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  #1  
Old 06-25-2013, 10:44 PM
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Default Give A Break Or Use My Backbone

Back story......

Client has been with me about 1.5 years. Unfortunately, the family is going through a divorce. They have one child together which is my DCK.

Over the 1.5 years, they have made a few late payments and have had late pickups. I have charged sometimes and not others.

Well now that they are going through a divorce, DCM is just really out of it. She does not work, is a Full time student, but has the summer off. DCK went from FT to PT over the summer.

Just recently, I charged a late payment fee of $75.00. Well yesterday DCM was 1 hour late picking up DCK. Poor DCK was all ready to go and waiting by the door for pick up and just cried their little heart out. I almost cried too. I text and called DCM, but did not get an answer to what was going on. DCM shows up and says that they need to change pick up hours from 430 to 600. I don't offer 600 pick up anymore. I tell DCM this. DCM tells me it is so that DCD can pick up and spend some time with DCK....So now I feel obligated to work with them on this so that DCK can see dad. This child has been through A lot and the last thing I want to do is to have to part ways with this family. The child has special needs and I just could not bare him getting hurt.

DCM never did say why she was a full hour late picking up. I know that they are going through a TON. I don't want to let their problems become mine, but I just can't help but feel bad about their situation. 80% of me says charge the full late fee, which would be $60.00. But the other 20% of me says don't.

I am a softie, but this is not the first time this has happened, however that last time it happened was back in February.

HELP....
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  #2  
Old 06-25-2013, 11:36 PM
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But, you don't want to be open till 6! So, don't do it.... you'll just be unhappy and we can't have that.
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:39 PM
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But, you don't want to be open till 6! So, don't do it.... you'll just be unhappy and we can't have that.
would you charge the late fee????
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:43 PM
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How does staying at day care an extra hour and a half each day equal more time with Dad? Divorces are of course tough on parents, but they are also very very hard on children.
If they want to pick up later from now on make sure you charge more. This is after your normal hours and it's an inconvenience, and you shouldn't make it easy on them to spend less time with their kid who is going through a really tough time right now, and needs to know he is loved and valued by BOTH parents.
I would really encourage them to figure out a way to not pick up later. DCK is going to notice that he is the last one to get picked up, and is spending less time with either parent.
Maybe mom can pick him up and dad can pick him up later, so he gets evening time with both parents. I know Mom and Dad seeing each other every day may be hard at this point. Tread carefully, some of it is none of our business, but voicing concerns about the welfare of the kids IS our business.
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Old 06-26-2013, 12:00 AM
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would you charge the late fee????
I have never enforced my late fee, so I am the wrong person to ask. My dcp's are hardly ever late. However, if it was a chronic problem I would start to charge it.

So, in your case, I wouldn't. I'm sure others, who have a stronger backbone than mine, would charge it though.
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Old 06-26-2013, 04:26 AM
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I don't enforce my late fee (I know I know) but I think you should. If you don't it's opening up the route to "I'm going through a hard time so I DESERVE special from my DCP." If DCM had called & explained that an emergency had occurred & that she was sorry but would be late I might waive it depending on the situation.


6pm pickup - no way. Dad can pick her up elsewhere at 6pm no need for their problem to be yours. If Mom can't see Dad for some reason then she can ask a family member/friend to help out.

I feel for you.
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Old 06-26-2013, 04:47 AM
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Sh made no apology. No response to texts or calls. Yes I would charge. She would be lucky if I didn't term for that behavior.

She can meet dcd somewhere else for his time with the child. The child sow ding and extra 1.5 hours with you does not = more time with dad. Give me a break. She wants special.
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Old 06-26-2013, 04:53 AM
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Sh made no apology. No response to texts or calls. Yes I would charge. She would be lucky if I didn't term for that behavior.

She can meet dcd somewhere else for his time with the child. The child sow ding and extra 1.5 hours with you does not = more time with dad. Give me a break. She wants special.


