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Co-Parenting Strangers
  By Terri Potter-Mulhern

                            812 Valley West Drive
                       West Des Moines, IA 50265



About this Book……………………………………………………………5

About the Author…………………………………………………………..6

The Market…………………………………………………………………7

The Competition…………………………………………………………...8

Sample Chapters 2 & 19….………………………………………………9

Book Table of Contents………………………………………………….33


Marketing/Sales Plan – My contributions….…………………………..59

                          Co-Parenting Strangers
                           By Terri Potter-Mulhern

Nineteen Million Americans every year raise their children with strangers.
They enter into a relationship as important as marriage and far more
difficult. While marriage begins with dating and friendship that can last for
months, finding childcare lasts a few weeks and begins with a short meeting
or interview and ends with dropping off the most precious gift ever to a
virtual stranger.

It is only after a parent places their child into daycare to they begin to form a
bond with their provider. It then sometimes becomes difficult to be honest
and communicative with someone who has the ability to take away the
security that allows that parent to go to work.

From the childcare provider’s perspective, there are rules to building a
strong trusting relationship. There are some faux pas which cannot be
overcome and result in strain and a lack of compassion on the part of the
provider. It is this compassion that allows the provider to nurture and be
attentive to the children she cares for. And so the cycle begins. As the
problems mount and no-one wants to say anything it becomes a situation
where the end result is a termination of the relationship, a sort of divorce, if
you will, and both parties start over making the same mistakes with the next

There’s very little real information out there for parents about how to find
the best possible person to raise your child with. Most parenting books don’t
even address the issues of working with someone who spends more time
with your child than you do. There are no practical guides to bonding with
someone you are in a business and very personal relationship with all at the
same time.

At least until this book came along. Parents and providers both will enjoy
the fresh honest look at the provider - parent relationship. The stories that
accompany the chapters are true and are told from the perspective of the
provider so that parents can see what it is like to be someone with the
responsibility of raising another person’s child. Each chapter includes

helpful hints and how-to for almost any situation from arguments over
payment or discussions of parenting differences.

 Included in the book are comprehensive listings of websites and
organizations to help parents with finding a great provider, listings of
agencies who will assist with background checks and websites where free
information can be obtained to help parents become educated about the
daycare rules and regulations in their area.

This book is crucial for any parent using childcare. It is an invaluable
educational tool that will help them to place their child in capable, loving
hands and keep them there for as long as possible. Providers who form a
strong bond with the daycare parent will form an even stronger one with the

Co-Parenting Strangers is an easy to read, fun and educational romp. It is
presented with kindness and humor. Parents will want to read and re-read the
stories and examples. It isn’t magic, just good old common sense education.

                            ABOUT THE BOOK

Every year my friends and I would joke that as providers we had seen it all. I
have had clients show up drunk to pick up their child, clients who disappear
for 3 days while I still have their child and clients who sent their little angel
through my door with candy every morning at 7 AM.

As a result, my parent handbook grew and grew to an alarmingly long list of
do’s and don’ts that became an iron clad contract that most of my provider
friends copied and used as their own, because they figured it would take too
long to retype.

We finally became aware that some parents just couldn’t see anyone else’s
side of the equation. This book is our contribution to their education. If a
parent can learn to diaper and to feed an infant, then surely we felt they
could be taught to feel compassion for the one person they should value as
highly as their spouse or kin. We set out to help parents understand that there
has to be a relationship other than business with their child’s provider. We
wanted to show them that their provider is a parent who understands a lot of
their concerns, and is usually willing to work together to raise a happy, well
adjusted child. There simply had to be better communication and a better
understanding of the responsibilities and place each person had in the life of
this child.

This book is about a kind of marriage. When another person gets the better
part of your child’s day, you have to form a bond with them. In order to
make your child feel secure, you and your provider have to show a united
front. If your child knows that naptime is the same at home or at daycare,
and they have to eat their vegetables no matter who serves them, then life is
as it should be. When a provider or parent becomes convinced that they are
the only one who knows what is best for the child, the downhill spiral starts.

We hope parents will come away with an understanding and respect for the
person putting in the hard hours while they are away. We want daycare to
become more than just money paid to house a child. We feel parenting needs
to include supporting all the other parents, not just the biological ones, but
also the surrogate ones who are often the main caregiver.

                          ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Terri Mulhern is a 25 year veteran of childcare. Starting in 1986 as a nanny
for 3 children to pay for college, she then went on to a successful in-home
childcare in 1989. In 1998 she transitioned into a center setting where she
worked as a teacher and eventually as a director.

Returning to in-home childcare in 2002 in order to be home with her 5th and
6th child, Mrs. Mulhern began teaching continuing education courses to other
providers. Today Mrs. Mulhern built two successful childcare centers in
Iowa with over 500 kids and over 90 staff. Now in Retirement she spends as
much time as possible with her 7th child Cadence (age 5) and her 8th child
Caci (age 3).

Mrs. Mulhern is Director qualified and has taught over 70 continuing
education courses to hundreds of providers in Arizona, Colorado and Iowa.
Her education includes over 500 hours of continuing education in early child
development and the care of ages 0-6. In addition she has over 200 college
semester hours and is pursuing a master’s in Psychology. Her passion lies in
studying children and their relationship to the caregivers in their life.

As if raising children for other people full-time wasn’t enough, Theresa and
her husband Mick have been foster and respite care parents and have
performed emergency crisis care for the State of Iowa.

From a very early age Terri has had a love for writing and sharing
information. Starting in 1992 with magazine articles for Cruising World and
Parents Weekly, she then moved on to continuing education manuals for
community college courses. Although Co-Parenting Strangers is her first
book to be available for commercial publishing, her two other current
projects include the guide License to Parent and a no-nonsense instruction
manual for childcare providers and centers entitled Daycare Desperation.
Mrs. Mulhern has a website and blog where parents and providers can find
answer to questions they send her by email. In addition she writes for several
educational websites and online magazines.

