The work day for many family child care providers does not end when the last child leaves their home.
Cleaning, record keeping, activity preparation, Food Program paperwork, and meal planning are some of these after hours activities.
In addition, you may be in communication with parents during the evenings or on weekends via text, phone or email.
In certain circumstances it is reasonable for parents to want to communicate with their provider during non work hours: their child is sick and won’t attend the next day, the parent has a question about a child’s injury, the parent can’t make a payment on time, a new person will be picking up their child, and so on.
However, for some providers these parent contacts can be excessive and unreasonably interfere with your personal time off.
Here’s some solutions for this problem shared by providers on Daycare.com:
- Create a separate email address for parents only and tell parents you will respond within 2 days
- Only check email/texts/phone messages during business hours
- Inform parents the times you will be available for calls/texts/emails
- Buy an inexpensive cell phone and use it only for your business. Turn it off when you close.
- Add a voice message to your phone that says you’ll get back to the caller later. Talk to the parent the next day.
- Block specific parents from your phone each evening
- Tell parents you are only available after work for specific reasons (list them) or by setting up an appointment to talk.
- Turn off your phone 30 minutes after closing and turn it on 30 minutes before opening each day
- Charge a $20 fee per after hour text/email
You don’t have to be on-call 24 hours a day! It is reasonable to establish guidelines for when you are available after hours. If parents start abusing your rules, it’s up to you to put your foot down and not respond to attempts at after hours communication.
How do you handle this problem?
Tom Copeland – www.tomcopelandblog.com
For more information about how to handle parent conflicts, see my book “Family Child Care Contracts & Policies.”
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/basykes/
Categories: Contracts & Policies