How Long Should Parents Be Allowed to Visit with Their Children?


A parent wants to come to your home and visit with her child during the day. She wants to observe her child and eat lunch. You are concerned that the visits will become a regular thing and last for hours.

Is there any time limit you can put on how long a parent can visit your family child care program?

Open Door Policy

Most state child care regulations require you to have an “open door” policy with parents. This usually means you can’t refuse to let a parent into your home during business hours. But, beyond that, regulations are usually silent. Check with your licensor to see if there are any specific rules you must follow.

Other than following regulations about an “open door” policy, you can do whatever you want.

It’s reasonable to set limits on how much time a parent can visit your program. You can set different limits for different parents, if necessary. Maybe a new parent needs to spend some extra time with her baby. Or, maybe a child has a special need and the parent wants to help out.

It is not a good idea to allow a parent to visit every day or every other day for an extended period of time, unless she/he is providing you with some help in caring for children. If you are allowing parents to spend a lot of time in your program, you will want to check with your state’s workers compensation office to see if you must get this insurance for the parent. Also, check with your business liability insurance agent to see that you are covered if the parent is injured or injures someone else.

Your Policy

You can create your own policy about parent visitation: “I have an ‘open door’ policy which means parents may drop in my program any time to check on the well being of their child. Parents who wish to spend additional time with their child during the day must give me at least two days notice of when you will be visiting. I reserve the right to limit how much time parents can spend on their visits.”

You can be more specific about how much time parents can visit, or you can leave it vague as written above. It’s up to you. Do what you think is best for you and your program.

What’s your policy?

Tom Copeland –

Categories: Contracts & Policies

2 replies

  1. My policy with parents is pretty open. I do an initial interview during non business hours, then a second during business hours. These range from 15 minutes to 2 hours. After that, parents know they are welcome to stop in at anytime, but they need to keep track of our schedules, as sometimes we are out of the program, in the community. I encourage parents to volunteer and visit as much as they can/want to. I have had regular parent and grandparent volunteers. But everyone runs things differently, and should do what they are comfortable with. I find it to be good practice for family engagement…and parents tend to learn a lot from volunteering in my program. 🙂

  2. My policy as detailed in my handbook is: “You are welcome to visit us at any time during the day. Some children tend to act out when their parent or other adults are around. For this reason, transition times are not the best times to visit. Parents (and other family members) are welcome to join us for lunch any time; please let me know ahead of time if you plan to eat lunch with us. If your child is having difficulty with separation in the mornings, it would be best if you did not visit with us during the day until your child feels more secure with saying good-bye to you in the mornings. Saying good-bye twice in one day would be very difficult for this child. The children are expected to follow the Jane’s House rules even when parents are present. You and I may need to remind your child of this when you are present.”

    I encourage parents to volunteer and usually have parents helping on field trips. I also allow parents to stay for 5 minutes or so at drop off and pick up to visit. Usually the parents are more likely to stay for a short while at pick up. I encourage a family type atmosphere and encourage the families to get to know each other so I think visiting for a few minutes with me and other families at pick up is beneficial for all. I think it helps the parents to see their children interacting with the other children. North Carolina is encouraging family engagement and will soon be adding a requirement for family engagement in our star ratings. In 32 years, I have not had any major problems with parents visiting but most of my parents have work schedules that don’t allow them to spend a lot of time with us.

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