Childcare providers wear various hats while fulfilling their day-to-day daycare tasks. They teach the preschool curriculum in the morning and possibly cook and serve lunch for the kids at noon. Not to mention fulfill transportation needs and handle all of the administrative tasks.
However, one task that doesn't easily pop into mind when you describe the work of a child care provider is relationship building. Child care providers often develop special connections and build relationships with children and families, especially when they're loving and nurturing individuals. Unfortunately, these types of relationships and attachments to families often cause problematic scenarios and feelings of hesitation when the time comes to demand payment for tuition.
Therefore, to diminish the tension that arises when requesting child care payments from the families you love and care about, we've compiled several ways you can confidently approach your students' parents so they can meet their payment obligations.
Be clear about tuition policies from the get-go
Ensure that your parents thoroughly understand your payment policies as soon as they walk in the door to inquire about enrollment. Parents need to learn that there will be rules they need to abide by to avoid unpleasant consequences. Discussing your payment policies lays out your expectations so that nothing ever comes as a surprise to any parent. You can point out these factors verbally during the enrollment process and then encourage them to read the child care contract to ensure they digest this information in written form. Remember that your contract is your weapon against any parent that may want to overlook or disregard their payment responsibilities.
Ensure your contract details clear payment expectations and late payment policies
You can never emphasize payment expectations and late payment policies enough. Therefore, it isn't a bad idea to bold these details in your contract so that parents can understand the importance of this information and take it into consideration. Ensure your contract clearly discusses when payment should be met (weekly, biweekly, monthly) and your desired payment methods (check, cash, credit card, Zelle, etc). Having this information laid out from the start helps parents understand what they have to do when tuition is due, and how they can fulfill their child care payments, so you won't have to hesitate about approaching them if they missed their payment date.
Send group-text payment reminders in advance
You probably have parents who have made it a habit to make late payments or not make their payments at all. So it's highly likely that you can pinpoint those you have to hunt down. To somewhat decrease the hassle of reminding the same parents about their payment responsibilities, try sending group text payment reminders in advance to prepare them and make them aware of their upcoming dues. A great messaging system like Child Journal, for example, offers the ability to send group text messages so that you won't have to repeat the same matter to each parent, and they can get a heads up and make arrangements about payment.
Be present at your center
Not seeing an authoritative figure during morning drop-offs or evening pick-ups can give parents the idea that they can come and go as they please and ignore their child care responsibilities. No matter whether you're fulfilling tasks that require stepping out of your daycare facility, it's crucial to get into the habit of returning to the office before parents come in so you can be available to discuss any tuition concerns. They say that we teach people how to treat us. Therefore, if you want your parents to respect and adhere to your policies and expectations, then it is your responsibility to set an example with your presence.
Use a child care billing system
A child care billing system is the way to go if you want to keep your parents on their toes about their child care payments. When addressing our dues, we all seek options that will facilitate our payment needs and reduce person-to-person interactions. These payment options are often digital softwares that can make it easy to stay on top of your payments and get them addressed on time. With Child Journal, you can send payment reminders behind the keypad with no inconveniences nor physical interactions–which is a big win if you have a few parents who you can't seem to get a hold of. Moreover, parents enjoy paying for tuition through an app because it encourages them to make prompt payments and stay organized.