Does It Matter What Parents Do While Their Children Are In Your Care?

6a0133f3fc5805970b01b8d0865416970c-320wiDo any of these situations bother you?

* One day a parent tells you she gets off work at noon that day, but doesn’t pick up her child until 6pm.

* A parent enrolls in your program and brings her child during your regular hours of 7am-6pm.

Later you find out that the parent often has time during the day to play golf, go to the gym and run errands.

* A parent tells you she probably won’t need care on Friday on a regular basis, but would like to be able to bring her child anytime she wants that day.

In all of these situations the parent could care for their child, but they prefer that you do.

Most providers recognize that parents may occasionally want some time alone or want to do an activity without their children. It’s when this becomes a regular habit that some providers protest.

One provider told me her philosophy was that she won’t provide child care if either parent is able to care for their child. She asks parents when they get off work and sets their pick-up time based on how long it takes them to get from work to her home.

I’ve talked with other providers who have told me they don’t care what the parents are doing while their child is in their care. As long as the parent is paying for their services, they feel that it’s none of their business what the parent does with their time.

There is no right answer to these situations.

This is the beginning of an article I’ve posted on In the rest of the article I describe a three step process for setting one up and following through by contributing to it regularly. is a community for family child care providers and parents that offers a wide variety of resources including recipes, a blog, and a newsletter.  It serves as a clearinghouse for many online resources (children’s activities, training opportunities, equipment, and more). was created by Minute Menu to offer free assistance that will help the family child care community grow.

Tom Copeland –

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Categories: Contracts & Policies

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9 replies

  1. Now this made me think of a question…so for tax purposes, if I am thinking correctly…parents can only claim child care for work/school hours (I was under the impression that they can’t claim “babysitters” for date nights, etc…) so if they are bringing their children on days off, or picking up after they do errands, etc…should we still be giving them tax receipts for the full amount?

  2. Good question. I’d still give them a receipt for the full amount they paid. Parents can only claim the child care tax credit for times they are working or attending school. But, I don’t think you should be bringing this up with a parent. It’s their issue.

  3. I will say it does bother me. I feel taken advantage of, BUT Im paid so I dont feel like I have room to complain about it.

  4. just to add…if the families child care is subsidized they can not claim any hours they are not working or going to school towards their subsidy.

  5. Providers are there to do their job and watch your children, not.judge. As a single mom who has had to ride the bus with my child and drop him off at least a hour or two earlier because thats how long it tajes at least to take another two from daycare to work, i have had many daycare providers make it a horrible hassle for me and accuse me of not being at work when i am. Btw i love spending time with my child so i dnt ever take him to daycare when i wasnt working. But simple point is that i could if i wanted to and its none of your effin business. Providers who feel the need to make things hard for you when all you want to do is work for you and your child to have a living make me sick

  6. Absolutely not! It doesn’t matter to me in the least what a parent does while I’m caring for their child(ren), as long as I have an emergency contact #. I’ve no right or desire to know what they are doing, or to pass judgement on whether or not it’s worthy. That would be like my groomer needing to know what I’m doing before shampooing my dog.

  7. I too, believe that the parent is paying for their child to be in my care. I am open from 7:00-5:45 pm. If they want to drop off their child at 7 am (not 6:59 🙂 ) and pick up at 5:45 that’s fine with me. (They will however, pay a $1.50 late pick up fee at 5:46 pm, $3.00 at 5:47…)
    Some parents have mom drop off because she goes to work earlier and dad pick up because he works later (so they have time to do what they want, kid-free). Other parents do just the opposite so they can spend as much time with their child as possible.
    If a parent has the day off and is going to go back to bed after dropping off their child, good for them. A parent’s good “day’s sleep” might be just what their child needs. 😉 Parents pay for the day at my child care whether or not their child attends.
    Other providers work very closely with parents’ schedules and provide extended hours when parents need them.
    Thankfully, as small business owners, we still have the right to design individual programs based on individual philosophies to meet the diverse needs of individual children and families!

  8. I put in my contract (since I allow pick ups until 10 or 12) for parents who need it, that after 6PM for non work instances, there will be additional fees. Now, I already charge a hefty rate for going after 8PM even if they are at work so it’s more of a deterrent. Also, so they can’t fib I put that if I’m doing that I have every right to request verification that they were working. If they can’t provide it, they get charged the fees. It is normally not my business, but if they are asking me to stay open late so they can work, I don’t mind helping someone out but don’t abuse my goodwill! If you want to go out, your rate doubles.

  9. I look at my childcare fees as if they were insurance. They are coverage for when a parent has to be away from their child to work. I do not offer coverage for personal time. If they are off work, I expect their child to be with them. My job as a childcare provider is to care about what is best for the child. Less time in daycare and more time with family is absolutely what is best. I tell parents from day one and it is laid out specifically in my handbook.

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