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  #1  
Old 04-25-2016, 09:25 AM
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Default How Would You Proceed with Parent?

I'm registered, but logged out for privacy purposes.

I'm wondering how you would all proceed in the following situation:
-I have a parent that has made chronically late payments (nearly all in the 3+ months of care have been late (in my contract, it is requested the day before service; I generally receive it at the end of the first day of care).
-I've given a reminder most of those times
-Last week only a partial payment was made, and a deadline was sent for the small amount that was still due. The deadline for that payment was missed.
-I've also had to give many reminders about other policies. I feel like I'm very frequently in a position of having to remind myself to send reminders (I'd really like to get away from doing this. It really is a wasteful task).
-I sent a very professional, but direct email on Saturday morning reminding mom of the policy and that, going forward, it would be strictly enforced.
-Mom was displeased with my email, and found me unhelpful. The conversation felt somewhat tense, and I stated that we needed to speak in person or on the phone before the first day of care (Wed). I explained the importance of positive communication and relationships, and I'm truly not comfortable inviting the family back into my home until we have a conversation without children present. I'm far more concerned about this turn in our communication than I am the late payments or need for frequent reminders.

I haven't heard back from mom, and I feel as though (a) my flexibility was taken advantage of and (b) I truly hate nagging and don't want to continue to do so. I'm feeling inclined to terminate care, but I want to be fair and not be too hasty. I LOVE the child (definitely a highlight of our week when she is here), and I really do adore mom, too. I just feel as though our business arrangement may not be working. Do really DON'T want to send a reminder that we need to speak, because this is exactly what I want to stop doing.

What would you do?
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  #2  
Old 04-25-2016, 09:39 AM
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I would not allow them in the door without payment in full.

It only takes sending them away once for it to work.
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  #3  
Old 04-25-2016, 09:41 AM
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I had a similar situation where a couple of my families were dropping off past my drop off time without calling to let me know that they would be late. It wouldn't have been a problem if it was just occasionally here and there and they notified me per my policy. However it was getting to be more like a daily occurance with no call to let me know they were coming and when they did show up it was disruptive because I wasn't expecting them. Since it was more than one family and I wanted to make sure the other families also knew how important my drop off policy was, I sent home a note stating my policy and that I understood if their schedule needs had changed that I don't accommodate, I understood if they needed to find other care that fit their needs better. After that the problem stopped.

At the point you are at, you may need to terminate since it just seems like dcm is ignoring your policy. Also I would not be accepting the child at drop off without full payment after that first late payment.
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Old 04-25-2016, 09:46 AM
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Flexibility does not mean breaking your own policies.

By doing so, you are teaching them they don't have to follow them either.

If you don't believe they are fair, why should they? If they were fair, why would you feel guilty enforcing them.

See the problem? Consequences should be applied the first time and every time thereafter.
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  #5  
Old 04-25-2016, 09:50 AM
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Default Totally.

If I could go back in time, I would definitely have enforced the policy with this family right away. All of my other families are so, so good about it, so I was justifying being flexible for just one family (lesson learned). I do have full payment now from that family (mom paid online right after I sent the first email), and I really appreciate it. At this point, I really am more concerned about the tone of the emails she sent, and the fact she hasn't responded. It feels like just about everything I say/request is a taken as a suggestion. I wonder if it is worth moving forward.

I suppose I can keep my fingers crossed she will respond and our follow up conversation will go better than our initial one? And if she doesn't respond do I terminate Tuesday evening? Or do I notify her care is suspended until we go have a follow-up conversation? I was REALLY clear that the conversation must happen before she returns to care based on how we left things on Saturday.
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  #6  
Old 04-25-2016, 10:12 AM
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If the conversation is that important to you, follow through.

Myself, I would treat it like any other "silent treatment" adult temper tantrum. As long as they are doing what I ask and paying on time, I could care less. I like the quiet.
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  #7  
Old 04-25-2016, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
If I could go back in time, I would definitely have enforced the policy with this family right away. All of my other families are so, so good about it, so I was justifying being flexible for just one family (lesson learned). I do have full payment now from that family (mom paid online right after I sent the first email), and I really appreciate it. At this point, I really am more concerned about the tone of the emails she sent, and the fact she hasn't responded. It feels like just about everything I say/request is a taken as a suggestion. I wonder if it is worth moving forward.