                               THE MARKET

Co-Parenting Strangers is designed for the parent or expecting parent who
uses or is planning on using childcare. The last estimates by the census show
over 20 million parents in the US using some form of childcare.

In addition, the following individuals can use, review or sell this guide:

Childcare providers and centers can provide this guide to new families as a
way to educate parents and begin communication. There are over 118,000
licensed childcare centers and over 300,000 registered childcare homes in
the US.

Pediatricians can recommend this as informational for parents who are
having anxiety about childcare.

Childcare resource and referral agencies can make Co-Parenting Strangers
available to parents who are looking for childcare as an educational tool.

Other possible uses:

Counselors: for family counseling purposes

Parenting coaches

OB GYN/Midwives: To help expecting moms prepare for going back to

In short, in the US alone the potential market for this book is well over 20

                               THE COMPETITION

   1. Choosing Childcare for Dummies: Ann Douglas (2003). This book is
      a guide for finding childcare, written from a parent/medical
      perspective. Although a great book, it does very little to address the
      relationship between the parent and provider. There is a small section
      on the first few days of transition, but nothing about the long term
      bond, which is crucial. This book is paperback for @ $14.00.
      Publisher: Wiley Publishing
   2. The Childcare Answer Book: Linda H Connell (2005). This is another
      book that concentrates on finding childcare, written by an IL lawyer.
      It is a guide written from a legal angle, with sections on firing your
      provider but not a lot about getting the most out of them. Paperback
      sells for @ 16.00. Publisher: Sphinx Legal
   3. Making Care Work: Lynette Uttal (2002) Sociologist perspective on
      the relationship between working mothers and their care providers.
      Not easily readable and although it intends to educate about childcare
      it is more about women’s social stigmas attached to working.
      Paperback sells for $22.00 (library bound for $60)Publisher: Rutgers
      University Press

Although there are dozens of books on building a relationship with a nanny,
not very many have been written about building a relationship with a
childcare provider. This is exactly why it is time for this book. Too many
parents concentrate on the finding, and not on the keeping of a great
childcare provider.

I have attached two sample chapters. I did not attach chapter one because I have not
written the chapters in order and chapter one is not yet edited. As this book can be used
as a reference guide, the chapters can be flipped to at will and read in the order most
beneficial to the reader. There are more samples from this book and my two others at my

Happy reading!

                                   Sample Chapters
                         Chapter Two – Choosing your Co-Parent

       If you are expecting a baby, you should begin looking for childcare at least 5

months before your child is born in order to have time to research cost, learn about the

daycare laws and regulations in your state and interview at least 10 providers.

       If you are already a parent and are returning to work or changing daycares

because you are not happy with your current situation, you unfortunately do not have the

luxury of time. You do still have a responsibility to interview several providers, which

can be done with an initial phone interview and follow up personal interviews with the

providers you like the best.

       Before beginning the process of searching for childcare, look at a map. Highlight

the areas of town which are convenient for pick-up and drop off. If one parent is going to

be primarily responsible for picking up and dropping off, you may want to choose

childcare between their work and home. If one parent will be picking up and the other

dropping off, choose childcare as close to home as possible, or closest to the parent who

is first to be contacted in an emergency.

       There are a million questions to ask a provider. It is important to prioritize what is

crucial to your family when it comes to daycare. If your child has a cat allergy, the first

question you should ask is “Do you have cats?” Cross every provider who does from

your list. We of course recommend crossing off anyone who lives in a home where there

is smoking. Providers will make the excuse that they smoke outside, but they are

cuddling your child against their fog covered clothes. If there is a dog in the home, ask if

the dog is allowed to play with the daycare children. If the answer is yes, be careful. It is

a huge risk to expose even the gentlest of dogs to a ton of people every day, especially

the type of people who will stick things up the dog’s nose or climb all over him. If the

dog is kept separate from the children it should be a non-issue except with a child who

has an allergy. Once again, a provider will swear their dog wouldn’t harm a fly. No dog

comes with a guarantee. It also isn’t fair to the dog.

       Begin your weeding out process by starting with providers who are registered or

licensed in your state. Although having a license is not a guarantee of quality, it does

mean someone is occasionally checking up on that provider. Try to find providers who

are on the food program, which ensures your child is well fed. We explain registration

and the food program in a later chapter.

       When calling providers, try to be considerate of what they do for a living. Try to

avoid early morning when parents are dropping off, lunch time and afternoons from 4:30

to 6:00 PM. Most providers will say that the best time to call is from 1-3 PM or after 6.

Always ask the provider if this is a good time. If it isn’t, don’t be offended if they ask you

to leave your number.

       The next two pages are a checklist of questions to ask a provider. You can use

these as a guideline for interviewing on the phone or in person. You may find you can

make a decision about someone with the answers to just one or two questions, but there

are some you need to ask anyone you are considering.

NOTE: It is rude to make your first questions to a provider about cost. If you want a great

relationship with your provider, your first concern should be her qualifications and

experience, not how cheap her rates are. Although cost is an important consideration,

childcare is too important to base solely on the money. Find a provider you love, and give

up the extras you have to in order to afford her.

The following checklist may not have every question you need answered. It will help you

to get started.

Childcare Interview Checklist: Crucial yet overlooked questions are in bold.

1. Are you licensed / registered? If so, what level of registration do you have?

2. How many providers are in your home/center?

3. How many children are you currently caring for?

4. What is the age range of children you watch?

5. I will need childcare from _____ to _____. Are those hours within your business


6. Tell me about your experience with children. Do you have children? How long have

you done childcare?

