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Old 10-13-2011, 06:55 AM
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Default Having Issues With My Assistant

I am fortunate enough that my HDC has been such a great success that I was able to hire a P/T assistant. She is a lovely girl in her 20's very friendly and social, but she just doesn't seem to get it- doesn't come on time, isn't organized and I feel she doesn't take this job seriously because it is out of my home. I have explained to her many times that this is my profession and it needs to be taken seriously, printed of her daily tasks, set rules and guidelines and I pay her very well.
I am not to sure what I should do at this point, a written warning, less hours, or let her go.
Also, she feels like she can do whatever it is that I do, meaning if I am on the phone she feels obliged to be on the phone also... When I am using the phone it is usually quiet time and I am doing business, ordering supplies ect. Plus I have an assistant to give myself a break from time to time.
Anyway, any advice as usual is always appreciated and even how I could word a written warning. I have had to give warnings and let go employees in a large centre but never one that I worked one to one with

Last edited by Michael; 10-14-2011 at 02:28 AM.
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Old 10-13-2011, 07:03 AM
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It is so much harder when it is an assistant in your own home. I think you should read thru nannyde's blog posts on assistants and then give one final, clear warning. Review what you need to see changed. Good assistants are hard to find and you really do have to train them from day one. Its going to be very hard to retrain her since bad habits are formed and you may have to let her go. I am on my fourth assistant.

The first was a mom that brought her own kid (BAD idea, I didn't know that then)
Second quit after one shift. She thought this was going to be an easy job.
Third I fired because she got lazy like you are describing and was bringing her personal drama into work. Starting crying in front of one of the parents, missed a day because she got into a fight with her boyfriend, etc.

Fourth is the best one! But i am a better boss for having had the previous experiences.
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Old 10-13-2011, 07:28 AM
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Have you read my five part staff assistant blog Godiva?

http://daycare.com/nannyde/the-day-c...-assistant.htm

One thing I tell them on the very first interview is that we are NOT partners. I don't have you here so I can work along side of you. If I'm going to be in the room with you I don't need you. I never keep more kids than one person can handle at a time within my system and set up.

I have you here to do everything I don't want to do during that time. I'm here to step in when two people are needed to do what is happening at the moment but those moments need to get fewer and farther between as I train you.

You have to find the right person who can tolerate the sameness of this every day and come into it with an understanding that it is hard work. If they want to sit and watch kids play toys and play with the kids they are going to fail here. If it's easy I'm going to give you more to do. I don't pay for easy.
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Old 10-13-2011, 07:43 AM
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It is a little harder to reprimand an employee when it is only you and the one employee. Neither of you have anywhere to go to get away from each other and get your mind off of the fact that you just had to "talk with her". In a company with multiple employees, after "the talk", you can go back in your office, she can go to her work station, and you guys can ignore each other for a little while so you can calm down and mull over your talk. However, at a home daycare, you don't have anywhere to hide from each other. I have had 3 employees throughout the years. I moved a couple of times - so I had to hire a new person in the new area. I never had a problem with either of my first 2 employees. But the one I have now, I have had to talk to a few times. Nothing major, just little things, but things that do bother me enough to discuss them with her. I have learned to have a discussion with her during the last 1/2 hour or so of her work day. That way, after 'the talk', she can leave and go home, while I stay here. That gives us both the evening to be away from each other so we can mull it over in our own ways away from each other for the night. I have noticed that if I fuss with her over somthing that REALLY UPSET me, she calls out the next day! I guess she needs more time to get over being reprimanded! I don't really need her to be here every day, so I don't fuss about her calling out the next day. Actually, I usually feel like it's nice not to have to work with her the next day!

However, you do need to rememeber yourself, and make sure your employee is well aware that you are running a business and the employee has certain responsibilities/tasks that are required of her, her behavior must be professional, etc. Even though your business is in your home, it IS a business and you expect your employee to treat it as such. She has been hired to do a job at a business. And, as her employer, you need to let her know what is expected of her and make sure she does her job.

It's not her business what you are doing with your time. You are the OWNER of the business! And like you said, you have her there partly so you can have a break to do whatever personal activities you want to do. Sometimes, I make personal calls, go run personal errands, take a nap, other times I prepare daycare preschool activities, whatever I want to do with my time! But my employee knows that I have hired her for a certain timeframe so I can have some personal time if I want to.
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by cheerfuldom View Post
It is so much harder when it is an assistant in your own home. I think you should read thru nannyde's blog posts on assistants and then give one final, clear warning. Review what you need to see changed. Good assistants are hard to find and you really do have to train them from day one. Its going to be very hard to retrain her since bad habits are formed and you may have to let her go. I am on my fourth assistant.

The first was a mom that brought her own kid (BAD idea, I didn't know that then)
Second quit after one shift. She thought this was going to be an easy job.Third I fired because she got lazy like you are describing and was bringing her personal drama into work. Starting crying in front of one of the parents, missed a day because she got into a fight with her boyfriend, etc.

Fourth is the best one! But i am a better boss for having had the previous experiences.
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Old 10-13-2011, 10:08 AM
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I know right and this was a person that had previously worked in a preschool. I promise, my kids are not hard and I think there was five, maybe six kids that day, not a full day for me. I am guessing maybe she had an assistant or two in the previous place she worked and was not prepared to do all of it herself.
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Old 10-13-2011, 10:11 AM
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Thanks for the replies... I am planning on speaking with her later this afternoon- 30 or so minutes before close, she will also be given a written warning- I simply have to bite the bullet as she really needs to smarten up.
My DH says it is because she is young and just learning- but to me that is an excuse. I on the other hand had such a hard time hiring that I don't want to lose her either as the extra hands are needed at times.

However, I came to the daycare space to find her lounging on the sofa painting her nails how Would she interveine if needed with wet nails??
The sad thing is I have gone over this with her, she has a lunch and break for a reason!
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Old 10-13-2011, 10:24 AM
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However, I came to the daycare space to find her lounging on the sofa painting her nails how Would she interveine if needed with wet nails??
Ah yeah

That would be a declaration of war at my house.

Not kidding

She doesn't get it.

Get video cameras put up and get to the business of micro correcting her. On her like white on rice... minute to minute. NO free or idle time. Work every minute you are on the clock. If she has the kind of time to paint nail she has time to do more work for you. Ply her with work... every second. She'll either get busy or head out the door.

She senses that she has the upperhand over you. Tell her clearly that she does not. Tell her you can care for these kids by yourself with your eyes closed and your hands tied behind your back. She's extra ... not essential.

Does she want to work and make money or not? Being a kid doesn't have anything to do with it. I have had fourteen y/o staff assistants that rocked from day one.

She lazy and most likely you aren't making things perfectly clear on what you want. If she can't come up with consistent work you have to intervene.

Take the time to read my series. If it doesn't help with this one it will surely empower you for the next one.
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:15 PM
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WOW on the nails! Crazy! I would say written warning then let her go! There are plenty of responsible young people out there. "She's just young' is not an excuse. I have been early to work/appointments/etc my whole life because that is what I was taught. It isn't age, it is respect (or lack of) for self and others. Keep us posted!
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Old 10-13-2011, 05:09 PM
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I would have let her go already.

Fire her and hire me. Where do you live again? (JK)

She's in Babysitter mode. You know - put the kids to bed, eat all the snacks, do your nails and watch TV? This isn't Daycare!
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Old 10-13-2011, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by nannyde View Post
Have you read my five part staff assistant blog Godiva?

http://daycare.com/nannyde/the-day-c...-assistant.htm

One thing I tell them on the very first interview is that we are NOT partners. I don't have you here so I can work along side of you. If I'm going to be in the room with you I don't need you. I never keep more kids than one person can handle at a time within my system and set up.

I have you here to do everything I don't want to do during that time. I'm here to step in when two people are needed to do what is happening at the moment but those moments need to get fewer and farther between as I train you.