I suppose I can keep my fingers crossed she will respond and our follow up conversation will go better than our initial one? And if she doesn't respond do I terminate Tuesday evening? Or do I notify her care is suspended until we go have a follow-up conversation? I was REALLY clear that the conversation must happen before she returns to care based on how we left things on Saturday.
If you feel you were clear, then you obviously aren't a priority to her since she has not responded yet. Or she feels you will just let it go and she can proceed as she always has.

I would send a reminder via text or email (as written documentation) that states "as I mentioned before, I need to have a conference with you BEFORE any services will be available to you. Failure to comply will result in your two-week notice to terminate your contract with ABC care (or whatever notice you require)".
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  #8  
Old 04-25-2016, 10:21 AM
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Default Thank you!

You have offered such valuable insight. I probably could learn to not care about the adult behaviors so much. I'm new to this (I'm sure that isn't surprising!!), so every new situation is a new hurdle for me.

As much as I didn't really want to follow-up on the conversation, I just reached out to mom. I think you're absolutely right that I set new expectations when I didn't follow through on my own policies. I'm hoping to take this opportunity to reboot. So glad this forum exists!
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  #9  
Old 04-25-2016, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
I'm registered, but logged out for privacy purposes.

I'm wondering how you would all proceed in the following situation:
-I have a parent that has made chronically late payments (nearly all in the 3+ months of care have been late (in my contract, it is requested the day before service; I generally receive it at the end of the first day of care).
-I've given a reminder most of those times
-Last week only a partial payment was made, and a deadline was sent for the small amount that was still due. The deadline for that payment was missed.
-I've also had to give many reminders about other policies. I feel like I'm very frequently in a position of having to remind myself to send reminders (I'd really like to get away from doing this. It really is a wasteful task).
-I sent a very professional, but direct email on Saturday morning reminding mom of the policy and that, going forward, it would be strictly enforced.
-Mom was displeased with my email, and found me unhelpful. The conversation felt somewhat tense, and I stated that we needed to speak in person or on the phone before the first day of care (Wed). I explained the importance of positive communication and relationships, and I'm truly not comfortable inviting the family back into my home until we have a conversation without children present. I'm far more concerned about this turn in our communication than I am the late payments or need for frequent reminders.

I haven't heard back from mom, and I feel as though (a) my flexibility was taken advantage of and (b) I truly hate nagging and don't want to continue to do so. I'm feeling inclined to terminate care, but I want to be fair and not be too hasty. I LOVE the child (definitely a highlight of our week when she is here), and I really do adore mom, too. I just feel as though our business arrangement may not be working. Do really DON'T want to send a reminder that we need to speak, because this is exactly what I want to stop doing.

What would you do?
The bolded made me snort. Did she actually say that? You don't need to be helpful with late payments.

Kelly
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  #10  
Old 04-25-2016, 10:33 AM
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Default Yes!

Kelly,

Indeed. A sign that I have totally blown it with my policies I think!!
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  #11  
Old 04-25-2016, 10:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
I probably could learn to not care about the adult behaviors so much.
We have all had to learn this. You are absolutely right, she should behave better about this whole issue. The problem becomes obvious with experience; being right does not pay the bills.

Dealing with difficult people effectively does. As time goes on, your own policies, enforced consistently, will weed out the problem clients early into their stay. The sooner the issues are addressed, the sooner your business reputation will become solid.

Oddly enough, the more hard @$$ed and exclusive I became in enrollment, the more clients wanted to come here. Human nature is a funny thing.
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  #12  
Old 04-25-2016, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Herder View Post
Oddly enough, the more hard @$$ed and exclusive I became in enrollment, the more clients wanted to come here. Human nature is a funny thing.
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  #13  
Old 04-25-2016, 10:44 AM
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"As time goes on, your own policies, enforced consistently, will weed out the problem clients early into their stay. The sooner the issues are addressed, the sooner your business reputation will become solid."

