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  1. #1
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    Developing a friendship with parents

    Does anybody run their business trying to develop a friendship with parents or do you keep it strictly business?

    I have one set of parents who I could see being friends with although neither of us has really approached the subject of hanging out after hours. I also have another set of parents who live close by and talk about us popping in if we're out in the evening or just mention us meeting up at certain venues.

    The friendly, passive person in me doesn't see a problem with this but the business side of me doesn't think it would be right. One of these parents has been late at pick up by about 20 minutes twice now. I haven`t mentioned the late fee because we have such a good bond that I figured I would let it slide the first time. When it happened again I wanted to say something, but didn`t want to put a kink in the relationship. Now I wonder if letting it go a couple times is going to make them think it`s okay. I don`t want them to think that by having a friendly relationship that they can get away with these things, but I also don`t know how to bring it up now and don`t want to come across as rude. I know it`s MY business and I have to do what`s right for me but I really don`t like confrontation.

    Would it be rude of me at this point to kind of try and back out of the whole friendship part of things and get it back to being more strictly business?

  2. #2
    Expansive... Judy Trickett's Avatar
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    Nope, it's ALL business here all the time.

    I have been "friends" with a dcparent before. It was not intentional but the dcgirl (my first dckid ever) was the same age as my DD and they basically grew up together from 12 mths old right up until they were six. And THAT is when it all went BAD. Basically, I needed to ask for what was fair for ME with respect to daycare (and just trust me that THEY were getting the better deal. Over 5 years and two of their kids in care I basically LOST $28,000 because I allowed them to come flex and never pay for stats etc - LESSON LEARNED THE HARD WAY) they bolted and were very nasty.

    My experiences is that the old adage is repeated so often because it is true - never mix business with pleasure. Now I won't even take immediate neighbours. I will NOT take a family who lives on my street because I do NOT want to even mix at that level.

    I am able to run a very successful and relatively stress-free daycare because I am NOT friends with ANY family so I can cut my losses and move on with NO guilt at anytime. If parents don't live up to the terms of the contract I cut them lose.

    I sleep very well at night too.

  3. #3
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    I try to keep my daycare parents as business as well however, I do find it kinda difficult at times b/c my kids are great friends with theirs (naturally they spend a lot of time together). My kids are invitied to all their kids birthday parties (and mine all want the dck at their parties), they all go to school together, etc etc. The dck want playdates with my kids on the weekends (although we dont usually go) that sort of thing, so its difficult for me to try to remain pure business with them. I suppose as my kids get older and the dck grow up and cycle through this will be easier.

  4. #4
    Expansive... Judy Trickett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lilac View Post
    I try to keep my daycare parents as business as well however, I do find it kinda difficult at times b/c my kids are great friends with theirs (naturally they spend a lot of time together). My kids are invitied to all their kids birthday parties (and mine all want the dck at their parties), they all go to school together, etc etc. The dck want playdates with my kids on the weekends (although we dont usually go) that sort of thing, so its difficult for me to try to remain pure business with them. I suppose as my kids get older and the dck grow up and cycle through this will be easier.
    True about the kids ages/friends etc.

    It gets A LOT easier to distance yourself from families and be ALL business once your own kids are older and not interested in being friends with the "babies".

  5. #5
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    I'm in the same boat as Lilac! However you can still remain professional. Just don't go to the disco with them! LOL



    Quote Originally Posted by lilac View Post
    I try to keep my daycare parents as business as well however, I do find it kinda difficult at times b/c my kids are great friends with theirs (naturally they spend a lot of time together). My kids are invitied to all their kids birthday parties (and mine all want the dck at their parties), they all go to school together, etc etc. The dck want playdates with my kids on the weekends (although we dont usually go) that sort of thing, so its difficult for me to try to remain pure business with them. I suppose as my kids get older and the dck grow up and cycle through this will be easier.