"I'm sorry DCM, I no longer offer that later pick up time. I understand if you need to give your notice. If you ever leave your child here for over an hour after my closing time again and I can't get in touch with you, I will call CPS to report abandonment. My closing time is _____ and dck needs to be picked up by that time. Again, I understand if you need to give your two week notice."

And then I would charge the late fee.

Honestly if she had been 5 or 10 minutes late, then I would let it slide. But an hour?! With no call?! Not answering phone/texts?!Oh heck no!
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Old 06-26-2013, 06:33 AM
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If one of my daycare families were an hour late with no call, no response to my calls, they better have damn well have been in a car accident! And then to not give you an apology or any kind of explanation!! NO! I would have requested an explanation and right then and there told them what they owed for a late fee.
It is not YOUR responsibility to help them pass their child back and forth. Do not keep this child past your closing time. Mum can pick him up at regular time and dad can get him from mum after work.
It is not your job to help them make their divorce work.
You are only there to provide child care within your hours of operation. The end.
She may either leave or realize that she has to be responsible for her own family situation.
Parents ask all sorts of things, it doesn't mean we have to say yes.
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Old 06-26-2013, 06:50 AM
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If one of my daycare families were an hour late with no call, no response to my calls, they better have damn well have been in a car accident! And then to not give you an apology or any kind of explanation!! NO! I would have requested an explanation and right then and there told them what they owed for a late fee.
It is not YOUR responsibility to help them pass their child back and forth. Do not keep this child past your closing time. Mum can pick him up at regular time and dad can get him from mum after work.
It is not your job to help them make their divorce work.
You are only there to provide child care within your hours of operation. The end.
She may either leave or realize that she has to be responsible for her own family situation.
Parents ask all sorts of things, it doesn't mean we have to say yes.
I agree- your job is to care for their child during their contracted times- you are not family, a counselor, or anyone else who needs to be brought into their troubles. I would DEFINITELY enforce the late fee, and remind them before drop off that there is no care until it is paid!!! Also, I would not work extra so that DCD can PU from you- that is their responsibility to figure out a workable situation and you are closed before the time they need. Give your DCB extra love and attention, but follow your policies. How did you not demand an explanation for not picking up on time OR communicating with you when they were that late?! That is extremely disrespectful. Please don't be a doormat for them- they will continue to take advantage of you!
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Old 06-26-2013, 06:53 AM
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I would not extend my hours and seriously, why does the DCM think spending an extra 1.5 hrs with you instead of his own mom make any sense? He needs time with both parents, let them work it out.
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:07 AM
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no work, no classes bet she was out shopping or having fun in the sun... Yes charge the late fee. No do not stay open late so dcd can pick up she can do it and then meet him at 6 somewhere.

My guess she wants to go out those evenings and does not want to wait for him to show up.

sounds like not only do you need to charge the late fee but impose 3 strikes you are out.... late 3x and look for other care.
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:15 AM
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it makes no sense. If she is home why can't she pick up her kid and she meet dad somewhere. If she doesn't want to do it, then they can get a mediator to do it
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:25 AM
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I'm also bad with charging the late fee, although I've never had anyone be that late without a valid explanation. If this happened to me, I'd be very clear that it will not happen again. The consequence would be termination. No mention of "10-15 minutes is one thing, but an hour..." Nope. Just "this is unacceptable and will not happen again". I had a family show 10 minutes late once ("construction") and I told them this will not work for me and they had to pick up by my closing. They haven't been late since.

As far as the later pick up...so you should extend your hours so DCD doesn't have to alter his schedule? Umm...nope. Why should you work longer so he isn't effected? I get it. I'd feel bad too, but it's not fair to you too expect you to pick up their slack.

All just my humble opinion
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:12 AM
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DCM shows up and says that they need to change pick up hours from 430 to 600. I don't offer 600 pick up anymore. I tell DCM this. DCM tells me it is so that DCD can pick up and spend some time with DCK....
So what's the difference between DCD picking up at your house to spent time with DCG and DCD picking up at their house? There is no need for you to get involved, there is no need for you to be inconvenienced. This is DCM and DCD's divorce, child and family .... not yours. If DCM doesn't want to see DCD for the swap TOUGH. she needs to put her big girl panties on and be an adult. There are other arrangement she can make.