You have to find the right person who can tolerate the sameness of this every day and come into it with an understanding that it is hard work. If they want to sit and watch kids play toys and play with the kids they are going to fail here. If it's easy I'm going to give you more to do. I don't pay for easy.
How can I put this is nicer words for my current assistants with out sounding like I am trying to get over. I know what you say is very straight to the point and I could use with hiring new employess but with my current employees I am noticing some slacking off and need some wording for them that won't offend them and can maybe get them more motivated???? Hope this is not too much or too late
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Old 10-13-2011, 07:22 PM
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I think you need to look for another assistant and maybe not one as young. Myabe I'm being predigest, but she sounds quiet young for those type of responsibilities. I was raised in a daycare while my mother ran one and then in high school I started babysitting, then got hired working as a TA for a Christian School worked there 5 yrs which I had extensive experiences working with 2's class and Kiddy. I also Nannied for 4 yrs (3 kids). Also was attending college for Early Childhood Educ. My life cried CHILDREN...That is what you need to be looking for when your hiring an assistant...

Start the search for another assistant....be thoughtful in with find out first what their back ground is and how long they've worked with children. Is this the field they plan to be staying in. What potential career are they looking to get into and is it kid oriented? Get tons of ref. and call each one asking questions about what areas that person cld improve on. Which ones she/he excelled on. Any accidents and how did that person handle them...Put them in situations to see how'd they them. Also, maybe a trial period of 2 wks and if it works out great if not. Sorry, just not working out. Best of luck to you!!
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Old 10-13-2011, 07:28 PM
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What are your requirements for lunch and breakfast? Do you have them bring their own lunch, or feed them as well? One of my assistants comes in at lunch time, hungry, its my sister in law so she is used to eating here, but the fact she has to eat will take away from her helping. I told her today if she is going to come and eat for lunch to come 15 minutes before her start time so she can eat and then Start work at her normal time....she has been coming in late one to many times....what would you do in this situation?

YESTERDAYS SCENARIO: She was supposed to come in at 12:30, came at 12:47, recorded her start time at 12:45 and then ate quickly for 5 minutes....how would you handle this?
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:41 PM
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I think you need to look for another assistant and maybe not one as young. Myabe I'm being predigest, but she sounds quiet young for those type of responsibilities. I was raised in a daycare while my mother ran one and then in high school I started babysitting, then got hired working as a TA for a Christian School worked there 5 yrs which I had extensive experiences working with 2's class and Kiddy. I also Nannied for 4 yrs (3 kids). Also was attending college for Early Childhood Educ. My life cried CHILDREN...That is what you need to be looking for when your hiring an assistant...

Start the search for another assistant....be thoughtful in with find out first what their back ground is and how long they've worked with children. Is this the field they plan to be staying in. What potential career are they looking to get into and is it kid oriented? Get tons of ref. and call each one asking questions about what areas that person cld improve on. Which ones she/he excelled on. Any accidents and how did that person handle them...Put them in situations to see how'd they them. Also, maybe a trial period of 2 wks and if it works out great if not. Sorry, just not working out. Best of luck to you!!
I agree with this. Find someone who has experience with children and want to stay in that line of work. On the side, I disagree about the age. I'm in my 20's, and I think I'm fully capable of handling the responsibilities. I do it every day with the owner, and all the time when the owner takes the day off, and in the afternoons on my days to close (we take turns-usually every other day). The preschool/daycare is in a seperate building from where either of us live, so when we leave, we're done for the day. In my opinion, common sense is the main thing with hiring someone, rather than age. Common sense tells me that Mondays are busy days, so matter how much I want to extend the weekend, or not teach preschool that day, it's not an option to take off. Up too late the night before? Too bad. There's children to take care of. Even on the slow days when we really don't need two people, I have a JOB, and I'm supposed to be there. And on time, ready to go at it. A parent was late picking their child up, and the child was being difficult, meaning I couldn't get everything done and cleaned up before they left. Well, there's children first thing in the morning. Why should sweeping the floor be put off for the next morning, when all the children are here? That's enough for me. The owner has not had to "train" me on this. It's plain common sense. I've learned a lot from her, I know, but she does it in such a way that I don't realize it I'm afraid if someone acted as if I was dumb and had to be trained in everything, and wasn't needed, was just "an extra" I wouldn't last long. If I didn't feel needed, I'm afraid I wouldn't be very happy there, and would want to find somewhere I WAS needed. Telling someone they're just an extra would, for me, UN motivate me to do anything. If a person isn't needed why would they be on time and why would I do anything with the children if I'm "not needed" for itanyway? If you told me you can do it so much better than me ("hands tied behind my back"), it would really discourage me, and I'd feel like quitting. I'm afraid if the owner told me, "I don't need you, you're just an extra", it would hurt really bad. Those words right there would probably hurt worse than most anything else she could say to me. She could reprimand me all day, but those words would be the worst. She did say something along those lines one time when we were really low on enrollment (it wasn't that I wasn't doing anything. It was just something that one person could do), and it was summer (so I wasn't needed for doing the preschool part). And I tell you, I really wanted to quit that day. But I didn't say anything to her, I just finished the day out and then went home. And prayed for more children to enroll asap!
I'm not mad at anyone on here, by the way. Just wanted to share an assistant's view point, and an "in the 20's" view.
For the original poster, it sounds like your assistant has too much time on her hands. Can you trust her enough to start leaving her alone with them so she HAS to do something, while you go out for lunch for something? Make it so that she IS needed. More cleaning, more diaper changes, more reading to the children, more leading of group activities... If you really don't need her that much, try to take a back seat to everything, and let her take over as much as possible (with your supervision, if she can't be trusted yet). But don't let her know what you're doing. Just kind of gradually move into it. As for being on time, I don't have any suggestions. Is there an attitude thing going on, like she thinks she doesn't have to do what you say, or was it a gradual thing, where she started thinking of the job as really laid back and flexible, and eventually so laid back that a "few minutes late" wont hurt? If it's an attitude thing, a warning would be the only thing I can think of, and then fireing her if that didn't work. Or hiring someone else and cutting her hours way back so that she eventually quit on her own. Make sure you're saying something everytime she's late. "I was about to call you to see where you were. It's 8:15." and if that "niceness" doesn't work, be blunt and firm, "you're late. You were scheduled for 8:00 today". And finally, "I'm going to have to hire someone who can be here when I need them. I'll keep you in mind when I need a substitute. Maybe working "as needed" would work better for you." And then just don't call her up again, unless you really are in a pinch and need to call her in as a last resort.
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Old 10-13-2011, 10:05 PM
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She is my sister in law, and sorry Godiva I realize i should just make a seperate thread !!

I am looking into hiring an extra assistant and see what happens from there, that might put some fire under her bottom
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Old 10-14-2011, 12:40 AM
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My DH says it is because she is young and just learning- but to me that is an excuse. I on the other hand had such a hard time hiring that I don't want to lose her either as the extra hands are needed at times.
Not always fun being the boss and realizing it means we have to actually face the employee and give them a good talking too. Just be as encouraging and proffessional as you already are. Explain what you expect. Sounds like your DH and me are thinking the same thoughts though.
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Old 10-14-2011, 07:08 AM
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I'm afraid if someone acted as if I was dumb and had to be trained in everything, and wasn't needed, was just "an extra" I wouldn't last long. If I didn't feel needed, I'm afraid I wouldn't be very happy there, and would want to find somewhere I WAS needed. Telling someone they're just an extra would, for me, UN motivate me to do anything. If a person isn't needed why would they be on time and why would I do anything with the children if I'm "not needed" for itanyway? If you told me you can do it so much better than me ("hands tied behind my back"), it would really discourage me, and I'd feel like quitting. I'm afraid if the owner told me, "I don't need you, you're just an extra", it would hurt really bad. Those words right there would probably hurt worse than most anything else she could say to me. She could reprimand me all day, but those words would be the worst. She did say something along those lines one time when we were really low on enrollment (it wasn't that I wasn't doing anything. It was just something that one person could do), and it was summer (so I wasn't needed for doing the preschool part). And I tell you, I really wanted to quit that day. But I didn't say anything to her, I just finished the day out and then went home. And prayed for more children to enroll asap!
I'm not mad at anyone on here, by the way. Just wanted to share an assistant's view point, and an "in the 20's" view.
I wouldn't tell a staff assistant that I didn't "need" them to be hurtful. I would tell them that because it would be the truth. I've had staff assistants that I needed because my license and capacity required it. I've had staff assistants because I WANT someone to do the work of the child care that I don't want to do.

