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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Can't Have Your Cake & Eat It Too!
BumbleBee 09:31 PM 06-06-2014
I have ads out for the summer right now. I've done a brief chit chat with 3 sets of parents regarding summer care for their school aged children. All 3 sets of parents want a flexible schedule. Because this is extremely common in this area (lots of parents who work in retail/shift work/etc.) I have a sheet explaining how flexible schedules work in my day care. There's basically 2 options:

1. Pay for all 5 days of the week and you are guaranteed a spot when you need it. Payment is required regardless of how many days the child attends. I have yet to find anybody who wants this option.

2. Call/text me to see if I have any spots open on the days you need. I cannot guarantee the spot as they are filled on a first come, first serve basis. Whomever contacts me first gets first dibs on open spots for the week. Once you have 'reserved' the spot, you are obligated to pay for it-even if your child doesn't attend.

Parents are all gung ho about the 2nd option, until there isn't a spot for their kid on a particular day. Then I'm unreliable.

Before anybody says 'just take full-timers' or 'I only do 5 days a week, regardless of attendance' well, I'm trying but in 1.5 years I haven't had much luck in that area. I have 1 full timer. I'd love to have 6 full timers but there just aren't calls for it. Everybody either needs a flex schedule (but can't afford to pay for 5 full days.) or part time.

Just my evening vent-getting tired of people thinking I'm trying to pull one over on them. This is a business. I have 6 spots total. Each spot needs to bring in XXX amount in order to remain profitable. I seriously think the first sentence of my PHB to read 'This is a FOR PROFIT business, not a charity.'

Thanks for letting me vent
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Little Buttons 05:50 AM 06-07-2014
I am sure that is super frustrating. Just an idea to throw out there, can you instead lock them into a set number of days. Like if they will need 3 days a week, they pay 3x daily rate and that is their weekly payment. You guarentee them three days a week with 2 weeks advance notice. Even in retail people get their schedule 2 weeks out typically. It wouldnt bring you to full time but atleast it would bring in some steady income for you and coverage for the parents.
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playground1 05:59 AM 06-07-2014
That's really difficult, but I don't know what else you could do besides take them first come first serve. Anything else would get too complicated and end up costing you money.
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childcaremom 06:04 AM 06-07-2014
Originally Posted by queen_of_the_playground:
That's really difficult, but I don't know what else you could do besides take them first come first serve. Anything else would get too complicated and end up costing you money.


How many spaces do you have available? If you only have a few slots per day, maybe that would be helpful for parents to understand more fully the situation. So if you have 4 possible families that need 2 spots, they need to act quickly. If they get their schedule a few weeks in advance, they should be booking them in asap.

Or going ft.

It is really hard for families to understand this.
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LysesKids 06:06 AM 06-07-2014
I have a seperate agreement for my families that just want drop-in care… it specifically states that they understand that this service is NOT regularly contracted care and that a space is never guaranteed to be available at anytime. I can't be considered unreliable because I have them sign it; refuse to sign, you don't get care.

I also charge more for the privilege of not being locked into a FT/PT contract.
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Heidi 03:38 PM 06-07-2014
I had the same problem with a lady last year. She was a substitute teacher. I don't normally do INFANT drop in care, because...well, you know why. I made an exception, because I had some availability on some days. This lady was in tears because she couldn't find anyone.

So, BEFORE she started, I told her that she had to understand, if I was full, I was full. I must stay within ratios, and there would be times I'd have to say no.

"Yes, I understand..."

We had that conversation at least 2x.

First time I had no room for her...she was fine with it, she understood.

Then, soon enough, it was "I feel like you are preventing me from working".

Yeah, that's it...I'm TRYING to keep you from working!

I finally just termed, and she went to an unregulated (illegal) provider, who didn't have to worry about ratios. Then, they moved out of state anyway.
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BumbleBee 07:51 PM 06-07-2014
I let them schedule up to a month in advance, though most wait until the last minute. It's on them, not me. I print off a calendar with open spaces every month & put it up on the parent board. As open spaces are filled I use a pen to update the calendar. Any dcp can request an open space (even part time parents, if they need an extra day). Once a spot is locked in by a dcp, they are required to pay for it-even if they don't use it. I require payment in advance as well.

The big issue, as I see it, is people don't want to lock in days too far out in case something changes. Yet they get upset with me when a space isn't available when they wait until the last minute. I understand that people get called into work at the last minute, or they pick up an extra shift, but I can't hold spots for free.