7. What is the daily schedule like in your childcare?

8. Will you be transporting my child in a vehicle? If so, where will you go and how

often? Does your vehicle insurance cover daycare transportation?

9. Are you currently certified in CPR and 1st Aid?

10. Does your childcare participate in the food program?

11. What type of education do you have? Do you take continuing education courses to

stay current in childcare issues?

12. What are your policies on illness? Vacation? Personal days?

13. What holidays are you closed?

14. Do you have an emergency plan in place and perform drills for fire, tornado …….?

15. If there is an emergency, where will my child be taken?

16. Has everyone in your household had a physical and background check?

17. Has anyone in your household been convicted of a crime, including sex offenses,

D.U.I.’s, suspended driver’s licenses or other misdemeanors or felonies? (This

information can be verified through public records and the State Licensing agency) If you

are interviewing a center, ask about the background checks done on the staff and if the

staff in the room your child will be in have a criminal history check you can view.

18. Has your license to practice childcare ever been suspended or revoked, even

temporarily? (You can verify this info.)

19. What are your feelings about discipline? How will my child be disciplined for the


        Biting   Hitting      Not sharing Lying              …………

20. What type of activities do you offer for my child? Are there preschool activities

provided for my child when they become preschool age?

21. Do you carry childcare insurance? Are parents able to view a copy of the policy?

22. What types of pets live in your household? Are they around the children regularly?

23. Do you have current vaccinations and health checks for all the animals in your


24. What meals and snacks do you provide?

25. What supplies will I need to provide for my child?

26. If I have questions or concerns, how should I address them with you?

27. If you have concerns about my child, how will you let me know?

28. Do you meet with parents regularly?

29. Do you have access to testing materials to make sure my child is on track?

30. What are some important things you like for new parents to know about your


31. If I choose to breast feed, can you accommodate me? Can I come here on my lunch to

nurse my child?

32. Will my child have her own bed for sleeping? If not, can I provide one and will

you keep other children out of it?

33. When was your last daycare inspection and what, if anything, were you required

to change? (This info can be verified with the State Licensing agency)

34. What kind of checks do you perform on Staff? Are they drug tested? Do they

have physicals and TB tests on file? Are they background checked for everything or

just child abuse?

There are bound to be more questions you will have for providers. The last thing you

should ask is about what they charge. If you are seeking part-time childcare, understand

that it is more expensive than full time. Don’t be afraid to pay for a full-time slot with a

provider you like, as long as you let her know that you will expect to use some of the

extra time for doctor’s visits, grocery shopping etc…. ANOTHER NOTE: Just because

you pay by the week does not mean you should max out your time every week. You are

cheating your child if you are not working but still leave them in childcare. It is always

considerate to pick your child up early or keep them home when you can. Even though

your childcare provider may have other children regardless, one less makes for an easier

day. Your provider will appreciate your concern for your child and for their mental

health. Don’t make excuses about keeping your child on a schedule. You should have

your child on the same schedule at home that they are at childcare anyway, so there

should be no problem with you keeping your own child when you are not at work. The

purpose of daycare is to provide an alternative to your care when you can’t be available.

It is not intended to be a dumping ground so that you can have time to relax. Once you

have a child, being there to raise them needs to be your first priority. Your provider may

assure you it is no big deal. To your child it is.

When sitting with a provider for an interview, it is just as important to look around at

your surroundings and observe the provider with your child, her children and her daycare

children if they are present. Does she express interest in your child? Does she talk to your

child or hold them while she talks with you? Does she inquire about their schedule, their

health and your expectations for them? Any provider should show an interest in finding

out about your child. After all, she is making a commitment to watch a child she knows

nothing about. Pay attention to how she deals with her own children. Do they seem to

mind and respect her? Do they seem out of control and aggressive? Remember they will

also be around your child all day. In addition, if the provider you are interviewing is

harsh or inappropriate with her own children, do not assume she will be any nicer to your

child. Thank her for her time and move on.

It is crucial to pay attention to safety and sanitary aspects of a childcare home. Pay close

attention to the following:

1. Are there poisons down where a child could reach them? Medicines on the counter,

bug spray or cleaners on the table, or other poisonous items your child could ingest. If

your child is an infant, these things still matter because before you know it your child will

be climbing up to those counters. If another child should happen to be poisoned while

your child is there it could cause terrible consequences for you and your child.

2. There is a difference between clutter and dirty. Toys and blankets lying all over are

one thing, baseboards with food all over them is another thing altogether.

3. There is no harm in using the bathroom. Bathrooms that the toilets are disgusting and

the sinks are grimy are an indication of less than regular cleaning. Even worse, she may

have cleaned up before you arrived and this may be her idea of spic and span.

4. Check the condition of the toys. Are they dirty, broken or inappropriate for your child?

If you have an infant and there are tiny Lego’s or army men lying around, think twice.

While you are talking to the provider, listen carefully to what she says about the other

parents and the children in her care. Is she negative about them or does she seem to really

like them? Is she full of complaints about her job or does she seem to thrive on caring for

children? If she tells you their personal information, she will probably disclose yours.

You should immediately leave if it begins to become apparent that her life is full of

drama and mess, such as children in juvenile detention or lawsuits against parents.

Before you even go to an interview, ask the provider if she is willing to agree to a

background check. There are companies on line that will help you check out the

background of any prospective provider. Most states have their court records on-line so

that you can see if the provider has been sued by parents or is in the habit of suing

parents. The Dept. of Human Services will have background checks on file, but in most

states they only check for child abuse. I recommend you do a little research on your own.

In the back of this book, along with the listings of licensing agencies for each state we

have included information for companies to use, on-line court records for the states that

have them and more.