There is a BIG difference between those two. The "need" staff assistant is much more expensive than the "want" staff assistant. The "want" staff assistant is much easier to find then the "need" staff assistant. Blowing off work or coming late for a "need" assistant can cause much harm to your business. The relationship and heirarchy of work with the "need" assistant is more complex because their actions and presence can profoundly affect your livlihood.

It's not personal. It's just the way registration and rules work. The majority of my eighteen years I have done care I have had "want" staff assistants. I only care for the number of kids I can legally have by myself. I truly do not NEED help. I have a helper just for ME to be happy. When they aren't doing the things I want them to do then I'm not happy.

I make it very clear when I interview that the staff assistant is for ME. I hire out the portion of the business I don't want to do. If they are coming in late they are taking away from what I want. If they are doing their nails on the couch then they are stealing time which is stealing money from me. If they are taking my time to eat my food while they are separate and away from the work they are there to do then they are stealing time from me and causing me the double whammy of paying for it.

It sounds like your job is very different than what I have staff assistants do. I don't leave my staff assistant here while I leave the premise. I would only do that for extreme medical appointments that can't be done on nights and weekends. That happens once or twice a year. I have someone else come in to supervise my assistant when that happens so she is not here alone with the kids.

My staff assistant doesn't make ANY decisions about what she does every day. She does the work that all of the assistants before her did. I decide everything and after doing this for so long that "everything" is wrought from years of experience where I know how every minute is going to go and what I want the helper to do within our system. She doesn't have to be creative or fill in the blanks. I decide what she will do and what I decide really works well.

I can out perform any staff assistant I could ever hire. I couldn't afford someone as competent as I am. My current helper is thirty years my junior and has been hand trained by me for 2.5 years and I run circles around her. I'm WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY FASTER in EVERY SINGLE THING she does. I know more in my pinky then she does in her whole body. She's very knowledgeable for her age and experience but she isn't knowledgeable in the way I am. We have very low turnover so the number of kids she has had a life experience with is very small. She's only had three babies in her time here.

On the days she is gone I start getting the kids ready to go outside at the same time she does. It takes me about fifteen minutes to change three diapers, get seven kids in whatever outdoor wear they need, and get everyone from the basement to the stroller out front. It takes her about 40 minutes. When I do lunch by myself it takes about twenty minutes. It takes her 40 minutes. When I do diapers it takes me less than a minute per kid. She averages three to four minutes per kid from start to stop.

Now she does this work every day. She changes a hundred diapers for every one I change. She does a hundred lunches for every one I do. She does a hundred get kids ready and get em upstairs for every one I do. Despite the fact that she has WAY more experience doing these direct care chores with these kids than I do and is thirty years my junior... no matter what... I can pop in and have it done in a FRACTION of the time it takes her... even with my inexperience because I hire it out on a day to day.

I can work longer, harder, faster, and with more minute to minute ability because I'm a hard worker, fast, and I know what I'm doing. When I say I can do it with my hands tied behind my back and my eyes closed... I don't mean that litterally but theoretically I CAN do this at a level she simply can't. I've only had one assistant that even comes close to my abilities technically and she was here over seven years and VERY fast. She became so expensive that my business couldn't sustain another highly experienced person.

You said: If a person isn't needed why would they be on time and why would I do anything with the children if I'm "not needed" for it anyway?

If you worked here it would be because your job IS the hours I hire you for and I specifically tell you from the begining that I don't need you... I want you. I want you to do the work I don't want to do. The job IS to do what I want. The job isn't to do what I can't.

I have a really great relationship with my helpers. They stay for a long time for a worker in this business. I'm very very easy to get along with if you do your job. I'm the type of person who just puts out whatever I don't like and then forget it before I even get to the top of the stairs. I don't hold grudges and I don't expect anyone to work like I do and can. I understand that learning this craft takes YEARS and I really really take the time to teach my helper everything I know about caring for kids. These guys are phenomenal care providers when they get three years or more under their belt here.

The kind of training I do here on daycare.com and in my consulting business is the same kind of training I do IRL onsite with my helper. Anyone of the ladies on here that I have consulted with will tell you that within a few minutes of talking to me that they KNOW i KNOW what I'm talking about and can explain very complicated things in a simple workable way. If I can do that with a stranger on a situation dependent basis... you know I can pull it off with an in house worker who is with me for years with kids I know like the palm of my hand.

So........... if I had a worker that painted nail on my couch it would be a declaration of war here. That would mean that all my hard work was for nothing. If they came late and took up even more time for herself... it would mean all the work I do here doesn't matter to them. It would be an insult and I would be pissed.

Work hard and do what I tell you to do and the rewards will be a great salary... a lot of paid time off... great raises... and an education you could never get in a book or a class.

Don't punish me for all the good I do by behaving in a way that shows me that all you want out of this is easy money. I don't NEED you... I WANT you.... Make ME happy and I will make YOU happy and a lot better off financially and educationally.
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Old 10-14-2011, 07:21 AM
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I just think there is too much emotion brought into the assistant role. I hire them to do a job, they do it and stay, or don't do it and get fired. If I have to soothe emotions, coddle and cater to a person then out they go. This is a real job. A boss in any other place isn't going to care if your feelings got hurt. All they care about is you doing your job and earning your money. Thats what i care about with my assistants. I promise i am a nice person, as agreeable as possible, I don't treat my assistants like dirt or anything. but this bottom line is ....this is a job, not a fun hobby, or a place to catch up on your texts and nail painting, not a time to chat with a friend/boss. I want them to get going with their duties, get in there and get it done. Thankfully, I have just that sort of assistant now. She asks for nothing, causes no drama, has an upbeat personality and jumps right into the duties from the moment she walks in. THAT is what I am willing to pay for!
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Old 10-14-2011, 07:35 AM
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Sprouts- no worries hopefully this thread can help a lot of us in situations with staff assistants.

My assistant is in her last year of college obtaining her ECE, she is doing really well in her courses but in field is a different story.

So yesterday afternoon after I walked down and she was painting her nails, I said I had an important business call with the bank and would be in the upstairs office- only page me incase of an emergency! I gave her her duties (afternoon creative) after 10 minutes I decided to have a fire drill

Let's just say - we would be in huge trouble it took her 8 minutes to vacate with 4 children ??? When she saw me waiting outside I asked her where the emergency bag was and child x ( who was not in attendance) and she took off running back in!
Anyway, I gave her a written warning for both the nail painting and unsuccessful fire drill and explained that one more written warning and I will have to let her go ( in contract) but I also said that a fail in the fire drill as big as that is grounds for immediate termination. Her prohibition period is over soon where she will have a review- fingers are
Crossed this set the fire under her
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Old 10-14-2011, 07:43 AM
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Sprouts my requirement for lunch and breakfast are-
While the kids eat please eat along with them, as you will be seen as a role model. This means you eat what they eat, when they eat, and where they eat! If it is any other time it is on your specified lunch time and your own food.
As for you SIL I would but your foot down and tell her no more eating on your time, you didn't hire her to be a food taster.
It's even harder with family, that's why I would never hire family or friends excluding DH
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Old 10-14-2011, 09:18 AM
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Sprouts my requirement for lunch and breakfast are-
While the kids eat please eat along with them, as you will be seen as a role model. This means you eat what they eat, when they eat, and where they eat! If it is any other time it is on your specified lunch time and your own food.
As for you SIL I would but your foot down and tell her no more eating on your time, you didn't hire her to be a food taster.
It's even harder with family, that's why I would never hire family or friends excluding DH
I don't allow eating with the kids and I don't provide food or drink. I did that for about fifteen years (providing food and drink) and it really didn't work for me. With my last hire I didn't mention offering food as a part of the salary.

