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Old 02-23-2017, 12:43 PM
Gibson1110 Gibson1110 is offline
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Default Illness Policy

This thread has been written a million times but I need personal reassurance. I revamped my contract last summer, included a rate increase to reflect what others in my area are charging. I've had really patient families that have put up with me moving twice, surgery, and now my broken foot (more times closed than what I would have done in the past). I re wrote my illness policy to reflect symptoms but still had parents sending kids sick, so I started enforcing the rule by sending children home when they had symptoms. The symptoms would be sending with runny, excessive noses, coughing, or rashes that their doctor would explain as an allergic reaction of some kind. Because my families were used to the old way I would deal with things, I've had two families pull care within the last two months directly related to my sickness policy. I am having a difficult time with enforcing what I feel I need to stay sane because my own stress levels are high right now and then families pulling care-I just feel like quitting. Below is what I have. Blackcat, I would love a copy of your policy if possible.

Sickness Policy
I expect you to keep your child home when they are presenting the following symptoms;
Fever of 100 degrees or more
Severe diarrhea (cannot be contained by diaper or toilet)
Unexplained rash (child must have doctorís excuse saying it is not a communicable disease)
Vomiting
Pinkeye or eye drainage
Chicken pox- until all blisters have dried and formed scabs
Sore throat or loss of voice (child must have a doctorís excuse that it is not a communicable disease)
Excessive cough
Lathargy or inability to participate in the group activities for the day

If a child becomes ill while in my care, you will need to pick up within the hour. If you do not pick up within an hour a $20 fee will be applied to your account and will be due before services can resume. If you are unable to pick up, it is your responsibility to provide an emergency contact who can. Ambulance services will provide transportation should a medical emergency arise. Parents will be notified immediately in the event of a medical emergency.

If I, or my family become sick and I am unable to provide care for that day I will notify you as soon as possible via text or phone call. You will be credited with your payment the following week for any unplanned closures unless a sick day is utilized.
As a reminder it is your responsibility to have back up care for your child in the event your child may not attend care or I need to close.

Lastly, if anyone has any advice for for feeling burnt out, I'd love to hear. I really do enjoy working directly with the children but all this nonsense with adults being difficult has become too stressful in combination with everything else I am going through that I feel I Need to stop this and do something else. Thanks for any input.
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Old 02-23-2017, 01:03 PM
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Leigh Leigh is offline
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Your policy is very similar to most, IMO. I explain to parents that our state sends out guidelines for exclusion (and they do) and that I need to abide by them to protect the health of all. I have rarely had parents try to get around the policy. I stress at interviews VERY much that if they can't live with my sick policy, then they need to find another child care. I send out a flier in November with the state's exclusionary guidelines, as well, to remind parents of the policy. I think that they think it is a legal requirement, and that's why they abide by it, and I'm find with them thinking that!
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Old 02-23-2017, 01:57 PM
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Looks pretty standard. I would add something about excluding for 24/48 hours after end of symptoms. Aside form that looks ok.
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Old 02-23-2017, 03:08 PM
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I have an opening that states.

children will be NOT be able to attend care or must be excluded immediately if the ONE OR MORE OF THE following SYMPTOMS OCCUR.

PLEASE NOTE: Your child will be excluded for the symptoms, observed, NOT why they are occurring.

Fever of 100.0 or higher, using any kind of tool used to take temps
2 or more episodes of diarrhea no other symptoms observed
1 or more episode and any other symptom of being unwell

unexplained rash of any kind
vomiting within the last 24 hours
Overly tired
Unable to participate
Nasal, ear or eye discharge of any color other than clear

I think you need to define some of what you have. What you may consider sever diarrhea, others may not. Basically, I would be a little more explicit.


BC does have a great illness policy.
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Old 02-23-2017, 04:32 PM
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There is nothing wrong with your policy (my policy is much more strict!) and if parents are pulling because of this illness policy then they are morons who want sick child care, not daycare. You are also not charging them for sick days?

My best advice for dealing with burn out is detachment. Stop feeling responsible for how others feel about you. I am feeling much better since reading the book "Let go now" by Karen Casey. I have completely stopped caring about how others deal with their own problems and what they think of me.
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Old 02-24-2017, 02:39 AM
Gibson1110 Gibson1110 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ariana View Post
There is nothing wrong with your policy (my policy is much more strict!) and if parents are pulling because of this illness policy then they are morons who want sick child care, not daycare. You are also not charging them for sick days?

My best advice for dealing with burn out is detachment. Stop feeling responsible for how others feel about you. I am feeling much better since reading the book "Let go now" by Karen Casey. I have completely stopped caring about how others deal with their own problems and what they think of me.