Never hire a childcare provider or center without references. Ask for a minimum of three

and take the time to call them. Ask them what they like best, what they would change and

how long they have been with the provider. If a provider has been doing childcare for

several years and all her references have been with her for 2 months, you should be

concerned about the turnover in her home.

One of the most common questions parents ask is whether to use a center or a home

provider. There are absolutely pros and cons to both. Here is a list showing some of the

great and not so great things about each type of facility.

Daycare versus Center – Center Pros:

1. Because of the facility license, a center is required to be inspected more often and more

in-depth than home childcares.

2. There are several adults in a center, which theoretically means they are monitoring

each other.

3. Some centers offer great preschool programs

4. Children are in a room with other children their own age.

Center cons:

1. Because your child is exposed to 15 children instead of 6, they are more often exposed

to illness.

2. Centers rely on staff to do the cleaning every day. Since they do not live there, center

staff may not clean as thoroughly as they would probably clean the home where their

child plays also.

3. Class sizes are larger in centers because of State regulations. Therefore your child may

receive less one on one attention.

4. Centers are less flexible when it comes to hours. They do not have the ability to keep

your child in case of an emergency like a home provider would.

5. Staff members in childcare centers make an average of $9.00 per hour. As a result, this

attracts young, inexperienced individuals who often do not have children of their own. In

addition, the staff turnover in centers is tremendous. Your child may change caregivers

multiple times per year, which is detrimental to their emotional security. Finding a

childcare center where the staff is provided free or greatly reduced childcare is the most

desirable. You will find these centers have much better staff that stays much longer. In

addition, another sign of longevity are centers who take pride in the staff’s training and

pay for them to go.

6. In many states, childcare center staff members are not required to have any training,

including CPR and first aid before they can start, In addition, if the employee changes

jobs the time limit for getting this training starts over. If a staff member goes from center

to center and doesn’t stay longer than one year, they may go for years caring for children

with no training whatsoever. In-home providers have to provide evidence of training and

their records are checked every time their license comes up. The centers only have to

show training for staff that have been there for months.

7. Centers are able to use terminology that implies education and training that their staff

does not possess. Staff members can be called teachers, when they do not have a teaching

degree or any other college coursework. This can create a false sense of security in

parents who think they are leaving their children with skilled individuals.

8. You cannot have the in-depth interview with each teacher in a center that you can have

with a home provider. And you have no choice when your child changes teachers because

of staff changes.

Home Providers Pros:

1. Your child will build a long term bond with one, maybe two caregivers and will stay

with those same individuals long term. Home providers traditionally keep clients much

longer, so your child will make long term bonds with other children in the daycare, as

well as the provider’s children.

2. In order to keep their own child from becoming ill, a home provider will sometimes be

more vigilant about separating and sending home children who are ill. In addition,

numbers don’t lie. If your child is in a home with 8 children, statistics show they will be

exposed to less illness than in a center with 60.

3. Home Providers have the ability to be more flexible in a lot of areas, such as arrival

and departure times, items that can be brought to daycare, toilet training and more.

4. The percentage of home providers who quit childcare within the first five years is

much lower than the percentage of childcare center staff who quit within two. That alone

is a reason to stick with home care.

5. Home providers are available for communication far more readily than center staff.

You cannot simply call your child’s teacher in a center. You have to speak with a

director, who then has to talk with the teacher, and someone will get back to you. With a

home childcare, you call the person who is caring for your child directly.

6. In a home childcare, if another child becomes ill, because of the close knit relationship

you will know sooner and have more information about what is wrong, and therefore

what to watch your child for.

7. As your child grows, they will spend almost 20 years in some type of institutional

school environment. By placing them in a home setting, you are providing them with a

more family oriented setting, and avoiding the institution for a few more years.

8. Because of the lower overhead, the cost of a home provider is much more reasonable

for a parent. I know, we said don’t ask about cost, didn’t we? After all the other factors it

will come into play, and there is a difference of sometimes $100 per week or more.

Everything we considered ended up coming out on the side of the home provider.

Although centers are a perfectly good solution, there really is no better person to raise

your child than someone who will make them feel like they are at a second home all day.

Find someone who will be around for years and form a lasting bond with your child and

your family.

Once you have chosen the perfect Mary Poppins for your little tike, it is crucial that you

start off on the right foot and stay there. The next chapter is all about daycare parent

etiquette and strong communication.

The next chapter is intended to educate you about things that may offend your provider or

weaken the trust between the two of you. The story below from a provider may help you

to understand why it is so important.

I have always told my parents that if they are not going to be at work, they need to pick

up their child. I make exceptions if they are doing something their child cannot be a part

of, such as painting the kitchen or going to couple’s therapy. But it has always been my

stance that if you are not working, your child needs time with you. I always thought they

knew that they should let me know if they weren’t going to be at work because it is clearly

outlined in my handbook.

So imagine if you will, the Jones’s 3 year old falling down on my deck and landing on the

toy she had been playing with right on her teeth. She couldn’t have hit that metal truck

more perfectly if she tried, and I was looking at the first injury in 19 years that was going

to need more than a band-aid and a kiss.

I called in my neighbor to help my assistant with the other children. I prepared for the

trip to the emergency room. Because of field trips and transportation, I keep updated

emergency contact and medical authorization sheets in my car. I loaded up Anna and

took off with my cell phone in hand. At the first stop light I dialed the first number, which

was dad’s work. I asked politely for Mark Jones. The woman on the other end sounded

tense. “Can anyone else help you?” she asked. I politely told her no, that I was his

childcare provider and that his child had been injured so if she could please page him I

would be grateful. Imagine my shock when the voice on other end informed me Anna’s

dad had left their employment more than a month before! I hung up before I could ask if

they knew where I could find him. I went to the next number on his list, his cell phone. I

wasn’t really shocked to find it was disconnected… His job was for a cell phone company

and I imagined the phone was one of his perks.