I found that when the food was included it was overlooked as part of the benefit of the job. It was pretty costly as I provided breakfast, lunch, supper, snacks, and all drinks (milk, coffee, juice, hot chocolate). I would even buy their fave pop and treats. I make pretty big meals and the selection of fresh fruits and veggies is awesome here. I also bake a lot of fresh treats and breads.

It was a pretty sizeable daily bonus and I did it so I knew the person that worked for me would get a balanced healthy diet every day and I was uncomfortable having someone here who didn't get to eat what the kids were eating... didn't have the luxury of fresh and hard to make food. It made me uncomfortable not to have them have what EVERYBODY here has.

It just wasn't seen as a part of the actual salary until I changed it.

I realized that if it was free it wouldn't have value to the staff assistant. Once I quit offering it it saved me about fifty dollars a week. When they considered the salary they received they didn't consider the money, work, dishes, shopping, etc. that went along with having all food provided. The staff "liked" it but they didn't see it as a hard cost expense of which they directly benefited.

When I realized that because it was free it wasn't considered to be part of the earning wage here I stopped providing it. Even if I would have just offered a meal with the kids and not the extra pop, treats, snacks, etc. it still woudln't have been considered as part of the wage they earned daily. It just didn't have ANY value and was costly to the business.

It was part of the lesson I needed to learn about being careful about giving free.
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Old 10-14-2011, 09:46 AM
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@ Nannyde,

Seems like you have to be pretty firm with your staff, but it seems to be working alright for you!

$50 extra a week to feed your staff member is crazy... I would reconsider if the cost was that high.
Also, I like my staff to feel wanted and needed. However, I need to remain the authority/ leader figure in all aspects. I find when you give respect you get respect and I know as an employee I would want to feel both needed and wanted. Being paid well, good benefits and perks aren't everything to me IMO.

As a follow up my assistant wrote an apology letter and a letter stating her goals and how she will meet them ( didn't ask her to)
She has also really been on the ball and said she appreciated our talk and now better understands her job and duties I am going to remain positive and see how her review goes at the end of her probation- maybe she just needs more guidance and 'training' on my part before I let her have so much freedom
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:04 AM
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@ Nannyde,

Seems like you have to be pretty firm with your staff, but it seems to be working alright for you!

$50 extra a week to feed your staff member is crazy... I would reconsider if the cost was that high.
Also, I like my staff to feel wanted and needed. However, I need to remain the authority/ leader figure in all aspects. I find when you give respect you get respect and I know as an employee I would want to feel both needed and wanted. Being paid well, good benefits and perks aren't everything to me IMO.
Ten bucks a day for food comes pretty quickly when you have access to fresh fruit, veggies, high quality meats and grains. Not to mention the drinks... milk aint cheap.

A big part of my service is really high quality home made food and fresh. There's no way for an adult to eat her two to three meals a day and not use up ten bucks. The kids are about five a day.

I can't offer a job where I need the staff assistant. I don't need someone so if the staff felt as you do that they would need to feel needed... I couldn't hire them. I don't have a position like that here.

If I "need" a staff assistant they have to meet certain qualifications of education and experience. That's a pricey assistant which means running a lot more kids. In this economy it's tough to stay small and strong. I wouldn't want the burden of having to run extra kids for the "need" assistant. I would rather have someone who was less expensive, undeducated, and inexperienced who I wanted rather than an expensive staff assistant who needed to be needed.
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:46 AM
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great update. I really hope your assistant keeps with her renewed effort.

I had one assistant promise to "prove herself" and then the next week, show up an hour late. some people just don't get it. hopefully, your girl does!
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:58 AM
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Thanks Cheer.

Nannyde, I get what you are saying with the want vs. Need ideology. But, sometimes I 'Need' my assistant in order to maintain my sanity lol
In technical terms you are right, I do not 'need' my assistant as I always keep my ratios 1:5 (Ontario laws) and I am more than capable of handling my group, for me I like the support of another adult and it gives me that extra time to prepare great meals, programming, and sanitization. She is only
P/T and comes twice a week so it gives me a nicebalance
$10/day seems like an awful lot- I also use all organic foods and meats and use a CSA for all my produce but it is not nearly as costly- thank goodness for that. My DH is also a big hunter and fisher so our freezer is always full.
However, milk is a killer for 4L organic homo it runs approx. $7
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Old 10-14-2011, 11:43 AM
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Nails??? Now that's just over the TOP for any place of employment!!!
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Old 10-14-2011, 12:26 PM
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I've had my fair share of assistants but my current assistant is the best one I've ever had! She is simply amazing! We work together really well because we both instinctively know what we need to do. If I'm reading books to the dcks, then she's preparing lunch or cleaning. If I'm cleaning, then she's singing songs with the kids. We are a well oiled machine and I've never had any reasons to complain about her. She is great with the kids and the parents, too.

I have her 2 or 3 days a week (depending on how I'm feeling) for about 4 or 5 hours a day and even though I don't technically need her (I'm not out of ratio or over capacity), I need her so that I can do the stuff that I don't want to have to deal with later and I need her because I like having adult conversation from time to time . She has been reliable and trustworthy. She also taught me how to be a better grocery shopper!!!

If a time comes when I have an issue with her, I'll just approach her about it and I know that it would all work out fine. If she ever had an issue with me, I know that she would come to me about it and we would work it out.

In the past, I had assistants who would call me just before they were scheduled to show up and tell me that they couldn't come because they were sick or because their children were sick. I wasn't mad about the reason for calling in, I was just mad that the lateness of the calling in didn't make it easy to call in my back up person who might have already had plans for the day. I also lost a lot of income from one assistant who had 3 kids to bring and part of her pay was free childcare. When you can only have 12 kids total with 2 providers, having the assistant's 3 kids really ate into any profit from having group care. I have had assistants that didn't like certain aspects of the job, like diaper changing or playing outside with the kids. I had one assistant who went home each day and just cried because she was completely stressed out by one of the babies that was in my daycare. He cried and cried and cried, which really got to her and frayed her nerves. Her husband made her quit, which was good because I was going to have to let her go anyway because I saw how hard the job was on her. I've had parents that didn't like my former assistants and children who just didn't respond well to my former assistants. That is never a good thing. I've had assistants that we're sure what they were supposed to do so they did nothing or they came up with reasons for not doing the parts of the job that they didn't want to do. I've had problems with for me assistants undermining my authority which is a huge problem. I can handle constructive criticism and I'm open to hearing ideas about my program from assistants but decisions are always up to me. After all, I'm the one who is assuming all of the liability for the children and it's my name one the daycare license. It's my daycare program and I can't have assistants doing things their way because they don't like my way. I can't have them badmouthing me to dcparents (which happened with one assistant) instead of coming to me first.

As far as feeding my assistant goes, I don't have a problem with that at all. There is always plenty of food to go around. The only time I have ever minded was when I had to feed my assistant and her 3 kids.
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Old 10-15-2011, 12:12 AM
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I don't allow eating with the kids and I don't provide food or drink. I did that for about fifteen years (providing food and drink) and it really didn't work for me. With my last hire I didn't mention offering food as a part of the salary.

I found that when the food was included it was overlooked as part of the benefit of the job. It was pretty costly as I provided breakfast, lunch, supper, snacks, and all drinks (milk, coffee, juice, hot chocolate). I would even buy their fave pop and treats. I make pretty big meals and the selection of fresh fruits and veggies is awesome here. I also bake a lot of fresh treats and breads.

It was a pretty sizeable daily bonus and I did it so I knew the person that worked for me would get a balanced healthy diet every day and I was uncomfortable having someone here who didn't get to eat what the kids were eating... didn't have the luxury of fresh and hard to make food. It made me uncomfortable not to have them have what EVERYBODY here has.

It just wasn't seen as a part of the actual salary until I changed it.

I realized that if it was free it wouldn't have value to the staff assistant. Once I quit offering it it saved me about fifty dollars a week. When they considered the salary they received they didn't consider the money, work, dishes, shopping, etc. that went along with having all food provided. The staff "liked" it but they didn't see it as a hard cost expense of which they directly benefited.