  6. #6
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    I am able to run a very successful and relatively stress-free daycare because I am NOT friends with ANY family so I can cut my losses and move on with NO guilt at anytime. If parents don't live up to the terms of the contract I cut them lose.
    Did it take you awhile to get to this point? To feel no guilt at any time?

    I think that's my biggest problem is the feeling guilty part. I am generally an over friendly person but don't want to be taken advantage because of it. It's not very often that the outside world sees my more serious side. I guess in the end though this is business and if someone doesn't like it for what it is, they can find a new day home, right??!! (Easier said than done sometimes!) As of now I haven't actually gotten together with any of these people after hours and think it would be in my best interest not to.

  7. #7
    Expansive... Judy Trickett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlc1982 View Post
    Did it take you awhile to get to this point? To feel no guilt at any time?
    Yes. No. Sort of.

    I have always been an assertive person. And, before daycare I worked in an industry where the prevailing belief is that you generally, in the real world, cause your OWN problems. So, having that as a background of knowledge I guess I never really felt any guilt because I honestly believe that daycare parents get themselves terminated. Why should I feel guilt for the actions of someone else?? KWIM?

    Really, ANY dcprovider I know would much rather work with the families she already has and knows then to have to terminate and start over with a new family. Most of us will do just about anything (within reason and within the terms of the contract) to keep a current family. So, if it gets to the point of termination one has to ask WHO is really at fault here? Parents get themselves (and their child) terminated. I won't own that guilt nor will I accept responsibility for it.

    The minute daycare providers STOP wearing their hearts on their sleeves and start wearing a business hat instead is the day their daycare BUSINESS starts to become VERY easy and stress-free.

    And then providers allow society to get inside their heads with the misnomer that you can NOT be a daycare provider and be kind and compassionate toward children while still being a BUSINESS owner and acting as such. NOTHING could be further from the truth. That paradigm is a double-standard that we need to stand up and refuse to allow be applied to us. It's unfair and it's ridiculous.

    Daycare is Business. Period. Lots of parents do NOT want to read that but I speak the truth. It's business. It is.
    Last edited by Judy Trickett; 08-02-2011 at 02:31 PM.

  8. #8
    Expansive... Judy Trickett's Avatar
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    I think the other thing that happens too about the guilt (or rather, NOT feeling guilt) is that once you have been Hit by the Swing (screwed over) a few times you get real smart and realize the parents will ALWAYS look after themselves first (and rightly, so) and therefore so should YOU! And yes, that means keeping you happy. And often, that also means cutting loose those that are not working out.

  9. #9
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    Go figure, the day I post this I have a totally different parent come pick up their kid and tell me she will be planning a birthday party for her daughter for September. She wants to invite us! Ugh, I might just have other plans for that weekend

  10. #10
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    My kids used to go to a homedaycare owned by my best friend. My experience of it was great. But, because there is always a but, I had to work hard to keep it that way.

    Never mix business with pleasure is true. Or in french, we say never mix business and family. Unless you are 100% sure that the person you will become friends with will continue to treat you as a business owner while her kids are in your care. But this is hard to do. And also if you are sure you can keep on treating her as a customer while caring for her child.

    I had to tell my friend to stop trying to give me things for free, or excuse my late payment because I was her friend. Yes I have to admit that I am really bad at payments. And she was always telling me that it was ok, not to worry. After asking her about other parents, if it would bother her if they were late, she admitted that she would be upset. She wanted to charge me less a day, not charge late fees, not charge days off, etc..

    My husband didn't see it my way. He saw it as an advantage to have a daycare provider as a friend. That way, he could be late and not worry about it.

    I didn't want to lose our friendship. I valued it more than money. So I paid everyday I was late, found a way to never be late for payments, refused to have any favor due to our friendship. Had to stop my husband to be always late and not worry about the consequences, etc..

    So I do not advise you to be friends with your customer. I means a lot of trouble.



    So I had to work hard against them to keep it as a business.

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