Next on the list was Mom’s work. By now I was pulling into the hospital parking lot and

getting worried. Although I had more than enough of the necessary paperwork, I don’t

like making decisions about medical care for a child that isn’t mine. And now I didn’t

even know how to list dad’s information or even if their insurance was any good.

I got voice mail at mom’s work. I left a brief message that she needed to call my cell

phone as soon as possible and looked for another contact number. Mom’s cell was a bust

just like dads. I checked into the emergency room, authorized Anna’s cut super glued shut

(personally guaranteeing payment because of course the insurance was no-longer any

good), signed the bill and left with a prescription and a case of the ass.

I was halfway done with the 20 minute drive home (after the 2 hours in the ER) when

mom called with a casual “What’s up?”

“I am pretty sure that’s the question I should be asking you.” I said as calmly as I could.

“We had a tumble this morning and your daughter ended up needing to see a doctor.

She’s fine now but she does have a cut that required gluing.” I took a deep breath,

unsure whether to light into her or cut her a little slack while she recovered from the

news her child had gotten hurt. I then started the crucial conversation. ”Amy, were you

ever going to tell me your husband left his job? And do you have new contact information

you can give me tonight because I need to be able to reach you in cases like this. I should

not be the one authorizing medical treatment for your child when you are 10 minutes

from the hospital and I’m 20.”

There was silence on the other end of the phone. I wasn’t surprised. Here was mom, who

knew my policy on parents keeping their child when not at work, trying to figure out a

plausible explanation why her child had been coming to daycare 11 hours a day while

dad was at home not working. It was a full 4 seconds before the excuses began.

“I thought I told you Mark got fired the beginning of last month. We didn’t want to

disrupt Anna’s schedule. Besides, his job right now is looking for a job.” She paused for

a moment and then made the comment that sent me through the roof. “It’s actually been

great with him being home all day. He’s getting the yard work all done and a ton of stuff

around the house fixed. He’s even been making dinner for us before he leaves to wait

tables at Jimmy’s, which is making him enough to hold us over for a while.”

Right about this time I was getting off the Interstate. I have never been one who can drive

and digest information at the same time. So I told mom I would need to hang up to deal

with traffic and got off the phone to deal with my anger. I thought about how great it

would be to have time to do my own yard work, or make my family dinner at a decent

time instead of ordering take-out after getting the last kid out the door. I thought about

Anna, who had been so whiny for the last couple of weeks that I was sure she was turning

psychotic. It would have been so nice to know about the upheaval at home, or about the

fact she wasn’t even seeing her father anymore because he left for the Cafe before she got

home. I thought about how badly this could have gone if her injuries had been severe.

The more I thought the madder I got.

It got worse. The next week dad got a new job that didn’t start for 2 weeks. I assumed this

would mean that since he had found a job, his job wasn’t finding a job anymore. How

many days did he keep his child to spend time with her before starting the new job? You

guessed it – Zippo! I gave notice the moment I secured a new family to replace the

income. Now they’re really disrupting Anna’s schedule!

There is a very fine line between using and abusing daycare. Here’s my thought. If you

are not at work, your other job is to parent your own child. If you want your child to

behave for you in public, don’t leave them at the sitter’s house while you grocery shop

and run errands. Take them with you to see your new friend’s baby and to pick out your

book at Barnes and Noble. Your daycare provider manages to take her child with her

everywhere, because she doesn’t have a daycare provider of her own. She even has to

take your child occasionally. If she can do it, you can too. Remind yourself that time with

your child is precious, even when it isn’t relaxing quiet time at home.

Now let’s talk about ways to build a trusting relationship with your provider.

                       Chapter 19 – A Back-up Plan for Sick Days

Imagine having 12 kids. OK, maybe that is too big of a stretch for the average person. So

now imagine you have four. Now imagine they are 4, 3, 2 and 6 months of age. Already

we can see you’re starting to sweat. Now they are all four sick with terrible colds and you

are running back and forth with Tylenol, bulb syringes, juice, formula and Pedialyte. The

baby begins vomiting from the mucus he is swallowing and you begin to think you will

never get through this day.

It is at this point your boss taps you on the shoulder and reminds you that you are an

insurance agent safe at work. You have one child in daycare, no big deal.

We really weren’t joking about the 12 kids. A group C licensed daycare home in Iowa is

allowed 12 full time, 2 part-time and 2 school aged children. That means that on the

average day the two co-providers on this license are responsible for 16 kids. Which even

when they are well is a handful.

In daycare you are bound to get sick kids occasionally. My Staff and I try really hard not

to make parents come and get their child for no reason. Our illness policy is pretty

simple. If your child has a fever over 101*, is vomiting or has explosive diarrhea, we just

don’t feel he is well enough to come to daycare. Sounds pretty reasonable right? Guess


We are crazy about baby Josh. At 8 months of age and 23 pounds he is a happy little

bowl of Jell-O. Always getting into everything and just about ready to walk, he lights up

our morning. His mom on the other hand, sends lightening bolts of fury up our backsides.

Mona is one of those moms we were talking about with the one sided equation. Not only

does she only see her side of the argument, she is amazed when you don’t.

Monday is always a hectic day. With the seasons changing there are a few runny noses

here and there. So when Josh came with a runny nose we weren’t surprised. We were a

little worried that he took 2 three hour naps. We chalked it up to the rainy day outside.

On Tuesday, however, we knew.

Mona brought Josh through the door at 7 AM with his shirt soaking wet and smelling like

vomit. Not like spit-up from formula he had just had but stomach bile and rotten milk. I

immediately began the intervention. “It looks like he’s thrown up” I commented. “Has he

been sick this morning?”