When I realized that because it was free it wasn't considered to be part of the earning wage here I stopped providing it. Even if I would have just offered a meal with the kids and not the extra pop, treats, snacks, etc. it still woudln't have been considered as part of the wage they earned daily. It just didn't have ANY value and was costly to the business.

It was part of the lesson I needed to learn about being careful about giving free.
So Nanny,

1. do you provide time for the assistant to eat seperately? I am guessing they have to bring their own lunch...do you set requirements for what type of food they bring since they set an example, coke wouldn't be great to drink in front of them

to Nanny and all:

1. Today I gave my assistant and sister in law my updated employee handbook. A big problem i have with my sister in law is her and phone use. When she is on the infant side I catch her on the phone while the baby is just there on the floor rolling around. I suggested she use my infant and toddler curriculum book to find an activity to do, she glanced through it but thats it. I have to keep reminding her to clean up and organize. Shes a bit lazy and I am seeing improvement but how i can i put some more fire under her butt?

2. I am on the search for a new assistant...any advice on interviewing and what to look for. Nanny I read your 5 part series, very informative! But what particular questions do you ask them? Their references?
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Old 10-15-2011, 05:47 AM
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So Nanny,

1. do you provide time for the assistant to eat seperately? I am guessing they have to bring their own lunch...do you set requirements for what type of food they bring since they set an example, coke wouldn't be great to drink in front of them

to Nanny and all:

1. Today I gave my assistant and sister in law my updated employee handbook. A big problem i have with my sister in law is her and phone use. When she is on the infant side I catch her on the phone while the baby is just there on the floor rolling around. I suggested she use my infant and toddler curriculum book to find an activity to do, she glanced through it but thats it. I have to keep reminding her to clean up and organize. Shes a bit lazy and I am seeing improvement but how i can i put some more fire under her butt?

2. I am on the search for a new assistant...any advice on interviewing and what to look for. Nanny I read your 5 part series, very informative! But what particular questions do you ask them? Their references?
They have an afternoon break once the kids go down for a nap so they are able to eat lunch then. My current one leaves during nap and eats at her house.

I don't limit what they have here for drinks. I just don't allow anything hot in the playroom. They aren't allowed to take food into the play room.

I knew once you explained it more specifically you would say something about phone use. The best thing to do is tell her to leave it in her car during work hours if you aren't communicating back and forth with it within your house. I allowed my current sa to have it on her two year anniversary but the first two years she wasn't allowed to have it in the playroom. In the future I won't allow it at all even as a bonus. Even with due restraint... it's really hard for them to not be on it and distracted by it.

I am currently interviewing for a new staff assistant and I can tell just in the last three years the difference of how the applicants respond to me telling them no phone on them at work. It looks like: I recently had one who told me she didn't feel comfortable doing that and we pretty much cut the interview off at that point. Now I know I have to ASK before they come for the interview if they are able to live without a phone while they are on the clock. It's a deal breaker for me and for many many of the young women applying. Might as well save us all some time and get it over with before interviewing.

I can't help you with specific questions. I have everything I know in the five part series. The fifth one shows the job description I use when advertising and I go off of that at the begining of the interview. I ask job history that can be VERIFIED not just words about, cpr first aid training, education that gave them a DEGREE not the "have classes in", and then go thru the actual job duties (which in my house is just do whatever I ask you to do).

As I go thru the process again I will be looking for someone who is not educated in child care, not experienced, has great work references for attendance, without children, and who is NOT a leader. I really need someone who is in excellent physical condition and has stamina and speed.

If I can find a healthy, fast, childless, inexperienced, uneducated person who is a follower and able to live without their phone during work.... I will give them a shot.
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Old 10-15-2011, 08:27 AM
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Thank you!
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Old 10-15-2011, 01:04 PM
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I wouldn't tell a staff assistant that I didn't "need" them to be hurtful. I would tell them that because it would be the truth. I've had staff assistants that I needed because my license and capacity required it. I've had staff assistants because I WANT someone to do the work of the child care that I don't want to do.

There is a BIG difference between those two. The "need" staff assistant is much more expensive than the "want" staff assistant. The "want" staff assistant is much easier to find then the "need" staff assistant. Blowing off work or coming late for a "need" assistant can cause much harm to your business. The relationship and heirarchy of work with the "need" assistant is more complex because their actions and presence can profoundly affect your livlihood.

It's not personal. It's just the way registration and rules work. The majority of my eighteen years I have done care I have had "want" staff assistants. I only care for the number of kids I can legally have by myself. I truly do not NEED help. I have a helper just for ME to be happy. When they aren't doing the things I want them to do then I'm not happy.

I make it very clear when I interview that the staff assistant is for ME. I hire out the portion of the business I don't want to do. If they are coming in late they are taking away from what I want. If they are doing their nails on the couch then they are stealing time which is stealing money from me. If they are taking my time to eat my food while they are separate and away from the work they are there to do then they are stealing time from me and causing me the double whammy of paying for it.

It sounds like your job is very different than what I have staff assistants do. I don't leave my staff assistant here while I leave the premise. I would only do that for extreme medical appointments that can't be done on nights and weekends. That happens once or twice a year. I have someone else come in to supervise my assistant when that happens so she is not here alone with the kids.

My staff assistant doesn't make ANY decisions about what she does every day. She does the work that all of the assistants before her did. I decide everything and after doing this for so long that "everything" is wrought from years of experience where I know how every minute is going to go and what I want the helper to do within our system. She doesn't have to be creative or fill in the blanks. I decide what she will do and what I decide really works well.

I can out perform any staff assistant I could ever hire. I couldn't afford someone as competent as I am. My current helper is thirty years my junior and has been hand trained by me for 2.5 years and I run circles around her. I'm WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY FASTER in EVERY SINGLE THING she does. I know more in my pinky then she does in her whole body. She's very knowledgeable for her age and experience but she isn't knowledgeable in the way I am. We have very low turnover so the number of kids she has had a life experience with is very small. She's only had three babies in her time here.

On the days she is gone I start getting the kids ready to go outside at the same time she does. It takes me about fifteen minutes to change three diapers, get seven kids in whatever outdoor wear they need, and get everyone from the basement to the stroller out front. It takes her about 40 minutes. When I do lunch by myself it takes about twenty minutes. It takes her 40 minutes. When I do diapers it takes me less than a minute per kid. She averages three to four minutes per kid from start to stop.

Now she does this work every day. She changes a hundred diapers for every one I change. She does a hundred lunches for every one I do. She does a hundred get kids ready and get em upstairs for every one I do. Despite the fact that she has WAY more experience doing these direct care chores with these kids than I do and is thirty years my junior... no matter what... I can pop in and have it done in a FRACTION of the time it takes her... even with my inexperience because I hire it out on a day to day.

I can work longer, harder, faster, and with more minute to minute ability because I'm a hard worker, fast, and I know what I'm doing. When I say I can do it with my hands tied behind my back and my eyes closed... I don't mean that litterally but theoretically I CAN do this at a level she simply can't. I've only had one assistant that even comes close to my abilities technically and she was here over seven years and VERY fast. She became so expensive that my business couldn't sustain another highly experienced person.

You said: If a person isn't needed why would they be on time and why would I do anything with the children if I'm "not needed" for it anyway?

If you worked here it would be because your job IS the hours I hire you for and I specifically tell you from the begining that I don't need you... I want you. I want you to do the work I don't want to do. The job IS to do what I want. The job isn't to do what I can't.

I have a really great relationship with my helpers. They stay for a long time for a worker in this business. I'm very very easy to get along with if you do your job. I'm the type of person who just puts out whatever I don't like and then forget it before I even get to the top of the stairs. I don't hold grudges and I don't expect anyone to work like I do and can. I understand that learning this craft takes YEARS and I really really take the time to teach my helper everything I know about caring for kids. These guys are phenomenal care providers when they get three years or more under their belt here.

