How Do You Say “No” to a Prospective Client?

The moment of truth has come. You are ready to tell a parent who wants to enroll in your family child care business you don’t want her child in your program.

What do you tell her?

I think the best answer is, “I don’t think this is the best place for your child at this time.”

Or, “I don’t think my program is a good fit for your child.”

Or, “I don’t think my program can meet the needs of your child.”

If the prospective client asks for specific reasons, don’t elaborate. If you feel that you must say more, you can add, “It’s not personal. I try to make decisions based on what’s best for each child, and I have a feeling that your child would be better off in another child care program.” The parent can’t argue with your intuition.

This is the beginning of an article I’ve posted on In the rest of the article I explain what not to say. 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 (now KidKare) to offer free assistance that will help the family child care community grow.

Tom Copeland –

How have you handled saying “no” to a parent?

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Contracts & Policies bookFor more information, see my book Family Child Care Contracts & Policies.

Categories: Contracts & Policies

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