“I think he just swallowed some mucus.” Mona replied “I cleaned his nose out with a

bulb syringe that’s in his bag, but I didn’t have a change of clothes in the car. If he gets

too bad just let me know” I nodded and went off to find clean clothes and a soapy rag as

she headed out the door.

All day long Josh spit back up everything we fed him. We syringed and wiped and

changed his clothes three times. We kept letting mom know that he wasn’t keeping food

down, and she kept promising to call the doctor and get him in. When she picked him up

at 4:30 I let her know that she would need to keep him upright and not on his back, and

that she would need to get a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible. I sent them out the

door expecting that I would not see Josh again on Wednesday.

6:40 A.M. on Wednesday there they were on my doorstep before I was even open for the

day. Mona smiled as she breezed in with baby Josh on her arm, green rivers of snot

running down to his chin. ”I totally forgot to tell you I had an early meeting this

morning” she gushed happily. “I’ll call you as soon as it’s over to see if I need to come

and get him.”

Now I was getting upset. “Mona, I can’t keep him if he continues to throw everything up.

I’m worried he’ll get dehydrated or choke when we’re turned away with another child.”

“Well dad is still out of town and I cannot miss this meeting. It’s for my new promotion.

Besides, he’s been doing much better. He hasn’t thrown up at all this morning and we’ve

been up for an hour. I’ll call you as soon as it’s over.” She sped out the door before I

could think of how to tell her no. And right then Josh threw up what looked like oatmeal

and bananas all over my shirt.

By noon my assistant and I were fed up. Josh had thrown up breakfast, morning snack

and the Pedialyte we gave him for lunch. I informed Mandy it was her turn to call. God

forbid I open my mouth or I was going to be rude. I could only hear one side of the

conversation but it was enough to know it wasn’t going well. “She said she has to go find

her manager and she’ll call us back.” was Mandy’s comment as she went to put mats up

for naptime.

An hour later still no call. Mandy called again. This time I could hear the argument. “We

really need for you to come and get him.” A pause and then “Mona he hasn’t held

anything down for us in 2 days…” another pause “He’s just too sick to be here.” I

watched as Mandy’s eyes glassed over and her face took on that red tint it gets when she

is about to nuke someone. Then all of a sudden she hung up.

“She said her manager is in a meeting and she can’t get to her right now and she’ll call

us back. Then she hung up on me”

I knew my blood pressure was probably through the roof by now. This wasn’t a person

whose business would close if she went home. Her company had several hundred

employees just in her division alone. I knew she had vacation and sick time available

because she had planned to take 2 weeks off in a month and had made the comment she

was glad she had saved her sick days. I made the comment to Mandy that I did not think

we would see Mona before quitting time no matter how many times we called. We

continued to keep Josh as comfortable as possible and waited.

When Josh’s normal pick up time of 4:30 PM came and went I grew more and more

angry. Finally at 5:30, Mona strolled through the door with a “Hey, Mama how’s your


“My day has been a lot better than your little one’s has. Did you have trouble getting off

work on time?” I wasn’t actually asking to be polite, but I shouldn’t have asked at all

because the answer just pissed me right off.

“No, I stayed and got some extra work done because the doctor can’t see him until 6. I

figured since I would have to come out here to get to the doctor’s I would just wait until it

was time to take him.”

I handed her the baby bag and made my first definitive statement. “He last threw up at

3:30, so he won’t be able to come back tomorrow because he has to be 24 hours free

from vomiting.” Pretty clear statement, right?

“Well, we’ll go see what the doctor has to say…. I’ll call you later.” She strolled to her

truck and had the nerve to wave as she backed out of the drive. So much for making clear


At that point I needed a break from everyone. I loaded up our daughter and told my

husband that if Mona called I expected him to hold firm, and under no circumstances

allow her to plan on bringing her child to daycare the next day. Mick assured me he

could handle it. I made it halfway to the grocery store and the cell phone rang.

“She’s already calling.” I resisted the urge to laugh. “She’s says that Dr. Waylan told

her it’s just a cold and he’s fine to return to daycare. I told her can’t come back until

Friday and she insisted she needs to speak with you because she knows other kids have

come sick and she doesn’t see why she should have to miss a day of work for a cold.”

The urge to laugh was replaced with the urge to jump from a tall building. “I told her

you would call her back but that you would have the same answer for her I did. Then she

informed me she was biting her tongue and hung up.”

It was two hours later when I decided I was ready to call Mona back. I got voice mail. I

politely informed her digital receptionist that although I just love Josh, I cannot give him

the care and attention he needs when he is that miserable. So as long as he didn’t throw

up on Thursday at home he would be welcome back on Friday. I let her know I was out

and therefore she would not be able to call me back and hung up.

Josh was back on Friday, still sick. My daughter and I spent our weekend with Mucus

running down our throat until we were throwing up. Mona got her 30 day notice on

Monday. The next week we had 5 more children become ill with what was diagnosed as

RSV, all because one woman didn’t want to use a vacation day.

Getting up to find your child ill on a day when you have to work is a major problem for

most parents. Some don’t have sick time or vacation because they are hourly employees.

Some parents work by themselves and if they take the day off there is no-one to keep the

business open. Then there are some who just don’t want to deal with a sick child. This is

one area however, where providers will put their foot down. Continue making our family

and other clients ill, and you will be gone.

There are ways you can avoid Mona’s fate. Every parent should have a plan for sick days.

If your child is in daycare, they will become ill more often than a child who is at home.

Even super-vigilant providers and centers can’t keep germs from spreading 100% of the

time. A great deal of childhood illnesses like chicken pox, are contagious before you even

know your child has them, making it impossible to keep them from spreading.

Discuss with your husband how you will handle days when your child is ill. If one of you

has a more flexible job, that parent can cover sick days most of the time. If only one of

you has vacation and sick days you really have no choice.

