Home Daycare: How To Terminate Care

How do you discontinue care for a child that you’ve cared for day after day?  How do you know when it’s time to finally discontinue care?

If you’ve been in the business of home daycare for any length of time, you’ve cared for several different kinds of little personalities.  Some are wonderful and engaging and make your day brighter, whereas others make you dread waking up each morning.  Maybe it’s because that child bullies the others, or has a hard time following direction, or maybe it’s even because of the child’s parents constant late pick-ups or “forgetting” to bring payment.

Whatever it is, the question has crossed your mind: Should I let him go?  How do I tell her parents that they need to find a new daycare?

This business is the business of caring for children, and our emotions often get very wrapped up in decisions like this.  The very thing that makes you a wonderful daycare provider, the fact that you care so much, is what makes terminating care so difficult.  However, this is one of those situations where you need to put your business first, ahead of the child’s or parents’ feelings.

You need to focus on preserving your sanity, making sure you’re getting paid for your work, and keeping the other daycare children and their parents happy.  If caring for a specific child interferes with any of those things, it’s time to terminate care.

Keep these things in mind when discontinuing care for a daycare child:

1. Always keep the lines of communication open.  If a child has been having a difficult time keeping her hands to herself, let her parents know every day how she’s been doing and if she’s had time-outs.  Or if a parent isn’t paying on time, you need to be charging them late payment fees every time, and reminding them to pay on time.  If your daycare parents know that there is an ongoing issue, they won’t be surprised if you need to make that final decision to terminate care.

2. If it gets to the point where the needed changes are not happening, it’s time to terminate care.  Consider the timing carefully.  While you may give the family a two-week notice, they may choose to pull their child immediately.  Make sure that you can afford to not receive payment for those last couple of weeks.  You may also want to have another child lined up to take that spot, to minimize the income lost.

3. Give them a Termination Notice {printable one here!} at the end of the day.  Explain what it is when you hand it to the parents, so that they are not surprised at all when they read it.  Be prepared to spend some time answering any questions that they might have.  Offer to pack up any belongings that their child might keep at your house (blanket, diapers, etc), and have it ready for pick-up within a few days.

4. Be prepared for a negative reaction, but hold your ground.  Chances are the parents will be upset and offended.  Our children are extensions of ourselves, and they may have a difficult time accepting your decision.  Remember that you are terminating care in the best interests of your business.  Empathize, but don’t back down.  Offer the numbers of a few other local daycares that may have openings.

5. Take a deep breath, and pat yourself on the back.  Discontinuing care is emotionally draining, and is so difficult to do.  If you had good reasons for letting this child go, your next daycare day will go so much more smoothly, and you will have much less stress.

What would you consider to be valid reasons for letting a child go from a home daycare?

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