The kind of training I do here on daycare.com and in my consulting business is the same kind of training I do IRL onsite with my helper. Anyone of the ladies on here that I have consulted with will tell you that within a few minutes of talking to me that they KNOW i KNOW what I'm talking about and can explain very complicated things in a simple workable way. If I can do that with a stranger on a situation dependent basis... you know I can pull it off with an in house worker who is with me for years with kids I know like the palm of my hand.

So........... if I had a worker that painted nail on my couch it would be a declaration of war here. That would mean that all my hard work was for nothing. If they came late and took up even more time for herself... it would mean all the work I do here doesn't matter to them. It would be an insult and I would be pissed.

Work hard and do what I tell you to do and the rewards will be a great salary... a lot of paid time off... great raises... and an education you could never get in a book or a class.

Don't punish me for all the good I do by behaving in a way that shows me that all you want out of this is easy money. I don't NEED you... I WANT you.... Make ME happy and I will make YOU happy and a lot better off financially and educationally.
I didn't mean I wouldn't show up for work if I wasn't "needed". In another part of my post I mentioned scenarios of when it'd be nice for people to take off work, but because it's my job, and I'm supposed to do it, I show up with a good attitude about it. Even on low attendance times (when several children are out for some reason, if I'm supposed to be there, even if I'm not feeling 100%, I still go in ready to work and do my job. It's all in the attitude of want vs need. If you tell someone you don't need them, that you're better than them, what kind of attitude is that? Yeah, you can have it because you own the business, but should people go around with that attitude just because they can? If someone else went around with the better than you attitude, how often would you want to be with them? If you have attitude of I don't need you, I can do it better than you when you're not here, then if that's true, why would that person need to come in? If you just want them there for your convenience, I imagine it'd make it much easier for someone to call in all the time with some excuse or another. After all, it doesn't matter if they come. You can do it all better and faster without them. I'm not saying they should do that, because it IS their job to show up on time and when scheduled, but it makes it easier for a person to make it ok in their own head for calling in. "I'm really tired this morning, my child was up late last night sick. Since she can do things better without me, it will be ok to call in. It won't hurt anything if I do". I am NOT making excuses for the assistant of the OP. She should NOT be coming in late, talking on her phone, painting her nails () or whatever else. I'm just saying that an attitude of "I'm better than you. I don't even need you. I can do it much better than you with hands tied behind my back", etc is not going to encourage an employee to shape up and do their job better. Simply tell me what my problems are, what you want me to change, etc with a professional attitude ("I'm better than you, and don't even need you" is NOT professional) and I'll be more than happy to. But then, I give this 100%. I don't take it lightly. This is what I plan to continue doing throughout life in one form or another (teaching preschool, having my own home daycare, etc). I do everything I can to make this business as easy as possible on the owner. She has enough to worry about with all the paperwork, state licensing, food program, etc. and 11 hour work days (when I'm not closing for her) dealing with children from the moment she wakes up to the moment that last parent arrives 11 or 11 1/2 hours later. Then her own children and husband after she gets home. I arrive on time or early (if there's something I need to do there to get ready for the day), and show up every single day I'm scheduled (which is everyday, unless there's there's a big decrease in enrollment) and then I show up on the days she tells me to show up. If I'm sick and not feeling a bit well, etc I know I'm supposed to be there, she's counting on me being there, so I show up. It's too hard to get a substitute, so common sense says I have to be there.
A few posters have said the assistant of the OP is just too young and that's the problem. NO, age doesn't have anything to do with the job you do (unless you're too old and can't get around, or you're still in highschool and don't have any experience yet). But even then at that age, they should know to be on time, and not painting their nails while on the job! I get paid minimum wage, no paid holidays or sick days, no paid vacations, no benefits (except she does encourage me to eat while I'm there, even if I'll be leaving soon after the children go to sleep at nap time). I don't take advantage of that though. I don't eat their snacks, or drink their milk, etc. I bring my own water (although she says I can drink whatever is there) to drink with my lunch. But even with no benefits, I consider it benefit enough to have a job to begin with, and to get to work with her (we've become close friends, so that's a big benefit in itself!), and she's really easy to work for. If I see something that isn't working, she doesn't have an attitude of "I know more". She thinks about it, and considers if it's something we should change. Usually she'll try the change and see if it works. If something is going well, and I have an idea that might make it better, she considers it as well. But she seems to appreciate suggestions and encourage them. We help each other do the best we can with suggestions and constructive criticism for what is best for the business and for the children enrolled. She treats me like a partner for the most part, and asks my opinion in a lot of decisions she has to make. She makes people feel valued and appreciated. That alone makes me want to try harder, and I'm sure it's the same for all the home daycare providers on here when a parent makes them feel valued and appreciated.
To the OP, your assistant has NO excuse to perform like that. In my opinion, you're doing the best thing you could have. NO ONE should expect to have a job and show up late, painting nails on your time, forgetting kids inside during a fire drill, etc. Keep your back bone with her you're doing a great job!
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Old 10-15-2011, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Preschool/daycare teacher View Post
I didn't mean I wouldn't show up for work if I wasn't "needed". In another part of my post I mentioned scenarios of when it'd be nice for people to take off work, but because it's my job, and I'm supposed to do it, I show up with a good attitude about it. Even on low attendance times (when several children are out for some reason, if I'm supposed to be there, even if I'm not feeling 100%, I still go in ready to work and do my job. It's all in the attitude of want vs need. If you tell someone you don't need them, that you're better than them, what kind of attitude is that? Yeah, you can have it because you own the business, but should people go around with that attitude just because they can? If someone else went around with the better than you attitude, how often would you want to be with them? If you have attitude of I don't need you, I can do it better than you when you're not here, then if that's true, why would that person need to come in? If you just want them there for your convenience, I imagine it'd make it much easier for someone to call in all the time with some excuse or another. After all, it doesn't matter if they come. You can do it all better and faster without them. I'm not saying they should do that, because it IS their job to show up on time and when scheduled, but it makes it easier for a person to make it ok in their own head for calling in. "I'm really tired this morning, my child was up late last night sick. Since she can do things better without me, it will be ok to call in. It won't hurt anything if I do". I am NOT making excuses for the assistant of the OP. She should NOT be coming in late, talking on her phone, painting her nails () or whatever else. I'm just saying that an attitude of "I'm better than you. I don't even need you. I can do it much better than you with hands tied behind my back", etc is not going to encourage an employee to shape up and do their job better. Simply tell me what my problems are, what you want me to change, etc with a professional attitude ("I'm better than you, and don't even need you" is NOT professional) and I'll be more than happy to. But then, I give this 100%. I don't take it lightly. This is what I plan to continue doing throughout life in one form or another (teaching preschool, having my own home daycare, etc). I do everything I can to make this business as easy as possible on the owner. She has enough to worry about with all the paperwork, state licensing, food program, etc. and 11 hour work days (when I'm not closing for her) dealing with children from the moment she wakes up to the moment that last parent arrives 11 or 11 1/2 hours later. Then her own children and husband after she gets home. I arrive on time or early (if there's something I need to do there to get ready for the day), and show up every single day I'm scheduled (which is everyday, unless there's there's a big decrease in enrollment) and then I show up on the days she tells me to show up. If I'm sick and not feeling a bit well, etc I know I'm supposed to be there, she's counting on me being there, so I show up. It's too hard to get a substitute, so common sense says I have to be there.
A few posters have said the assistant of the OP is just too young and that's the problem. NO, age doesn't have anything to do with the job you do (unless you're too old and can't get around, or you're still in highschool and don't have any experience yet). But even then at that age, they should know to be on time, and not painting their nails while on the job! I get paid minimum wage, no paid holidays or sick days, no paid vacations, no benefits (except she does encourage me to eat while I'm there, even if I'll be leaving soon after the children go to sleep at nap time). I don't take advantage of that though. I don't eat their snacks, or drink their milk, etc. I bring my own water (although she says I can drink whatever is there) to drink with my lunch. But even with no benefits, I consider it benefit enough to have a job to begin with, and to get to work with her (we've become close friends, so that's a big benefit in itself!), and she's really easy to work for. If I see something that isn't working, she doesn't have an attitude of "I know more". She thinks about it, and considers if it's something we should change. Usually she'll try the change and see if it works. If something is going well, and I have an idea that might make it better, she considers it as well. But she seems to appreciate suggestions and encourage them. We help each other do the best we can with suggestions and constructive criticism for what is best for the business and for the children enrolled. She treats me like a partner for the most part, and asks my opinion in a lot of decisions she has to make. She makes people feel valued and appreciated. That alone makes me want to try harder, and I'm sure it's the same for all the home daycare providers on here when a parent makes them feel valued and appreciated.
To the OP, your assistant has NO excuse to perform like that. In my opinion, you're doing the best thing you could have. NO ONE should expect to have a job and show up late, painting nails on your time, forgetting kids inside during a fire drill, etc. Keep your back bone with her you're doing a great job!
Former you sound like a great employee.