If you have grandparents or aunts and uncles who stay home, ask them if they would be

willing to pick your child up if you can’t in the event he becomes ill. You will have to

make sure they are listed on the forms you give your provider. You will also need to have

a plan for how they will get a car seat from you if they don’t have one.

Save some of your days off for these emergencies. If you use all of your days off for fun

and vacation you will be more likely to try and take your child to daycare sick because

you don’t want to lose the income.

Don’t cry wolf: If you don’t feel like going to work, don’t tell your boss your child is ill.

You don’t want to get in trouble when your child actually is ill for missing too much

work. Murphy’s Law says that if you play hooky today with the excuse of a sick child,

they will come down with the crud tomorrow.

It is a cardinal sin to take your child to daycare when you know for a fact they are ill. If

you have to give them Tylenol to break a fever, keep them home. If you are dosing them

with cold medicine in order to drop them off, understand that it will wear off. You may

get a half a day of work out of it but your provider will remember and you will not get

any flexibility in the future.

Be honest with your provider if you think your child is becoming ill. Calling your

provider and letting them know that your child has a runny nose that you think is teething

will go much further than giving them Benadryl and hoping the problem will go away.

This doesn’t mean that even if your child has a runny nose you are homebound. It simply

requires common sense on your part. Understanding some of the symptoms providers are

serious about can help you avoid problems.

1. Many parents immediately want to blame a fever on teething. Although teething can

sometimes cause a very low grade fever, if your child has a fever of 101* or higher, it

needs to be investigated because it is far more likely to be illness.

2. Vomiting is another rough one. Usually a provider will wait until your child vomits a

second time before requiring you come and get them. This ensures it isn’t from playing

too hard, eating too fast, crying excessively etc… There is no way to determine the cause

without a doctor.

3. Another big issue parents get upset about is being required to pick their child up for

diarrhea. It is important to talk to your provider about any medicines your child may take

that could cause diarrhea so that she will know your child is having a reaction as opposed

to an illness. If your child has more than 2 watery stools in 2 hours and they are not on

medication, they should not go to daycare.

4. Other reasons a child will be sent home include an unexplained rash, unidentifiable

sores or bumps, unusual behavior such as listlessness or indications of dehydration. These

are all conditions that require a doctor’s note before returning to care.

Childcare providers receive these guidelines from the State regulatory agency and from

their local childcare training offices. They don’t enforce them to be mean or to single

anyone out. If you are concerned your child is being sent home far too often and for no

good reason, here are some questions to ask about an illness policy.

   1. If my child has an illness that is not contagious, such as an ear infection, will they

       be able to attend childcare? Do I need a doctor’s note?

   2. If I bring a copy of the list of side effects for my child’s medication and diarrhea

       is on it, will they be allowed to stay as long as they have no other symptoms?

   3. If my child has a common cold, at what point will he need to be picked up? (some

       providers will tell you if his mucus is green instead of clear, some draw the line at


Don’t be angry at a provider who demands a note from the doctor stating that your child’s

illness is not contagious. Providers have had a long history of bad luck with parents who

call and say “the doctor said…..” and then feed them a load of bologna. Providers have to

worry about the greater good. Sending one child home to keep ten healthy is the

responsible thing to do.

Always obey the 24 hour rule. An illness can be contagious for up to 24 hours after

vomiting, diarrhea and fever disappear. We rely on parents to be honest about when a

child stops throwing up or when their fever breaks without the help of Tylenol. If your

child’s fever breaks at nine at night, seven the next morning is not soon enough to put

your child in a room with other children.

After your child is feeling better and you plan on returning to daycare it is important to

sanitize things that will be going with your child. The following are a list of items and

how to make sure they aren’t germ carriers.

   A. Blankets, car seat covers and jackets should be washed and dried in a hot dryer.

   B. High chair and Bouncy seat covers, as well as swing covers must be washed

       immediately. The frames and plastic seat should be wiped down with bleach

       solution used for hard toys.

   C. Sanitize your child’s crib by hand wiping every rail down with alcohol wipes or

       Bleach solution. Wipe down the mattress and wash and dry all the bedding on hot.

   D. Stuffed animals should be placed in the dryer on high heat for one hour

   E. Bottles and pacifiers should be washed in a dishwasher with heated dry or rinsed

       with bleach water (2 Tsp. bleach to 1 Gallon hot water) if washed in the sink.

       Don’t forget to clean the pacifier holder that clips to your child’s shirt.

   F. Hard toys and rattles should be sprayed with 1 tsp. bleach to 1 Qt. Hot Water

       solution and then dried or steamed with a high pressure steamer. They can also be

       washed in the dishwasher with heated dry.

   G. Bulb syringes should be cleaned by sucking up hot water and blowing it out

       several times, then sucking up hydrogen peroxide and letting it sit for 10 minutes

       before blowing it out. Then do hot water one more time to rinse.

   H. Thermometers should be wiped with an alcohol wipe.

   I. Wipe down the plastic on the car carrier with hand sanitizer or alcohol.

   J. Wash down your changing table with soapy water, dry and then spray with the

       same bleach water used for toys. Let the bleach solution sit for at least 2 minutes

       before drying.

   K. Wipe down your baby bag, to include the inside with bleach solution.

   L. Sanitize combs, brushes and toothbrushes. These can go in the dishwasher or be

       cleaned with a steamer.

   M. If it is winter, make sure you wash the coat, mittens, scarf and hat.

   N. If you use a Pac-n-play or super-yard, sanitize it before re-using.

These are great practices for any time your child is ill. They take about 2 hours which is

time well spent.

When you take your child to the doctor, write down exactly what the name is for what

your child has. Ask the following questions so that you are educated and can talk with

your provider.