This is super smart!!
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  #14  
Old 04-25-2016, 11:00 AM
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Man can I relate! I once had a family that was late every week for 2 years. It took me a while to register that this was being done on purpose. It obviously was not a priority to pay for tuition on time. By the time I figured that out I had let it go on for too long and didn't know how to address it. Long story short, I made a change in my policies for when tuition was due and started implementing my late fees. I do still send out weekly reminders, but rarely do I have the chronic lates anymore.

My point in telling that story is that once a problem (especially early on) always a problem. But also I had the responsibility of enforcing my businesses policies and I did not do that either.

Unfortunately, in your situation I would say you really might have to give serious consideration to terminating. As providers, sometimes we get attached to the child or even families without consideration that what we do is a business. All the extra effort put into one families situation can really take away from the child care as a whole. If we don't take care of our business it might not be there to care for the children and that really would be unfortunate.
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  #15  
Old 04-25-2016, 11:57 AM
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You were given great advice from ladies that really helped me find my backbone years ago. happy face

My clients have until Monday morning an hour before drop-off to have paid their tuition online bi-weekly. I give the entire weekend because of varying pay days for the parents. If it is unpaid, a late fee is added and I send a text message. "Oops! It looks like Johnny's account is unpaid. I wanted to give you a head's up before you try to come and sign him in. See you soon!"
I take the children's parents names off of my electronic sign in sheet (virtuclock.com) if their account is in the unpaid status. Taking the parent's name off means they cannot use their cell phone number to sign them in. Upon bringing their account up to date, their name/phone number is reattached and they're able to sign them in. I state that I cannot accept a child into care that cannot be signed in. Legally, I could. But, do I wish to? No. I don't want to work for free and wonder if I'll be getting my paycheck.
This usually only happens once. A parent will either be embarrassed and send a quick text back paying their tuition AND late fee or they'll ignore my text message and arrive and look surprised when they can't sign their child in. I ask them if they checked their text messages (sent an hour earlier) and then repeat what I texted with a BIG smile. When I used to feel uncomfortable, I faked it. You don't have to fill in the silence with a bunch of words. It's okay to just smile and stare sometimes. This is often quite effective. I have no need to feel embarrassed in situations like this nor do you. My bill isn't late nor am I trying to push someone to work for free without payment/break policies I agreed to follow.

Good luck, girl. You can do it.
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  #16  
Old 04-27-2016, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
I'm registered, but logged out for privacy purposes.

I'm wondering how you would all proceed in the following situation:
-I have a parent that has made chronically late payments (nearly all in the 3+ months of care have been late (in my contract, it is requested the day before service; I generally receive it at the end of the first day of care).
-I've given a reminder most of those times
-Last week only a partial payment was made, and a deadline was sent for the small amount that was still due. The deadline for that payment was missed.
-I've also had to give many reminders about other policies. I feel like I'm very frequently in a position of having to remind myself to send reminders (I'd really like to get away from doing this. It really is a wasteful task).
-I sent a very professional, but direct email on Saturday morning reminding mom of the policy and that, going forward, it would be strictly enforced.
-Mom was displeased with my email, and found me unhelpful. The conversation felt somewhat tense, and I stated that we needed to speak in person or on the phone before the first day of care (Wed). I explained the importance of positive communication and relationships, and I'm truly not comfortable inviting the family back into my home until we have a conversation without children present. I'm far more concerned about this turn in our communication than I am the late payments or need for frequent reminders.

I haven't heard back from mom, and I feel as though (a) my flexibility was taken advantage of and (b) I truly hate nagging and don't want to continue to do so. I'm feeling inclined to terminate care, but I want to be fair and not be too hasty. I LOVE the child (definitely a highlight of our week when she is here), and I really do adore mom, too. I just feel as though our business arrangement may not be working. Do really DON'T want to send a reminder that we need to speak, because this is exactly what I want to stop doing.

