Cooperative Extension Fact Sheets
Home Day Care #3
It is always wise to put your policies in writing so there can be no questions about your intentions when a situation arises. It makes your position clear and is a handy reference for your clients. When composing parent handbooks, it helps to state your policies as simply and clearly as possible. Illustrations/clip art make it more interesting to look at and can be used to break up large blocks of text. Parents on the go want a quick easy reference with clear headings for each section. Some of the things you might want to include in your parent handbook are:
- Requirements for enrollment: List ages and necessary paperwork that will be needed. Include copies of medical forms, field trip permission slips, etc.. Specify your policy on toilet training and initial "get-acquainted" visits. State your policy on accepting children with special needs and include an anti-discrimination statement.
- Termination of care: Include the notice a client needs to give you when a child is removed from your care and the financial remuneration you expect, as well as your reasons and responsibilities should you choose to terminate care of a child.
- Payment procedure: When; How; Vacation time allowed; Holiday payment policy; Late fees; Amount of notice that will be given when policies change.
- Illness: Include lists of common childhood illnesses and the incubation and contagious periods involved. When may the child return? What illnesses will you accept in your care center? What will you do if you become ill?
- Medication: Include your policy for dispensing of medication; how it must be brought to care and what you will require in the way of documentation from parent and physician.
- Injuries and Other Emergencies: How will you treat simple injuries; major injuries; medical emergencies? How would you handle fire, severe weather, lost children? Who is your back-up if you become injured or suddenly ill/
- Sign In/Out Policy: Must drop off and pick up people sign in and out? Where will they find the book?
- Release Policy: Be absolutely specific about what your procedure is. It is wise not to accept phone authorization of people not originally on pick-up lists. Remind parents to update their pick-up lists frequently. Let them know that you may ask for photo identification from pick-up people.
- Days off: Will your home be closed for child care on major holidays? Will you be taking a vacation. When will you inform them of your vacation schedule?
- Curriculum: Inform parents if you will be including a preschool curriculum in the daily care. Give them an example of a typical day's activities, a list of monthly themes, field trip plans (any fees for field trips), transportation options, etc. If you are planning to do a daily report on infants or toddlers, include a sample. Mention nap times and play times.
- Toilet training: List what you are willing to do, the procedure you will follow and the supplies you will need from the parent.
- Parental involvement: Suggest ways that even working parents can become involved with your care center. It's helpful to state times during the year that will be set aside for progress conferences so parents will have adequate time to plan for them.
- Discipline: Share your discipline philosophy and policies, the behavior you expect, the step-by-step plan you will follow if inappropriate behavior cannot be changed with the standard methods. What will the parents' responsibilities be in trying to solve the problem?
- Religious practices: Be sure to inform parents if you plan to include any religious references in your curriculum. Will children be saying "Grace" at mealtime? If so, include the wording that will be used. Will you be celebrating any holidays that have religious connections?
- Meals and Snacks: Give examples of a week's menu. Specify if you want children to bring in their own snacks and/or meals, and list the food that you will accept. Ask for food allergy information.
- Outdoor play: Stress the need for appropriate seasonal clothing for outdoor play. Let parents know if you will be going out in any weather, or if you limit outdoor time to certain temperature ranges.
- Toys from home: May children bring toys from home? What is acceptable? What will you not accept?
Submitted by Patricia Cousineau
URI Cooperative Extension Research Associate
For more information please call 401.277.5255
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