2 days a week I have 2 spots available (same 2 days every week), 1 day a week I have 3 spots available (same day every week) and 2 days a week I have 4 spots available (same 2 days every week) I let them all know this and it's on the calendar as well.

I know it's on them, not me. Just frustrating when it's taken out on me.
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Blackcat31 08:22 AM 06-08-2014
Originally Posted by Trummynme:
I let them schedule up to a month in advance, though most wait until the last minute. It's on them, not me. I print off a calendar with open spaces every month & put it up on the parent board. As open spaces are filled I use a pen to update the calendar. Any dcp can request an open space (even part time parents, if they need an extra day). Once a spot is locked in by a dcp, they are required to pay for it-even if they don't use it. I require payment in advance as well.

The big issue, as I see it, is people don't want to lock in days too far out in case something changes. Yet they get upset with me when a space isn't available when they wait until the last minute. I understand that people get called into work at the last minute, or they pick up an extra shift, but I can't hold spots for free.

2 days a week I have 2 spots available (same 2 days every week), 1 day a week I have 3 spots available (same day every week) and 2 days a week I have 4 spots available (same 2 days every week) I let them all know this and it's on the calendar as well.

I know it's on them, not me. Just frustrating when it's taken out on me.
This is where the really good communication and the ability to be blunt comes in handy

If I had a DCM that did not want to lock in her space I would make sure I went over the "can't guarantee I will always have room/might not have space" speech with her clearly and carefully. I might even have it written in the contract with her (and have her initial/sign the statement separately).

Then the second she started appearing upset, I would say to her "Sally, remember we discussed this in length and you said you understood and agreed that it was YOUR choice. Getting upset with me is not fair or acceptable" and then I would just leave it.

I am NOT in the business of pleasing adults in situations THEY created.

I think all to often we (providers in general) feel as though we can't end a conversation or situation without fixing it. But in reality it IS ok to let it fall on the shoulders of the person who created the issue in the first place.

It's not something we can fix without going over ratios or just doing this for free...kwim? Since that isn't going to happen, I refuse to feel obligated or guilty when part time parents find themselves without care on a day we are full because THEY chose to not guarantee the space themselves.
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Blackcat31 08:24 AM 06-08-2014
Could you imagine this same scenario with a hotel?

They drive 500 miles and find the hotel is full and they get mad???

Same concept.

So I don't understand why parents feel providers should not be doing this without the same guidelines in place when we are a business too.

Child Care is no different than any other for profit entity..... it's just that somehow because we deal with children, we are suppose to just be door mats??

NOT.
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SignMeUp 08:33 AM 06-08-2014
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:

So I don't understand why parents feel providers should not be doing this without the same guidelines in place when we are a business too.

Child Care is no different than any other for profit entity..... it's just that somehow because we deal with children, we are suppose to just be door mats??

NOT.
I do get this occasionally. Some parents seem to think that our love for children should take precedence over feeding and sheltering ourselves and our families.

I guess I do know how to do the "blank stare"
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Blackcat31 08:47 AM 06-08-2014
Originally Posted by SignMeUp:

I guess I do know how to do the "blank stare"
They should have classes on that. Maybe even a final exam before licensing

Sure would save a lot of providers from the headache...
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KiddieCahoots 08:49 AM 06-08-2014
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
This is where the really good communication and the ability to be blunt comes in handy

If I had a DCM that did not want to lock in her space I would make sure I went over the "can't guarantee I will always have room/might not have space" speech with her clearly and carefully. I might even have it written in the contract with her (and have her initial/sign the statement separately).

Then the second she started appearing upset, I would say to her "Sally, remember we discussed this in length and you said you understood and agreed that it was YOUR choice. Getting upset with me is not fair or acceptable" and then I would just leave it.

I am NOT in the business of pleasing adults in situations THEY created.

I think all to often we (providers in general) feel as though we can't end a conversation or situation without fixing it. But in reality it IS ok to let it fall on the shoulders of the person who created the issue in the first place.

It's not something we can fix without going over ratios or just doing this for free...kwim? Since that isn't going to happen, I refuse to feel obligated or guilty when part time parents find themselves without care on a day we are full because THEY chose to not guarantee the space themselves.
......
Sometimes I think the lives of some parents are just so hectic, they allow it to trickle down into other areas of their lives, like child care. We are the care givers of the children, not the parents. Parents need to figure it out.
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Tags:flexible hours, parents, schedule
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