BC has a great letter just for this purpose ... it explains what to expect from you as a DC provider and what you expect from them in the situation of a divorce. It's a great letter. I used it and changed a few*things to fit me and I've used it since. It was a lifesaver.

Maybe BC can post the original letter.
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:14 AM
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thanks ladies...Like I said I know that I need to use my backbone, but this is where I am weak. Issues like the ones that these parents are going through melts me and I am notorious for caving in.

I took all of your advice and told DCM NO to everything and charged the late fee as well. Sometimes I need to be reminded of WHY I should do something, so thank you all who chimed in to share your thoughts about this with me.
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:16 AM
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So what's the difference between DCD picking up at your house to spent time with DCG and DCD picking up at their house? There is no need for you to get involved, there is no need for you to be inconvenienced. This is DCM and DCD's divorce, child and family .... not yours. If DCM doesn't want to see DCD for the swap TOUGH. she needs to put her big girl panties on and be an adult. There are other arrangement she can make.

BC has a great letter just for this purpose ... it explains what to expect from you as a DC provider and what you expect from them in the situation of a divorce. It's a great letter. I used it and changed a few*things to fit me and I've used it since. It was a lifesaver.

Maybe BC can post the original letter.
thanks so much MV...... yesterday was probably a day that ranked up there as one of the worst days of DCK in my 10 years..... I guess by the end of the day my brain and emotions were just drained.......

I do have that letter that BC posted about divorce a year or so ago. I love that letter, but like you would need to tweak it, just don't even know where to start....
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:37 AM
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thanks ladies...Like I said I know that I need to use my backbone, but this is where I am weak. Issues like the ones that these parents are going through melts me and I am notorious for caving in.

I took all of your advice and told DCM NO to everything and charged the late fee as well. Sometimes I need to be reminded of WHY I should do something, so thank you all who chimed in to share your thoughts about this with me.
I would feel bad as well, but I'm glad you stuck to your contract- people who assume DCPs' jobs include taking care of the parents' needs need to think about what they are asking and if they'd be willing to do the same thing in their own jobs (I'm sure a boss expecting them to work an hour extra and not be notified prior or paid would NOT sit well with them, especially if not they are not in a high-salary, executive-type job!) It sounds like you care a lot about your DCK, and that is wonderful, that is your job. The parents' jobs are to make decisions that work for them and hopefully support their child. I hope things work out well for the little boy!
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:44 AM
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I would feel bad as well, but I'm glad you stuck to your contract- people who assume DCPs' jobs include taking care of the parents' needs need to think about what they are asking and if they'd be willing to do the same thing in their own jobs (I'm sure a boss expecting them to work an hour extra and not be notified prior or paid would NOT sit well with them, especially if not they are not in a high-salary, executive-type job!) It sounds like you care a lot about your DCK, and that is wonderful, that is your job. The parents' jobs are to make decisions that work for them and hopefully support their child. I hope things work out well for the little boy!
Lately I feel like I need to add to my PHB I am not your family counselor, therapist or such....I get DCFs coming in here complaining about their spouse to me, their job, or what not. I just look at them and smile and say, I am sorry to hear that..... BUt it's getting old having to hear it...I feel like saying, unless it is about your child, I don't really care to discuss it........... BUT I don't have that kind of backbone...

If I were an ice cream, I would not even be soft serve. I would be melted ice cream on the ground.
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:51 AM
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YES charge the late fee. I hope it's HUGE. Also add a warning in that the next time this happens and you can't reach her after she is an HOUR LATE that you will call the police to report child abandonment and she will be IMMMEDIATELY TERMINATED with no refund of fees.

No, I would not help her out by allowing her to change pick up til 6. I would say her contracted pick-up is all you are willing to offer. I wouldn't even offer til your regular closing time because she WILL be late. Give yourself a cushion.