My SA job just isn't anything like what you describe. I do require excellent attendance and the assistant to work the whole time they are here. It's just a part of the job..... not because they feel needed or based on MY skill set. They have to be on time every day and have excellent attendance because it's the job NOT because I do or don't need them. They have to work the whole time they are here because it's the JOB not because I can outperform them.

I interviewed a girl a month or so ago who was a part time assistant in a day care on the other side of town. The daycare isn't doing well census wise so her part time hours were cut dramatically. I spoke to her current boss before the interview and her reference was pretty good. She had attendance issues that I needed to address but other than that she had a pretty good reference.

She came with cpr, first aid, mandatory reporter, and had been approved to be a substitute for the other day care. She was one of the most qualified (as far as the DHS is concerened) applicants I have had in years.

She had a couple of college classes in ECE and the part time experience for about six months. She had the minimum standard classes (cpr etc.) that can get really pricey when you have to pay for and get the employee certified. She also had a current physical which is another minimum standard.

So she came with some plusses and I was willing to pay the salary she wanted which was about two bucks an hour more than she was making in her current job with near full time hours IF she turned out to be someone I wanted.

I had one of my former assistants sit in on the interview and it was basically her telling us that she had experience and that she wanted a job where she was able to be independent and do an educational/craft/play with the kids kind of job.

I had already talked to her before she came over for the interview and had explained five ways of Sunday that I was looking for a worker bee. I made it clear I don't hire someone to play with the kids and that this is a well oiled machine here. I explained that any "suggestions" she had for improvement would most likely NOT work with my system. I have a system and there really isn't any room for creativity here.

I also questioned her about the attendance issue and her version of it was quite different than her boss. She felt she had excellent attendance.

She was a really sweet kid. She was newly 21 and had a high school diploma. She had the classes the DHS required so her start up cost here would be pretty low. She had done the typical three/six month stints at a couple of centers which totaled two years of hands on experience. She was someone I would have considered doing a second interview on but when she called back the day of the second interview she told me she didn't think it would work.

She thought a lot about what I wanted in the job and she knew she couldn't manage it. She wanted to be a team. She wanted to do a developmentally appropriate program. She wanted to have a say in what she does daily and wanted to have the job BE primarily playing with/educating the kids. She knew from the interview where I and my former staff assistant told her that the job was pretty much the opposite of what she really liked.......... that she would not work out here.

She said even though she thought she could learn something from me... she wanted a job where the employer was open to learning from her. She wanted input and to be more equal.

She liked her job at the other day care where she was left alone with the kids and could come up with and do what SHE was educated to do. She felt that her classes in ECE prepared her for caring for kids and she wanted to use her education. (she didn't have a degree ... just a couple of classes).

I was really happy that she understood and realized that this job would not work for her. I loved that she was willing to walk away from a job that paid hundreds of dollars more a month and was a secure full time job in an established day care because she KNEW she couldn't manage the job. That's putting your money where your mouth is

She really wanted more of a job like the one she had with the other home provider. She didn't have any insight to know that the way the other provider was managing her business was WHY she was basically out of a job. She knew she hated center work but wasn't far enough along to realize that what she wanted out of the home day care job would be awful hard to find. It would be hard to find a home provider who could support what she learned in school. Her former employer tried it and couldn't make it work.

I encouraged her to do what SHE wanted to do and gave her a couple of numbers of people I knew were looking for employees (not in child care). She checks in with me once a week or so to see if I know of any other jobs. Her former boss now has completely cut her position and she is still looking for work. She hasn't been able to find that home day care situation that pays what she wants and has the full time hours. She's broke and jobless but she at least knows what she wants.

She's a cool kid and she reminded me a lot of myself when I was her age. She could have had a shot at a great job here but her what she wanted out of the job was something I couldn't offer.

The things you value in your job are things I could not offer. You wouldn't consider working here anymore than the girl I interviewed. It's really important that the staff assistant and the owner are a good MATCH just like provider and parent need to be a good match.

I can't offer a job where the staff assistant is needed. I don't want to run the number of kids it would take to HAVE a job where they were needed.

I can't offer a job where the staff assistant is as competent as I am or as fast. I couldn't afford that person.

I can offer a job where I don't need the staff assistant and they aren't as competent or as fast/hard worker as I am. I can offer a job where the person is solely a worker NOT a partner. I can offer a job where the staff has little to no input in the day to day job.

