Cutting back on school holidays
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  1. #1
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    Default Cutting back on school holidays

    Wanting some advice. I want to cut back on school holidays as I'm finding it difficult with my own children. I've started to prepare a letter for parents explaining my difficulties and the risk I feel it causes as I have a child with additional needs. I will still work some days but not days when I've got 5+ children. I feel sure most parents will be able to make alternative arrangements but I do have 1 family 5 days per week that always struggle with childcare. I get little comments made when I take 2 weeks off in the summer and I'm considering taking most of the summer off. What I don't want is for this family to think that I will continue working as and when for them just because they're struggling with childcare. I have to do what's best for me and my family and will explain that they should do the same - whether or not they find another childminder is up to them.

    Any advice on how to word this?

    Also, would it be pushing it to increase my prices as I've not increased them in 5 years!

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    I'd say, if you have a family who are likely to want to push for more than you want to do, that it might be best to keep it strictly professional and avoid any discussion of 'difficulties'. You are running a business and can state your on working hours.
    But I'd keep it clear from the outset- not 'I will take more holidays' but 'I will be closed the weeks of xyz'- that way there is no discussion and it is clear that they need to find alternative care for those weeks- you can refer them to your LA list of providers, childcare.co.uk and maybe any local holiday clubs etc.
    I'd send a letter to all families stating something like 'due to changing needs of my own family I am adjusting my opening hours (or adjusting the weeks I take as holiday) to xx weeks closed per year/closed the weeks of xxx. As this is a contractual change I am obliged to give 4 weeks notice but as this change will require you to make alternative childcare plans for those weeks I am giving you plenty of notice so you can do that with less urgency (insert links to LA CMer list etc). Please sign below to agree these contractual changes (2 copies) and keep this notice with your copy of our original contract.'

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  4. #3
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    Default

    I agree with Moggy, keep it professional.

    Be prepared to lose some families though as holiday care is often vital, especially to those who don't live near any family members. Stability and continuity is also high on some parents lists too and they may prefer to move their children to a childminder that does holiday care.

    I don't work school holidays - but this was my initial business plan - the parents that are interested in my services usually work in education and are happy that I am term time only as they don't then pay for the holidays.
    How will you be charging ? The families may not be happy with having to pay more 'half rates' for holiday time when they are likely to have to also pay for other childcare. Plus paying a higher rate at this point may not sit well.

    But this is your business ....It could be that you may end up with a different set of clientele who are happy with term time ....which will suit you better....but be prepared for a few strained conversations / leavers whilst you change over.

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    I agree with advice already given - be firm about your intentions and sadly yes, be prepared to lose some families. If that happens then you have the perfect opportunity to raise your fees for new clients. I know through previous discussions that many of us on here find it hard to put up fees for existing families but do it for new families.

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    Always do what's best for your own family. Otherwise you'll feel resentment building up. Many CMs fall into the trap of doing everything for their 'clients' and then they realize that they have left their own family behind. Some have not even taken ANY holidays for years, because it was 'not convenient' for the clients!
    Need a laugh? Visit my website: www.unclegargy.deviantART.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ripeberry View Post
    Always do what's best for your own family. Otherwise you'll feel resentment building up. Many CMs fall into the trap of doing everything for their 'clients' and then they realize that they have left their own family behind. Some have not even taken ANY holidays for years, because it was 'not convenient' for the clients!
    Quite agree!

    I'm taking more holiday than ever at the moment, mainly because my childrens commitments need more of my time. I've just been speaking to a prospective mum and explaining that the time she wants to pick up is also the time that DS needs collecting from an after school activity and that although I don't pick up every week, some weeks I would need to, and she said of course, if you need to pick him up, I'll either try and get to you early, or wait for you to get back. As it happens, they live on my way, so I might be able to drop them off.

    xxx

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  12. #7
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    I've decided to put fees up this year. I've also run for five years with no increase. During that time we've seen the same cost of living increase as parents, and official statistics show average wage increases of about 5%. So even if you go up by 5% the parents have gained by having no year on year rise for the intervening five years.

    Moreover, our business costs have risen more than the cost of living. Loss of LA support has driven training costs through the roof, whilst the increasing demands of the same LA (e.g. administration for funding claims) mean I do more unpaid hours than ever before.

    It strikes me that 2017 is the year to increase fees, not just because the increase is long overdue. Tax Free Childcare means that, by the end of the year, every single family will be getting some form of financial support. I aim to roll out the increase so the timing minimises the impact. So I apply it when they change hours; do a contract review; or become eligible for funding, etc.

    Mind you, despite my efforts to reduce the impact, that doesn't mean the odd client won't moan. I increased one from January because DS is now on 3yo funding. The bill has very nearly halved, but dad is moaning that he has to pay "£1.20 more every week" for the 6 non-funded hours. Some people will always see the cloud rather than the silver lining.

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  14. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ripeberry View Post
    Always do what's best for your own family. Otherwise you'll feel resentment building up. Many CMs fall into the trap of doing everything for their 'clients' and then they realize that they have left their own family behind. Some have not even taken ANY holidays for years, because it was 'not convenient' for the clients!
    Argh this is me....guilty! Two years and no holidays taken.....maybe this year!

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  16. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by FloraDora View Post
    I agree with Moggy, keep it professional.

    Be prepared to lose some families though as holiday care is often vital, especially to those who don't live near any family members. Stability and continuity is also high on some parents lists too and they may prefer to move their children to a childminder that does holiday care.

    I don't work school holidays - but this was my initial business plan - the parents that are interested in my services usually work in education and are happy that I am term time only as they don't then pay for the holidays.
    How will you be charging ? The families may not be happy with having to pay more 'half rates' for holiday time when they are likely to have to also pay for other childcare. Plus paying a higher rate at this point may not sit well.

    But this is your business ....It could be that you may end up with a different set of clientele who are happy with term time ....which will suit you better....but be prepared for a few strained conversations / leavers whilst you change over.

    To be honest, most of my contracts are term time only with ad hoc care in the hols. Many of these parents don't need me and others can usually arrange alternative childcare with family members.

    Some days I will be able to get respite for my child, and other days my partner is off. I won't be quitting holidays altogether as I can work around some days. I don't charge for my holidays and was going to offer parents that have me full time, the opportunity for free weeks in the hols if they found alternative childcare. If I lose them, then so be it. They are aware of the difficulties I have with my child. I've always been fair with everyone and have spent my first 3 years of childminding without a day off and allowing them 2 weeks holiday for free. Since I've started taking holidays, I give all my parents my holidays in January for the year. The only difference this year will be working around respite and my partners work. My contracts state 4 weeks notice for holidays but I always give at least 8 weeks.

    I am expecting the strained conversations! Thanks for the advice.

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  18. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ripeberry View Post
    Always do what's best for your own family. Otherwise you'll feel resentment building up. Many CMs fall into the trap of doing everything for their 'clients' and then they realize that they have left their own family behind. Some have not even taken ANY holidays for years, because it was 'not convenient' for the clients!
    I've reached this point! Although I do take holidays now, I feel I don't look forward to the school holidays because I've got a houseful of children and don't give mine enough time.

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  20. #11
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    I take around six weeks holiday a year and they are all in school holidays, two weeks in the summer.
    It's your business merlot, so do what suits you. As long as you give the amount of notice that's in your policy that's all that matters. And you don't need to give any specific reason, it's just your choice

 

 

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