I realize that you feel bad for this family, but they are creating their own problems. And instead of owning their bad behavior, they are asking YOU to adapt. You didn't decide to get divorced. You are already spending tons of "quality time" with the kid. Let them figure out the non-contracted hours, but I would be nipping this asking for special in the bud now. Otherwise, be prepared for them to ask a lot more out of you.
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:25 AM
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She made no apology. No response to texts or calls. Yes I would charge. She would be lucky if I didn't term for that behavior.

She can meet dcd somewhere else for his time with the child. The child sow ding and extra 1.5 hours with you does not = more time with dad. Give me a break. She wants special.
Also she was over an hour late with no call or way to contact her, she's luck you didn't call the police. Some daycares have a 3 strikes (or even a 1 stike) rule where if the parent doesn't make the effort to contact the provider to say they are going to be late (especially one hour) that they will call CPS or the police department because for all they know there was an accident or the parents are abandoning their child or it could be a sign of neglect by frequently forgetting the child. One of my CD teachers (the former FCCP) said that if its about a 1/2 hour to 1 hour late and you can't get ahold of the parents that you should report it.

When my old boss started her business (around the 1970s/80s) she had one kid when she was in the process of getting licensed where on the first day the mom was 2 hours late picking him up and then my boss got worried so she decided to call the cops. It turns out the mom was a prostitute and abandoned her son! The poor kid had to be put in foster care because his mother never came back to claim him and they couldn't find any family members to release him to.

But if your DCM would have said that she was going to be an hour late ahead of time or even called you to let you know before pick up time I would have considered giving her a break or just a minimum flat fee for overtime (with the notice) but since she didn't, I would charge it because they are still responsible for giving you notice of changes to schedules BEFORE it happens.

Also like a PP mentioned don't get wrapped up in their drama by staying open later for ONLY them. And as another PP mentioned it doesn't make sense for you to extend your hours only so DCD can be the one to pick him up to spend time with him; he's not going to be with him for that hour and he could always spend that time with mom. He can always pick DCK up at DCM's house- they may not like each other right now but they still need to be civil for the sake of their son. Like my psychology teacher said "When you are a parent, you have to build your life around your child. Not the other way around". I would tell them "I'm sorry but these are my new hours, and I am sticking to them. I try to be fair to all my DCFs and if I offer you extended hours I will have to offer other families extended hours and I am just not comfortable doing that anymore. You will have to find another arrangement for pick up or another arrangement for child care."
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:32 AM
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thanks ladies...Like I said I know that I need to use my backbone, but this is where I am weak. Issues like the ones that these parents are going through melts me and I am notorious for caving in.

I took all of your advice and told DCM NO to everything and charged the late fee as well. Sometimes I need to be reminded of WHY I should do something, so thank you all who chimed in to share your thoughts about this with me.
It seems like you have been having a lot of issues with ungreatful parents lately.
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:40 AM
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It seems like you have been having a lot of issues with ungreatful parents lately.
That's what I was thinking, too. How in the world do you find these people? I'd never have lasted 2 years in this business, let alone 20, if I had to put up with things like this.

to you as you try to deal with everything.
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:51 AM
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If I told you guys HALF the stuff that I deal with on a daily basis, you would not believe me. I feel like I am offering care for the real house wives of___________________________.

I also know that it has to do with the fact that from the start I did not make my backbone KNOWN to a lot of these families and then had a heck of a time when I decided enough was enough and I needed to put my foot down.

Over the last several years I have realized that many of these families mistaken my niceness as a weakness.
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:57 AM
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I would feel bad as well, but I'm glad you stuck to your contract- people who assume DCPs' jobs include taking care of the parents' needs need to think about what they are asking and if they'd be willing to do the same thing in their own jobs (I'm sure a boss expecting them to work an hour extra and not be notified prior or paid would NOT sit well with them, especially if not they are not in a high-salary, executive-type job!) It sounds like you care a lot about your DCK, and that is wonderful, that is your job. The parents' jobs are to make decisions that work for them and hopefully support their child. I hope things work out well for the little boy!
I agree with Mama.