I still charge unless I close. I think the difficulty with this is I that all my older clients were brought on back in the day when I would let anything fly and now that I am starting to enforce what I need, it isn't lining up with the type of care they truly wanted. I need to remind myself that's ok because that's their right just as it is my right to specify the type of environment I need as a business owner.
I will have to check out that book because it sounds like something I need to read. Thanks for the recommendation and advice!
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Old 02-24-2017, 05:40 AM
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childcaremom childcaremom is offline
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My illness policy is much stricter and I have a 24/48 hour exclusion policy. I have had a lot of parents think it's too strict and I am happy to tell them good luck on their search. I have also had clients sign because they like that I am so strict. So they are the clients I am looking for.

It sounds like you are just weeding out clients who aren't good fits now, rather than before they signed. It is hard for some dcps to adjust to new rules and not be able to continue on as things were before. But don't apologize for doing what you need to do in order to maintain your sanity! I changed my policies a lot my first year of business.

It is hard not to be discouraged sometimes but I would look at it as that there are better clients out there and now you have room for them.
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Old 02-26-2017, 09:30 PM
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Here is my illness policy: I have never really had to much trouble with parents complaining. I would have trouble with the $20.00 fee. If I can't reach the parents I start calling the emergency contacts. I made my policy to be just like all the other daycares. Im sorry you are having problems with parents. Illness is no joke I would think parents would be glad you are strict.

Illnesses policy:
If your child has / gets a contagious illness (which may include but is not limited to) pink eye, measles, chicken pox, fever of 100 or higher, diarrhea, vomiting, flu, conjunctivitis, impetigo, severe cold with yellow or green drainage from eyes or nose, a continuously runny nose even if itís clear, head lice, scabies, Tb, meningitis, rubella, rosella, ring worm, tape worm, or any other contagious illness) it is the parentís responsibility to inform me immediately . The child must be picked up immediately by parent or emergency contact if parent canít be reached. The child must be symptom free for 24 hours without the aid of fever reducers before being able to return to care. (Example: If they were absent/sent home with a fever one day they are automatically excluded from attendance the next day.) Regular child care fees apply during this time. Parents may not give the child pain relievers/fever reducers to mask symptoms in an attempt to return the child before contagious period has passed. (Example: if the child wakes up with a fever in the morning (100 degrees or higher they need to be kept home) this is to reduce the threat of exposure to others. Child must be given the full course of prescribed antibiotics to reduce danger of symptoms returning.
If my child gets a contagious illness that warrants a closure, parents are responsible to finding back up care during that time. Parents will be notified if closure is longer than 24 hours. I reserve the right to send child/children home if they are unable to participate in the regular child care routine.

- All medications to be given during child care hours must have a doctorís note.
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Old 02-27-2017, 11:20 AM
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I have had luck by being VERY firm in interviews that my illness policy is not negotiable and not up for discussion. If I say that a child is too sick to be here, then they're too sick for MY house, though they may be well enough to play at home. I stress several times that the policy is to protect everyone here, and that I won't allow the convenience of one child's parent to create an inconvenience for the others or to potentially put the other children in danger (RSV, Influenza, Croup are things that could kill every one of my under 2 crowd, all who have lung issues).
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Old 02-27-2017, 01:53 PM
Gibson1110 Gibson1110 is offline
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So I've lost 3 families now due to enforcing my sickness policy. It's hard for me to not feel like I did something wrong, even though I understand it's their right to need care that allows illness. I think a big part of it is that they have been here for a while and now that I want to enforce things they don't like it. I'm stressing out big time.

I want to walk away from this business badly, because more days than not I feel completely drained. I take accountability that I have made some mistakes (many many mistakes) as a business owner. As sad as it is, I don't think that most people where I live value rest and caring for oneself when sick. I'm in a spiral of feeling like I don't have what it takes to do this anymore, but also the overwhelming feeling of what should I do with my life if I quit.

help.
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Old 02-28-2017, 06:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibson1110 View Post
So I've lost 3 families now due to enforcing my sickness policy. It's hard for me to not feel like I did something wrong, even though I understand it's their right to need care that allows illness. I think a big part of it is that they have been here for a while and now that I want to enforce things they don't like it. I'm stressing out big time.

I want to walk away from this business badly, because more days than not I feel completely drained. I take accountability that I have made some mistakes (many many mistakes) as a business owner. As sad as it is, I don't think that most people where I live value rest and caring for oneself when sick. I'm in a spiral of feeling like I don't have what it takes to do this anymore, but also the overwhelming feeling of what should I do with my life if I quit.

help.
Can we help you feel better? Please share what the three things you sent home for were. I'm certain you'll hear, "Would've done the same thing!" from all of us.

