Contract and Policy Tips for Family Child Care

Learn More About Our Online Classes

If you are a family childcare provider, you are also a small business owner and a professional. It is important to have a well written contract for services you will provide. Providers from our forum have shared some of their policies.

Hours of Operation Policies

I tell all my parents I am open 7-5 every day, and they can bring their kids anytime during those 10 hours and it's one rate. I do charge an hourly "overtime" rate if they come before 7 or stay after 5 

I'm open a maximum of 10 hours a day. 7am-5:00pm. If a parent needs me to be open a little longer, they have to give me at least a weeks notice. I don't think you are being unreasonable. 

My hours are 7 to 5, but contract states...Daycare is a 9 hour day, and this must include drop off and pickup time. My hours should be able to accommodate them to fit into their workday. If they need more than 9 hours, I will probably send them elsewhere, as I don't want overtime. If it is on a rare occasion, I am more than happy to help them out. 

Registration and Deposits

have never asked for a deposit, and never been stiffed by a parent. They have always given me notice at least one month ahead of time. I ask for two weeks. 

I require reg. fee, first week up front since Now I do pre-pay and the last 2wks termination. I tell parents if NO written termination then they still pay!! I know it's a lot up front so I do with work with them on the dep.. 

1 Have parents make a deposit equal to 2 wks payment. This is your final 2 wks of payment from them. Guaranteed! I have had to do this too. I learned the hard way and it cost me big time. Work w/them on the deposit, if need be, by letting them pay you in 2 or 4 increments. Good luck! 

I charge a $20.00 per. year non-refundable registration fee. I haven't had a parent ask what it is for. But will tell them like you said helps cover paper work and my time. I am thinking of raising it to $25.00. 

I charge a $15 registration fee to cover supplies, advertising, etc. I've never had a parent question it. I am pretty low for my area. Most charge a week's tuition. I just can't justify asking for that 

Vacations and Sick Days in Your Contract

I charge half rate for the first two weeks of vacation, anything over two weeks is full charge. 

I give 5 days sick/personal per calendar year w/o notice with no pay and 2 weeks vacation that they can take no pay with 2 weeks notice. I go calendar year, otherwise it gets too complicated 

I am off and am paid for all statutory holidays, that fall on a parents regular working day. Parents pay 1/2 fee when they are on holidays for more than 5 consecutive working days and they do not pay a fee when I am on holidays. 

I get paid for New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and close at 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve. If any of these holidays fall on the weekend I get Friday or Monday off/paid. 

Payment Schedules

On my contracts I let the parents decide on what day they want to pay me and whether they will pay weekly, bi-wkly or monthly but it must be in advance. I tell them to make it easy on themselves but after they fill out the contract and put down the day and frequency, they are locked into that time and amount. 

I have been doing an hourly rate for the last 2 years and next week I will be changing to a daily rate. I have one parent that I feel I have lost $1300 to $1500 on being shorted for hours here and there just this year. Other parents have also shorted me on hours but not to the extreme that this one parent has. 

You can do a daily and weekly rate, but make it a better deal to go for weekly. Say you decide to charge $90.00 per week for full time, then make it $25.00 per day. For part time (if you want to offer it) go for two thirds that amount, or $60.00 per week; $16.00 per day. Then define part time as anything up to 5 hours, 59 minutes; full time as 6 to 9 hours. Anyone leaving the child longer than 9 hours is subject to overtime fees. Contracts would also indicate if the parent was purchasing a full or part time slot and how many days per week. If they purchase full time, weekly, they pay for full time weekly regardless of actual attendance. 

Additional Fees

In our parent contract (signed by parent), ANY child who is 15 minutes late in dropping off or 15 minutes late in picking up (according to their enrollment schedule), I charge them $5.00 for EVERY 15 minutes! If they do call to say they will be late, I ask how long and log that down, and I begin charging if they go past this time frame they gave me. 

If they do not arrive within half an hour of expected arrival without a call I charge $10, my contract renewal for 2002 is going to $15. 

I do charge them $10 for every fifteen minutes they are late after 6:00 p.m., my closing time. I've never had a repeat offend there! 


I used to give a discount but I was losing money that way. I don't provide discounted care to the second child, so why should I give a discount? :)I have found that parents who truly care about having high-quality care for their child are willing to pay for it. 

I don't give any discounts for siblings...I figure they are filling up a slot that I could be using for another child...then I don't have any problems with other families either that come along... 

Rate Increases

I put an automatic 5% increase Jan 1st of each year in my contract. I debated doing this, but I did it one because I did not want to be in the uncomfortable position of informing parents I would be raising my rates and two there are no surprises to the parents. It is all there in black and white. When interviewing I just tell them that I do have the increase and that it is my incentive to always continue to improve my program and it is minimal out of pocket for them weekly/hourly/monthly/yearly, however they want to figure it. So far I have not had any problems or complaints with it. 

I raise mine a little each year to keep on track with expenses. Usually about $5 / week. This year I didn't raise them and actually had a parent ask me if I had forgotten to put the notice out because they were expecting it! 


I use a form of "1-2-3", "redirecting" and "time out" as a form of discipline. Any child who is aggressive, uncontrollable and can not follow the rules, the parents will be called to come and pick their child(ren) up. If your child continues to act in a matter that is distributive to him/herself or to other children, childcare may be terminated.And I have the parent sign this form when they fill out their enrollment form. I also give the parents the option of telling me what kind of discipline they use at home that they feel works best for their child 

I stated that I cannot care for children whose behavior is unacceptable such as biting, hitting, fighting...etc. I know sometimes things happen, but if a child is always acting out or running wild and causing problems, I state that they will be asked to make other arrangements. I assure them that I do my best to make sure that their child is kept safe and sent home in the same condition in which they arrived, free of bruises, bitemarks, etc.