Just because I am open 24-hours for daycare does not mean I want your child 24 straight hours! I like Lil’ Johnny as much as I possibly can having known him all of the 10 minutes we’ve been talking during this interview, but I am not his mother. It is not my job to raise him. I’m here to make sure he’s safe, fed and given age-appropriate activities while he’s in my care.
I find that the difficulty in daycare is usually not with children but with parents that actually don’t know how daycare works or those that are trying to get as much as they can for as little as possible from me. Sometimes, I need to steer parents to find care more their style. One set of parents did not want 24-hour care but wanted care available the entire time I advertised on my business cards. (They were actually describing nanny care as what they expected from me.)
Let me explain for future questions. Let’s say I am open from 7am – 8pm. If regular childcare is being offered for $100/week (for example), that is generally for 45 – 50 hours of care to allow commute time to and from a 40-hour a week job. You let me know what time-frame you need for care such as 7am – 5pm. That does not mean you get to show up any time between those hours or use all of those hours because that makes a 65-hour work week for me for your child at the rate of regular care. The reason I need to know what hours you need care is so I know how to plan for meals, know what activities to plan and that I stay within the provider to child ratio permissible by law. When my licensing inspector pops in and wants to know why I have six children in care when I should have five, I will be pointing to the schedule you signed showing you are late so I am not penalized for operating illegally.
I understand you want to be able to pick up overtime or get your other children from the center so you don’t have to pay their fees, but I charge late fees, also. I’m at home, but I’m still operating a business. Having your child here extra hours on end keeps me from being able to do what I need to do such as buy groceries so your child can eat. If you want me to provide care so you can work overtime, then you need to be willing to pay extra for the 15 hours of overtime you want me to provide for you. It’s nothing personal.
I talk with providers internationally, and this seems to be a theme with some parents. We’re more than willing to assist you, especially during emergencies where you might be kept at work due to a snowstorm. However, you need to understand that we do not want to be used or burn out because we give so much of ourselves only to have next to nothing to show for it. It may look like we’re “rolling in it”, but many providers earn less than $2/hr trying to survive in a profession we love.