I think we would ALL feel bad if we were in your position Daycare ... I know I would. Our profession is a little different because we work with children and even though this is our profession we tend to grow right along with the children and the children stay with us for years the majority of the time. We grow bonds with them to learn to love them, it's hard not to. We also tend to form relationships with the children's families so even though business is business the strings of "personal" get tugged on at times. It's ok to feel bad for them, but we must remember that even when we want to help we may in fact be overstepping our boundaries. KWIM?

Here is my version of BC's letter. HTH give you ideas on how to personalize it. I don't think that I changed it much though.
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:05 AM
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I agree with Mama.

I think we would ALL feel bad if we were in your position Daycare ... I know I would. Our profession is a little different because we work with children and even though this is our profession we tend to grow right along with the children and the children stay with us for years the majority of the time. We grow bonds with them to learn to love them, it's hard not to. We also tend to form relationships with the children's families so even though business is business the strings of "personal" get tugged on at times. It's ok to feel bad for them, but we must remember that even when we want to help we may in fact be overstepping our boundaries. KWIM?

Here is my version of BC's letter. HTH give you ideas on how to personalize it. I don't think that I changed it much though.
I feel like sometimes my emotions just cant stop getting in the way. YOu are right in what you say about getting attached to the families and the kids. I am very fond of this family, they are wonderful people. I know part of me wants to just be able to fix everything, but it's not my place, nor would I even try....
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:15 AM
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Over the last several years I have realized that many of these families mistaken my niceness as a weakness.
This is definitely true for a lot of provider/parent relationships.

Just because I am VERY strict and VERY business like in my policies and such, does not mean I don't care or that I don't truly feel for a family's situation.

Same goes for being nice. Just because you care and are a nice person, doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't enforce your policies and rules.

It's a lot like the "positive-negative" trick most everyone was taught at some point in their life. You know, say something positive BEFORE the negative and follow it up with a positive.

I'd tell the mom how sorry I was about her personal situation and let her know I do care about her and her child(ren). I would then address the business issues I had with the situation (the late fee etc) and then follow up by saying something positive like I am glad I can be a stable influence in DCK's life right now as the parents deal with their issues.

It lets clients know I DO empathize and care but I am still a business FIRST...although it is on a more personal level than most.

It's a fine line and balancing it is tough...but still doable.
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:33 AM
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This is definitely true for a lot of provider/parent relationships.

Just because I am VERY strict and VERY business like in my policies and such, does not mean I don't care or that I don't truly feel for a family's situation.

Same goes for being nice. Just because you care and are a nice person, doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't enforce your policies and rules.

It's a lot like the "positive-negative" trick most everyone was taught at some point in their life. You know, say something positive BEFORE the negative and follow it up with a positive.

I'd tell the mom how sorry I was about her personal situation and let her know I do care about her and her child(ren). I would then address the business issues I had with the situation (the late fee etc) and then follow up by saying something positive like I am glad I can be a stable influence in DCK's life right now as the parents deal with their issues.

It lets clients know I DO empathize and care but I am still a business FIRST...although it is on a more personal level than most.

It's a fine line and balancing it is tough...but still doable.
OMG so ture BC....

as each day passes, I am still learning in this business. I hate having to deal with all the drama that comes with it and just wish that I could spend all of my time focused on the kids having fun, teaching, loving, and just giving them all of my attention....

and with that, our bus leaves here in a few for our fantasy road trip......lol
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by MyAngels View Post
That's what I was thinking, too. How in the world do you find these people? I'd never have lasted 2 years in this business, let alone 20, if I had to put up with things like this.

to you as you try to deal with everything.
Sometimes I think there is an invisible sign that appears out of nowhere every once and a while that says, "We now have an opening for a crazy family". And only the crazies can see it.
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:06 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2011
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Originally Posted by Bookworm View Post
Sometimes I think there is an invisible sign that appears out of nowhere every once and a while that says, "We now have an opening for a crazy family". And only the crazies can see it.
lol that is sooo funny...
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