Why Your Child Care has Snow Days
I often hear complaints from parents about their child care closing on snow days. If it is a center the parent tends to take it pretty well because they understand the center has to be able to get enough staff through the door to keep ratios. When it is an in-home child care however, the attitude is very different. I hear comments like "I don't know why she needs to close, she's at home and doesn't have to drive anywhere. I'm the one who has to do the driving" and "If I'm willing to go to work she should be open to watch my child." The most insulting are the parents who remark that their provider is just using the school closing as an excuse to "Take a paid day off."
Building Trust with your Child Care Provider
When your new caregiver begins watching your children, you probably won’t know much about them. You won’t know their favorite color, their hopes and dreams or their bad habits. More importantly, you won’t know their parenting style. It is crucial that you choose a provider that is like you in parenting style. If you are a sixty’s style crunchy parent who uses cloth diapers and wants organic food for your child and your provider is a militant structure buff/ germ freak, the two of you will get along about as well as two male beta fish (you know, the pretty ones that live in little cups and look friendly but kill each other when put together?) in one tank. In other words, bad choice!
When Someone else Pays the Daycare Bill
I loved watching the Jensen kids. Four very bright children they made my day full and exciting. Although they were on daycare assistance, I was OK with $125 per week per child because they were well behaved and left before 5 PM, which left me with fewer kids to handle while making dinner. It usually takes at least 2 months before getting paid for the first time for a state client, because you can only bill at the end of the month and it can take up to 45 days for the state to issue a check. I was so looking forward to spending the $3800 the State of Iowa owed me. Instead of a check however, I got a notice that their daycare bill would not be paid. As luck would have it, mom had not turned in her pay stubs showing a substantial raise. The result was that her assistance was cancelled back to the day she applied. So all of the money that I counted on to pay my staff and my property taxes which were due was gone. I was going to have to borrow against the hubby’s 401K to even make it work. This was one of those days when I wanted to meet every parent at the door and tell them I was giving my 2-week’s notice. It seemed no matter how hard I worked I ended up struggling more than I would just staying home and living off my husband’s paycheck. The biggest disappointment was when mom announced since there was no way she could pay all the past due bill, she was simply going to move home to mom and send payments. Two years later and I haven’t seen .10c, let alone $3800.00. I could sue her, but she doesn’t have anything so I would simply be throwing good money after bad. Chalk it up to stupidity.
Your expectations of Child Care
One warning I always give any parent who is looking for childcare is that it is crucial not to have unrealistic expectations. Even though you want the very best care for your child, you have to understand that the very best care would be you staying home. Next best would be your child spending the day with grandma or Aunt Suzie who never was able to have kids of her own. If you are going to place your child in any form of childcare, including a nanny in your home, that person is a substitute and will never do things the same way you would.
The "F Word" in Child Care
There are a few words in daycare that providers consider unofficial cuss words. These words are used by parents to get away with the very worst of behaviors. Like using the words “Allergies” or “Teething” as an excuse to drop a child at daycare that they know is not well and should be at home. Another buzz word for us is “Occasional” because usually it is used by a parent who wants us to watch their child for extra hours without getting paid for them.
Choosing a Childcare
If you are planning on having a baby, you should research the cost of child care where you live even before conceiving if possible. Planning for a child care bill is similar to planning for college tuition. You have a 4-5 year period where you have a payment that can be equal to or even higher than your mortgage. If you plan ahead and set aside one year's worth of care before getting pregnant, you can set aside a few extra month's worth before giving birth and set up a dependent care flex account through your work if they offer one so that each time you pay your fees, your work will reimburse you from your flex account with a simple form signed by your care provider.