I have a very strict illness policy (which NO ONE around me has...no one at all within a 20 miles radius) and what has helped me has been sending home a "minor illness note" via Brightwheel at the first sign of any symptom. It states what the minor illness symptom is, if it worsens what will happen ("If the slight runny nose turns yellow/green or becomes constant a call for pick up will be made."), how long they'll be excluded for ("Our standard 48 hour exclusion policy will apply if your child is sent home ill."), and ALLERGIES ("If your child suffers from allergies the symptoms must be taken care of at home prior to attendance. Exclusion is based on symptoms and not diagnosis."). This has caused less issues because parents know I'm watching their child and know that they've already been notified that their child MIGHT get sent home. If sent home, they're home for a full 48 hours. I also send out mass illness updates if a child is home ill. It doesn't include the child's name but will include the illness. I tend to do this if it's a severe illness or two or more children are out. Ex: "Illness Update: 2 children are out today with a severe cough and runny nose. One has been diagnosed with bronchitis and the other is awaiting diagnosis. Please monitor your child at home and I will monitor them here. Thank you!"
I have many families enrolled (most part timers) and only have ONE family get irritated at my policy. I'd prefer that they leave because their child has never once been ill in 2 years...their child always has allergies.

You'll LOVE having clients that follow your illness policy. If you stress to them at the interview how NICE it will be to have a child getting ill LESS at your child care since your illness policy is stricter they will come to love it.
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Old 02-28-2017, 12:49 PM
Gibson1110 Gibson1110 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EntropyControlSpecialist View Post
Can we help you feel better? Please share what the three things you sent home for were. I'm certain you'll hear, "Would've done the same thing!" from all of us.

I have a very strict illness policy (which NO ONE around me has...no one at all within a 20 miles radius) and what has helped me has been sending home a "minor illness note" via Brightwheel at the first sign of any symptom. It states what the minor illness symptom is, if it worsens what will happen ("If the slight runny nose turns yellow/green or becomes constant a call for pick up will be made."), how long they'll be excluded for ("Our standard 48 hour exclusion policy will apply if your child is sent home ill."), and ALLERGIES ("If your child suffers from allergies the symptoms must be taken care of at home prior to attendance. Exclusion is based on symptoms and not diagnosis."). This has caused less issues because parents know I'm watching their child and know that they've already been notified that their child MIGHT get sent home. If sent home, they're home for a full 48 hours. I also send out mass illness updates if a child is home ill. It doesn't include the child's name but will include the illness. I tend to do this if it's a severe illness or two or more children are out. Ex: "Illness Update: 2 children are out today with a severe cough and runny nose. One has been diagnosed with bronchitis and the other is awaiting diagnosis. Please monitor your child at home and I will monitor them here. Thank you!"
I have many families enrolled (most part timers) and only have ONE family get irritated at my policy. I'd prefer that they leave because their child has never once been ill in 2 years...their child always has allergies.

You'll LOVE having clients that follow your illness policy. If you stress to them at the interview how NICE it will be to have a child getting ill LESS at your child care since your illness policy is stricter they will come to love it.
Dear Families,

enclosed is a copy of my policy book. I highly encourage everyone to read through it and make sure that you understand that these are my expectations for care. Failure to read and understand the policies will not prevent them from being enforced from now on. I have made changes to my program since I opened almost five years ago because I strive to be better at what I do. My policies reflect what I need to provide group care. I do not serve just individual families, instead a group of families. Because of this some of the policies might seem strict. I am completely aware that my parameters might not work for everyone. It is my intention to be as clear to my clients about what I am able to do and what I am not able to do for you with my services. You as a parent have to make the choice for a caregiver that reflects what type of provider you are seeking for your family. I truly wish that all my clients feel confident and happy with their choice for a care provider for their child or children.

If anything needs further clarification within the policy book that you are not understanding, please talk to me about it now before it becomes an issue down the road.

-Meredith

That is the letter that I sent along with my sickness policy (shared above). The families that pulled care made statements like, "we don't have any more sick time at work" and "it's just a simple cold" or "they are really good at covering their cough and wiping their own nose at home."

I have talked to my remaining families to try and create a dialogue about all of this in an attempt to not lose any more families. I just can't take another loss. I am already contemplating withdrawing money out of retirement because I was just starting to get back on my feet after my divorce last year, and subsequent surgery this past fall and breaking my foot last month. Really not trying to sound like a whiner, but I guess I hadn't anticipated 3 families pulling like this.