The person who takes my job gets paid handsomely for not being a partner and not having input. Your boss pays you to be a partner like employee and to have a say in your day to day. I pay for someone who doesn't want that. Both are worth paying for ..... that's for sure.
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Old 10-15-2011, 08:10 PM
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Ah, now I see what you're saying, NannyDE. Your employee description is different from those around here. Very different from what I've heard other providers talk about from other areas, as well. But as long as your employees know ahead of time what to expect, and they're okay with it, that's great. It sounds like your employees do well to work for you. paid time off, paid holidays, paid vacations, high hourly rate, able to work even when the enrollment is low (that's a huge one for me because I never know from month to month what my income will be and how many hours I will be able to receive because it all depends on whether there's enough children to pay me the full time amount). Most of the time my income is dependent on being needed. So when enrollment is low I'm praying just as hard as the owner for more children But also because I do want her to be successful in daycare. When she hired me, she was looking for someone who could do hands on things with the children. Down on the floor type. She wanted someone to take over planning and teaching preschool, and who could help her in other areas as well, before or after preschool hours. I began doing everything as she was, but she encouraged us (at that time she had another assistant, but she couldn't depend on her being there all the time) to give suggestions on things that might work better, so I felt free to give ideas. I have taught preschool and worked at daycare before this one, but did not have any higher education when she hired me, so I don't think I know everything (a have a lot of learning to do), but I've always been willing to try something new. So when I hear something that worked for someone else, or have seen how someone else does something that works well for them, I try to take from it, and apply it to our situation, as long as the owner is ok with it.
Can I ask, what does your assistant do? What is a typical day for her? I'm just a little confused since you don't hire them to do things with the children like playing and doing activities with them. We have a very structured day, starting at the time I walk in, until the children wake up from nap. We do worship and Bible story, then I begin circle time and preschool activities, then we have snack, finish preschool activities if needed, then free play outdoors (or in, if the weather prevents outdoors), then lunch, and nap. Then we walk down to get the school agers off the bus, come back in for snack, and then free play outdoors again (or indoors if we can't go out), until all the children have gone home. During the last 15 min of the day, I begin vacuuming, cleaning up, preparing trash to take out, sweeping the floor again from snack crumbs, etc (very few children by this time, so all this can be done while they are free playing). The children's care during any free play periods are up to me, giving the owner time to do other things. Part of that time, of course, she spends preparing lunch. So if things are calm, and they're playing well, I can sit and read with some, or put puzzles together with another, help another sound out words to spell, etc. If not, I'm just busy keeping an eye on everyone, and reminding them to clean up after themselves before they get out more toys from another center, helping some in the restroom, if needed, reminding them to use their words and work things out for themselves, reminding them to use walking feet (they have to be reminded of this over and over and over again some days).... Only one of us are working after 1:30 or 2:00 every day, so anything after that is all up to one person to do, without back up, since the other has already left for the day.
Whoops, I'm off topic. Sorry, I'm going now!
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Old 10-16-2011, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Preschool/daycare teacher View Post
Ah, now I see what you're saying, NannyDE. Your employee description is different from those around here. Very different from what I've heard other providers talk about from other areas, as well. But as long as your employees know ahead of time what to expect, and they're okay with it, that's great. It sounds like your employees do well to work for you. paid time off, paid holidays, paid vacations, high hourly rate, able to work even when the enrollment is low (that's a huge one for me because I never know from month to month what my income will be and how many hours I will be able to receive because it all depends on whether there's enough children to pay me the full time amount). Most of the time my income is dependent on being needed. So when enrollment is low I'm praying just as hard as the owner for more children But also because I do want her to be successful in daycare. When she hired me, she was looking for someone who could do hands on things with the children. Down on the floor type. She wanted someone to take over planning and teaching preschool, and who could help her in other areas as well, before or after preschool hours. I began doing everything as she was, but she encouraged us (at that time she had another assistant, but she couldn't depend on her being there all the time) to give suggestions on things that might work better, so I felt free to give ideas. I have taught preschool and worked at daycare before this one, but did not have any higher education when she hired me, so I don't think I know everything (a have a lot of learning to do), but I've always been willing to try something new. So when I hear something that worked for someone else, or have seen how someone else does something that works well for them, I try to take from it, and apply it to our situation, as long as the owner is ok with it.
Can I ask, what does your assistant do? What is a typical day for her? I'm just a little confused since you don't hire them to do things with the children like playing and doing activities with them. We have a very structured day, starting at the time I walk in, until the children wake up from nap. We do worship and Bible story, then I begin circle time and preschool activities, then we have snack, finish preschool activities if needed, then free play outdoors (or in, if the weather prevents outdoors), then lunch, and nap. Then we walk down to get the school agers off the bus, come back in for snack, and then free play outdoors again (or indoors if we can't go out), until all the children have gone home. During the last 15 min of the day, I begin vacuuming, cleaning up, preparing trash to take out, sweeping the floor again from snack crumbs, etc (very few children by this time, so all this can be done while they are free playing). The children's care during any free play periods are up to me, giving the owner time to do other things. Part of that time, of course, she spends preparing lunch. So if things are calm, and they're playing well, I can sit and read with some, or put puzzles together with another, help another sound out words to spell, etc. If not, I'm just busy keeping an eye on everyone, and reminding them to clean up after themselves before they get out more toys from another center, helping some in the restroom, if needed, reminding them to use their words and work things out for themselves, reminding them to use walking feet (they have to be reminded of this over and over and over again some days).... Only one of us are working after 1:30 or 2:00 every day, so anything after that is all up to one person to do, without back up, since the other has already left for the day.
Whoops, I'm off topic. Sorry, I'm going now!
She does all the physical care and supervision of the kids when she is in the house. Our daily walk takes about an hour and a half of staff time average. It's a bit more in the dead of winter. She serves meals, supervises, hand feeds, and cleans up afterwards. She does the food program paperwork, folds laundry, cleans and sorts toys. She also helps with peeling and chopping for our meals.

She's physically in the room the entire time the kids are up even if we just have one kid in the room. I don't cut her hours based on census. She gets the same hours regardless of whether or not we are low on kids. When we are low on kids she does the super deep cleaning stuff and organizing.

She does some of the table stuff you do. We rotate toys and activities out so she will supervise the kids at the table, fold laundry, and watch the kids out on the floor. She gets out our collections of toys and sets them up for whoever is doing that activity. She supervises the cleaning and sorting of the collections which takes about a half hour or so each play cycle.

We have so many toys here that we are able to just rotate the collections to the kids. They have something "new" pretty much every day to keep them occupied. We also have a great group of base toys that are always on the floor. She doesn't play with them but she does get them out and set up the area for whatever they are doing.... playmobil, lincoln logs, beads, puzzles, trains, etc.

We do about a half hour a day of Kindy prep for the kid or kids going off to school the next session IF they have been with us since they were babies. We wouldn't do it for kids that came in at a year or over. We have four years of "go play toys" before we work with them to shore up the prekindy stuff. It's very easy to do once the kids have had four years of "go play toys". She can do those activities with the oldest in the late afternoon when most of the kids are gone or clean toys, do paperwork while she's doing it. She pretty much multitasks whatever needs to be done that day. She stays busy from the minute she gets here till she leaves. There's no down time. Less kids means more work here.
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Old 10-17-2011, 07:57 PM
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She does all the physical care and supervision of the kids when she is in the house. Our daily walk takes about an hour and a half of staff time average. It's a bit more in the dead of winter. She serves meals, supervises, hand feeds, and cleans up afterwards. She does the food program paperwork, folds laundry, cleans and sorts toys. She also helps with peeling and chopping for our meals.

She's physically in the room the entire time the kids are up even if we just have one kid in the room. I don't cut her hours based on census. She gets the same hours regardless of whether or not we are low on kids. When we are low on kids she does the super deep cleaning stuff and organizing.

She does some of the table stuff you do. We rotate toys and activities out so she will supervise the kids at the table, fold laundry, and watch the kids out on the floor. She gets out our collections of toys and sets them up for whoever is doing that activity. She supervises the cleaning and sorting of the collections which takes about a half hour or so each play cycle.

We have so many toys here that we are able to just rotate the collections to the kids. They have something "new" pretty much every day to keep them occupied. We also have a great group of base toys that are always on the floor. She doesn't play with them but she does get them out and set up the area for whatever they are doing.... playmobil, lincoln logs, beads, puzzles, trains, etc.

We do about a half hour a day of Kindy prep for the kid or kids going off to school the next session IF they have been with us since they were babies. We wouldn't do it for kids that came in at a year or over. We have four years of "go play toys" before we work with them to shore up the prekindy stuff. It's very easy to do once the kids have had four years of "go play toys". She can do those activities with the oldest in the late afternoon when most of the kids are gone or clean toys, do paperwork while she's doing it. She pretty much multitasks whatever needs to be done that day. She stays busy from the minute she gets here till she leaves. There's no down time. Less kids means more work here.
Wow I need to get my assistants to do all of that! And you do consulting right....??

So I am just curious, what do you do through out the day? I can assume this website is high on the list
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Old 10-18-2011, 05:12 AM
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Wow I need to get my assistants to do all of that! And you do consulting right....??

So I am just curious, what do you do through out the day? I can assume this website is high on the list
I do all of the care of the kids when she is not in the house. A few weeks ago we went from operating about twelve hours a day to now about ten. She's here about six of those. I do all food purchasing, storing, and cooking (with the exception of some peeling/chopping). I set up lunch in the playroom so when the kids come in all they have to do is sit and eat. I do all kitchen work (about three hours a day total) and wash and dry laundry (about a half hour). I do ALL parent contacts. Arrivals, departures, and daily communications are a little over an hour of my ten hour day.

I have the playroom on camera so I supervise my staff as she works and monitor the kids playing. I intercede when need be. She's only at the 2.5 year mark of experience so I still do quite a bit of training with her as she learns the biz.

I do my side businesses when I have time in the midst of that.
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Old 10-18-2011, 08:07 AM
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I do all of the care of the kids when she is not in the house. A few weeks ago we went from operating about twelve hours a day to now about ten. She's here about six of those. I do all food purchasing, storing, and cooking (with the exception of some peeling/chopping). I set up lunch in the playroom so when the kids come in all they have to do is sit and eat. I do all kitchen work (about three hours a day total) and wash and dry laundry (about a half hour). I do ALL parent contacts. Arrivals, departures, and daily communications are a little over an hour of my ten hour day.

I have the playroom on camera so I supervise my staff as she works and monitor the kids playing. I intercede when need be. She's only at the 2.5 year mark of experience so I still do quite a bit of training with her as she learns the biz.

I do my side businesses when I have time in the midst of that.
What made you cut your hours? Did you have to let people go in order to do that? How did you go about letting people know. I cut mine by 1/2 hour and you would have thought it was hours earlier the way some of mine responded. I did it to get parents to pick there child up and have to make an end to their day.
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