What would you do?
(^bolding^ by me)
~I doubt you will ever see them again(now, she may contact you some time in the future regarding a refund though). She probably has no intention of bringing her child back into your care on Wednesday, or ever, so that's why you haven't heard back...no need to have a talk if you're not going back(in her mind of course). I do wish you the best however!
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Old 04-27-2016, 10:20 AM
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Default Update!

Thank you all for your EXCELLENT advice. I have to say this story ended WAY better than I could have imagined. I didn't hear back from mom, so I emailed with follow-up steps regarding ending care. Mom responded, and we were able to talk through the issue and it ended on a really positive note. I think it is likely this situation was inevitable, but it would have been MUCH easier to have it happen at the start of care, rather than when we had a history of ignoring policies and strong personal relationship built. By not enforcing the policies, I certainly sent the message that they were optional. I'm super happy that we were able to reset and I didn't lose the family (because on a personal level I ADORE them). Maybe there is also a lesson here about establishing strictly professional relationships...
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Old 04-27-2016, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
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Thank you all for your EXCELLENT advice. I have to say this story ended WAY better than I could have imagined. I didn't hear back from mom, so I emailed with follow-up steps regarding ending care. Mom responded, and we were able to talk through the issue and it ended on a really positive note. I think it is likely this situation was inevitable, but it would have been MUCH easier to have it happen at the start of care, rather than when we had a history of ignoring policies and strong personal relationship built. By not enforcing the policies, I certainly sent the message that they were optional. I'm super happy that we were able to reset and I didn't lose the family (because on a personal level I ADORE them). Maybe there is also a lesson here about establishing strictly professional relationships...
I struggle with backbone also. It just always really does seem if you give an inch they want a mile. So I try to remember that to help keep me from caving.
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Old 04-27-2016, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Thank you all for your EXCELLENT advice. I have to say this story ended WAY better than I could have imagined. I didn't hear back from mom, so I emailed with follow-up steps regarding ending care. Mom responded, and we were able to talk through the issue and it ended on a really positive note. I think it is likely this situation was inevitable, but it would have been MUCH easier to have it happen at the start of care, rather than when we had a history of ignoring policies and strong personal relationship built. By not enforcing the policies, I certainly sent the message that they were optional. I'm super happy that we were able to reset and I didn't lose the family (because on a personal level I ADORE them). Maybe there is also a lesson here about establishing strictly professional relationships...
Even being in business for 24 years this year, I catch myself ignoring/thinking it is a mishap/that it will correct itself.....not happening....gotta stay professional....I just sent out memos to hold your child's hand when leaving/sign in-out daily/do not bring bags that do not fit in your cubby..... Sounds so elementary but this is the client/parent/guardian generation we live in
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Old 04-27-2016, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Thank you all for your EXCELLENT advice. I have to say this story ended WAY better than I could have imagined. I didn't hear back from mom, so I emailed with follow-up steps regarding ending care. Mom responded, and we were able to talk through the issue and it ended on a really positive note. I think it is likely this situation was inevitable, but it would have been MUCH easier to have it happen at the start of care, rather than when we had a history of ignoring policies and strong personal relationship built. By not enforcing the policies, I certainly sent the message that they were optional. I'm super happy that we were able to reset and I didn't lose the family (because on a personal level I ADORE them). Maybe there is also a lesson here about establishing strictly professional relationships...
That ^^ (bolded part) is THE reason I've stayed in business as long as I have.

It's the reason I don't stress about my job
It's the reason I love my job
It's the reason my job is super easy
It's THE reason I rarely have issues regarding payments, closed days, illness issues, drop off/pick up times and other common issues we see in regards to this job.
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  #21  
Old 04-27-2016, 01:43 PM
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That ^^ (bolded part) is THE reason I've stayed in business as long as I have.

It's the reason I don't stress about my job
It's the reason I love my job
It's the reason my job is super easy
It's THE reason I rarely have issues regarding payments, closed days, illness issues, drop off/pick up times and other common issues we see in regards to this job.
Hopefully my years of business experience will help me keep this new business as professional as you keep yours.
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