I'm trying to accept that there are parents out there that don't value rest and taking care when sick. I get it. It's just hard for me to not take this personally. I don't know what to do going forward though, because one of my families said she absolutely loved everything I do and they want to follow my policies because they want their children here...but they don't understand the mild symptoms exclusion. I don't know whether to stand firm or back off a bit now until I Have a plan B before I piss off the remaining clients and only source of income I Have right now.
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Old 03-01-2017, 01:42 PM
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From your original post (I'm in red)...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibson1110 View Post
This thread has been written a million times but I need personal reassurance. I revamped my contract last summer, included a rate increase to reflect what others in my area are charging. I've had really patient families that have put up with me moving twice, surgery, and now my broken foot (more times closed than what I would have done in the past). I re wrote my illness policy to reflect symptoms but still had parents sending kids sick, so I started enforcing the rule by sending children home when they had symptoms. The symptoms would be sending with runny, excessive noses, coughing, or rashes that their doctor would explain as an allergic reaction of some kind.
*Require that the ALLERGIES be taken care of prior to admittance. I don't know of any children with allergies that still have symptoms upon finding the right medication. It might take testing out 2 or so but there's always on that works. Unless...of course...it IS NOT allergies.
Because my families were used to the old way I would deal with things, I've had two families pull care within the last two months directly related to my sickness policy. I am having a difficult time with enforcing what I feel I need to stay sane because my own stress levels are high right now and then families pulling care-I just feel like quitting. Below is what I have. Blackcat, I would love a copy of your policy if possible.

Sickness Policy
I expect you to keep your child home when they are presenting the following symptoms;
Fever of 100 degrees or more *Normal and mandated by the state where I live.
Severe diarrhea (cannot be contained by diaper or toilet) *Also normal, in order to maintain a sanitary environment.
Unexplained rash (child must have doctorís excuse saying it is not a communicable disease) *Also normal
Vomiting *Also normal, and typically mandated by the state
Pinkeye or eye drainage *Also normal
Chicken pox- until all blisters have dried and formed scabs - I don't have this one but I do have much stricter requirements on others. I actually never thought about this one!
Sore throat or loss of voice (child must have a doctorís excuse that it is not a communicable disease) *Makes sense!
Excessive cough *Also normal. I send home if they're coughing more than once every 15 minutes and call it a persistent cough.
Lathargy or inability to participate in the group activities for the day *Makes sense! I typically try and have a child go lay down for a bit. If they're still laying down after 15 minutes then I call.

If a child becomes ill while in my care, you will need to pick up within the hour. If you do not pick up within an hour a $20 fee will be applied to your account and will be due before services can resume.
*Normal. I have my standard $1/minute late fee after 1 hour.
If you are unable to pick up, it is your responsibility to provide an emergency contact who can. Ambulance services will provide transportation should a medical emergency arise. Parents will be notified immediately in the event of a medical emergency.

If I, or my family become sick and I am unable to provide care for that day I will notify you as soon as possible via text or phone call. You will be credited with your payment the following week for any unplanned closures unless a sick day is utilized.
As a reminder it is your responsibility to have back up care for your child in the event your child may not attend care or I need to close.

Lastly, if anyone has any advice for for feeling burnt out, I'd love to hear. I really do enjoy working directly with the children but all this nonsense with adults being difficult has become too stressful in combination with everything else I am going through that I feel I Need to stop this and do something else. Thanks for any input.
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Old 03-01-2017, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Gibson1110 View Post
The families that pulled care made statements like, "we don't have any more sick time at work" and "it's just a simple cold" or "they are really good at covering their cough and wiping their own nose at home."
"we don't have any more sick time at work"

The amount of PTO or sick time a parent has to care for their child is not DAYCARE'S concern. If a child is exclude from care, the PARENT needs to have reliable backup arrangements so that their jobs are not put at risk. You, as the provider play no role in this situation.

"it's just a simple cold"

What may be just a "simple cold" is magnified 10 fold when in a group of loud rambunctious toddlers/preschoolers.

I always akin the situation to not feeling well and going to lie down in the furniture department of Wal-mart and trying to feel better.

"they are really good at covering their cough and wiping their own nose at home."

What they are or aren't able to do at home has NO bearing at daycare when in a mixed group. 9 out of 10 kids will forget to cover their mouth or wipe their nose when playing with friends so that line of thinking is irrelevant.

***********************************************

I think those are your key issues.
I have great success with my clients understanding (and following) my illness policy when I make sure to discuss common "excuses" PRIOR to enrollment.

I think when parents understand that I won't/don't accept certain "lines/statements" in response to illness, it helps them see where I am coming from and helps them understand that the excuse won't work here.

So I think you should focus on those things.... I also have a letter I send to parents at the beginning of cold/flu season that outlines what I expect from them and what my limitations are. I too, believe in being transparent from the beginning but sometimes you simply have to continually remind or keep the topic in the forefront of all conversations. I will PM you the letter.

I do feel that pro-active behaviors (discussing in-depth before illness) is a much better approach than reactive behaviors (having to address something after the fact) so I always try to make sure I am one step ahead of my clients.

I'm a mom too....been there done that. I've also been in business a long time so I have yet to hear an excuse that hasn't already been tried before.
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