults could offer.

When we do go to the park we only do it when we have low numbers and when we have at most.. ONE of our two year olds. Our two year olds need direct proximal supervision every second they are on equipment and when they are free walking.

Please consider "tot a longs". http://www.amazon.com/Safety-1st-Bab.../dp/B000XPV4CK

They are elastic bands that have velcro closures on both ends. They can attach to the childs wrist and to you or your stroller. I use them every day on every kid every time we walk out of the house. These would come in handy at the park for you to attach the kids to you but still give them some room to move around within a few feet of you.

Please please please reconsider telling the parents and having the OPEN conversation you NEED to have with them and your licensor about this mistake. Do it for the kids, your helper, and yourself. The parents deserve to know. Your staff assistant needs to see you be HONEST and face up to this mistake. Your licensor (if you are licensed) needs to have the opportunity to decide or offer you training or supervision based on this mistake to correct it.

AND YOU.. you need the life experience to know and fully understand that when you make a mistake with children you ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS tell the truth and tell it RIGHT AWAY. The truth of a mistake is way less than the lie or lie of ommission of a mistake.
This exactly. Everything she said. I just ordered some of the tot-a-longs myself, I had been "thinking" about getting something, but your post gave me the push I needed.
Sorry you had to go through this scare.
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Old 10-07-2011, 07:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momofsix View Post
This exactly. Everything she said. I just ordered some of the tot-a-longs myself, I had been "thinking" about getting something, but your post gave me the push I needed.
Sorry you had to go through this scare.
The tot a longs are so minimal as far as "attachment" but they work perfectly. As they age they stretch. I would use the stretched out older ones in a case like this so they would have more free range room.

The number one thing about the tot a longs is that you MUST train the kid that they are NEVER to touch the closures. ALWAYS... every single time... whether it is easier for you or not... ALWAYS be the one to unclasp them.

They shouldn't practice undoing them and they should not be allowed to do it freely. If they learn the closure is off limits they will leave it alone.
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  #21  
Old 10-07-2011, 11:53 AM
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So, did you decide to tell the parents? If so, how did they take it?
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Old 10-07-2011, 12:14 PM
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I know that it had a horrible experience for everyone involved! I hope that you made the decision to tell the parents on your own rather than risk letting them find out from someone else. Nan's advice for you was good and I really hope that you followed it.

Being honest with the parents might cost you their business, but then again, it might not. Trust is built by being honest with each other.
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Old 10-07-2011, 02:00 PM
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I also agree with nannyde. Very well said.
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  #24  
Old 10-07-2011, 05:36 PM
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The ONLY time I've EVER lost a child was when I had an assistant with me. EVER.
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Old 10-07-2011, 09:52 PM
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Thanks to everyone who responded! I feel much better after hearing other stories and thank you for the ideas. I spoke to the parents and they were actually not upset, they were apologizing to me for what their child put me through. I explained that we aren't going to the park for a while until they are better at listening, and they understood that too. Both parents knew that their children are "runners" and asked for any ideas I had for what they could do to help, since they do the same to their parents. So it was good that I talked to them and I feel better now. The plan is just go out to the backyard for the next month or so and then if we do go to the park, my assistant will have more detailed instuctions and 3 specific children to watch and I will have the other 3. One warning and into the stroller, and then backpack leashes if needed.
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Old 10-08-2011, 07:53 AM
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sharlan sharlan is online now
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I'm glad it went well with the parents. I've always believed that honesty is most important.
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field trip - gone bad, outtings, park, running, safety issues, terrible 2's, walking ropes

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