Signs A Parent Is Leaving Your Day Care?

Do any of you recognize signs that a parent is unhappy and about to leave your day care program? I have a home daycare with 4 children enrolled, and 4 of my own under age 10. These four children come from 2 families, one family is easy going and reasonable, and wonderful to work with. The other family are much more difficult. At the beginning, the mom was giving me so much advice that at times I think she thought she was the one opening and running the business. She questioned me on several points in my contract and hinted strongly that she wanted me to change some of them. I did not change any of them, and gave her the reasons why not, and she backed down and agreed that they made sense each time, but clearly she did not like it. For example, I collect payment at the beginning of each week before care is provided in lieu of a deposit. She argued that she did not get paid before she worked and why should I. I told her she could very well pay me on Fridays, as long as she gave me a week's deposit. She didn't want to do that of course so she agreed to the original plan.

At one point she was telling me where I should hang the cubbies for the kids, and when I put them somewhere else she actually seemed the tiniest bit surprise/miffed by it. She gave me tons of 'advice' in the beginning even thought I have been working with children for 25 years, and she has been at it for 5. I was polite and let her talk, and did what I thought was best for my business. At first it was good, she seemed complimentary and happy, but lately she has been saying rather odd things. She called today during naps and said she wanted to drop something off for her daughter. I told her she could absolutely drop by any time she wished, but after what seemed to be a long enough and repetitive conversation as I had a visitor, I tried politely to shorten the conversation, and she asked me if I was okay that 'I sounded nervous'. My friend and I both thought this was nuts of her to ask. Just so you know, I NEVER have visitors when I am at work and told all the parents in the AM that she was coming for a short visit after the children were asleep and they were fine with it. She asks her daughter a ton of questions about her day, and questions me a lot about her 'concerns' for her daughter. She was worried that her 3 year old did not know how to answer questions that were frankly too difficult for her at her age. It is one thing to answer 'the cow says what?" than tell me which out of these 50 animals says moo. She was worried that she was learning enough because she wouldn't answer the question. By the way, she answered it just fine for me the next morning. She is concerned that she is not holding her crayon correctly, but she does very well given that she is very tiny hands. She does not do the 'shovel grip', but tries very hard to hold it correctly and does the best she can. She is a very bright girl. Yesterday, she was 'concerned' that the other family will not be here for the summer and her two will be the only daycare kids and she doesn't feel comfortable about invading my 'family time'. I told her I had no intention of closing my business for the summer, that I could not afford to do that, and that she still had to work for the summer, and that I was really looking forward to it. I have her two and one other enrolled for the summer, plus my 4. Eight all day all summer is enough kids.

I fill out a daily detailed report of everything we do each day, which she reads like the bible, and then questions her daughter to make sure we did all that I actually wrote down. Her child is 3 and doesn't always remember at 5 what she did at 9 AM. She also seems to be threatened by her daughter's affection for me because she really loves coming to my house and she is calm, happy, engaged, and content. Mom is used to the crying, clingy child that used to go to a daycare center and I have watched her stir up her daughter until she was crying before she left so she felt 'needed' maybe???? It was horrible to watch. She fortunately does not do that anymore, but today's comments about being nervous left me feeling insulted.

Does it seem she is nitpicking to reasons to leave???? Sorry I have written a book here, but please tell me what you think. Thanks!
daycarediva daycarediva
46-50, F
2 Responses May 4, 2012

Wow. I have to say you have put up with more than I ever would of. I like to pay attention really closly at the beginning, try to see what type of client they will be. I would of taken all the signs in the beginning and not have taken her on. Someone like that just makes your job sucky and there are a ton of parents that are cool and dont act like that. Instead of worrying about her leaving, ask yourself what type of clients you want. It almost seems like she is trying to find something wrong, THE MOTHER has the ussies not you. I would have a talk (if u feel you can) if not you should figure out a way....maybe say to her... I am wondering if you are happy here? I get the feeling you are not sometimes....i had a similar experience and I was sick of the drama and i knew i had a great daycare so I found a generic termination letter that basically stated the reason: provider/parent differences....i gave her a month to find somewhere else....SERIOUSLY the scariest thing i ever did because she was quite intimidating, but daycare life has been amazing ever since.

It sounds like a case of control freak to me. Unless you have a clause in your contract where you require a fee for leaving without notice, I think a mother like the one you are describing would have no problems with pulling her kids without proper notice. The one thing that would make me the most nervous would be if she has motives more malitouse. I had a parent who would do very similar things making blunt suggestions that seemed very insulting. (ie insisting I no longer allowing my dog on the carpet in the living room after daycare hours since her daughter crawled on that floor on occasion or asking me how many friends I have over to my home after hours or on weekends because she doesn't want alot of people knowing where I live...) eventually I decided it was probable in the daycares best interest to get rid of her and find a family that better fit my daycares environment. But before I could give her a letter of intent to end care, she called me one a Monday morning and insisted her daughter had broke her arm at my day care on Friday and she had not noticed it until that morning (3 days later!!!) and asked for my insurance info, she tried to make a claim for an $8000 pay out for pain and suffering it was denied but not until a lot of time and money were wasted on this ridiculous claim, since then I have been very watchful of parents that overact and are high strong to protect myself and other daycare children. Good luck!