   1. Is this contagious?

   2. How is it spread?

   3. How long will my child be sick?

   4. When can my child return to daycare without infecting others?

Take your pediatrician’s advice seriously. Doctor’s don’t want to tell parents they have to

miss work so if they tell you your child should stay home they are serious about it.

Be sure when you do return to childcare you bring your child’s medicine in the original

container, with their name and the instructions on it. This is the law in most states. In

addition, if your doctor wants your child on an over the counter medicine – have him

write instructions for your childcare provider. Otherwise she is breaking the law giving

non-prescribed medicine to your child.

As long as you have a strong plan for your child’s sick days and are receptive to working

with your provider to keep all of the children in her care safe, she will appreciate your

efforts and work with you as much as she can. Just remember how it feels when you are

caring for one sick child and appreciate that adding 11 more would be impossible for

even a saint.

Expanded Table of Contents

Part 1: Making an informed decision

                        Chapter 1: The Primary Caretaker

Today, over 20 million children are in some kind of child care, whether it’s in a daycare

center, at home daycare, with a nanny, au pair, or family member. But regardless of

whom it is that person isn’t you and you can never really know who they are or what

they’re doing with your child all day. All you can do is assess what you need, do your

research, and work your hardest to build a relationship with this person who is now so

intimately involved in your family’s life. If not, all you can do is hope against hope that

what happened to Janie S. never happens to you.

       Her 18-month-old blue-eyed, brown-haired daughter is dead because she didn’t

check into her daycare provider’s household. Because she didn’t check the public court

records that would have shown the live-in boyfriend’s drug record. Because she assumed

Department of Human Services had looked into everyone in the household’s records. But

they had not, and by the time they did it was too late to save her child’s life.

       As it turns out, the provider’s boyfriend was dealing. One morning he left some

on the counter. Ainsley must have thought it was the powdered sugar she loved on her

donuts and French toast. It wasn’t. An hour later Janie’s daughter was in the emergency

room and two hours later she was dead. Janie and her husband didn’t even get a chance to

hold Ainsley or tell her they loved her. Instead, a worker from Department of Human

Services Child Protective Division was confronting them, asking if they used drugs. She

wanted to know how their child got a hold of Methamphetamine.

       Janie won’t get a second chance to get it right. But with all the research and

resources available, other families can. And I intend to help them. As a former nanny, a

mother of eight, and a daycare provider veteran of 25+ years, I want to help parents

decide on the best possible person to raise your child with you. Often these decisions are

made at the last minute, with so little information; it can feel like an arranged marriage.

       In the first chapter, I will help parents assess their own lives and the questions

they need to ask of themselves to make the choice that is best for your child and your

family. Ideally parents should start this process five months before a child is born and

interview at least 10 different providers. But that only holds true for a newborn. Clearly if

your child is already in some kind of care, and it isn’t working out, you need to make a

switch, and you won’t have the luxury of time.

                  Chapter 2: Choosing your child’s Co-parent

Now that you’ve analyzed your own needs, I go into more depth so you can decide what

kind of childcare is the right fit. What are the costs associated with each choice? What are

the pros and cons of the options? What is really important to you? If you want multiple

adults keeping an eye on your child during the day, then a Center is probably right for

you. If you care more about continuity, a registered home is a better pick because your

baby will have one provider for the long term. With a nanny you have the security of

knowing your child will be in the safety of your home, where you control the

environment, but you’ll pay for that security.

       There are some very important specific questions to ask anyone you are hiring to

watch your child. There are also very specific ways of asking these questions to make

sure you get the most honest answers. The questions differ a little from nanny to in-home

to center, but some of the questions are the same for everyone. Just a few of the things

you need to know: if your provider has a criminal past, a history of tickets for not having

car insurance, or if they believe in corporal punishment. No matter how many questions

you ask up front there are going to be topics that come up that are unanticipated. For

example, a very small miscommunication can become a very big deal….

My son Nicolais is an avid reader. I have never been able to limit his reading. I would

buy books I thought he would like and I would catch him reading my thrillers. I would

leave my magazines down and he would bring me the latest information on organizing

the kitchen (thinking I wanted to be organized).

Being a Mormon household, we don’t keep inappropriate materials around. We do

however have 8 kids and 4 of them are over the age of 14. Since we don’t home school or

lock them in the closet I assume they are exposed to things they shouldn’t be. I was sure

however, that my young children were not being exposed to nudity of any kind.

Confident in my supervisory capacity, I was unprepared for the angry phone call I

received from Amy K. at seven on a Thursday night.

“I am truly concerned” Amy began “about Alan and Cindy and what they are being

exposed to at your house.” She continued “Your seven year old is a little porn king!”

I was immediately offended and upset. “I have no idea what you are talking about” I

argued. “My son doesn’t have access to any of that kind of material and I am sure you

are misinformed.”

“I am not misinformed and I feel that I need to give my notice. Alan told me that Nico

showed him pictures of boobies while they were playing in his room today. I just want to

know, are you even watching these kids?”

I was off the couch and headed for my son’s room before she even finished her sentence.

When I got there my son was on the floor building with his brother. “Matthew, leave the

room so I can speak with Nico” I barked. Normally I would get an argument but he

seemed to sense my anxiety. He headed out the door and I confronted my then 8 year old,

who was looking at me with a look that clearly shouted ‘I have no clue what I did’.

“Nicolais Alexander Mulhern, Have you been showing pictures of naked women to Alan

or any of the other children?” At this point I wasn’t even sure I wanted an answer. My

eyes were scanning the room looking for copies of Penthouse or Playboy just laying out

for the world to see.

“Are you crazy mom?” Nico still looked puzzled and upset “I don’t have naked pictures”

Amy was already arguing, obviously able to hear the other side of my conversation with

my son. “Alex said it’s in a brown book and he has it hidden under his bed.” Now I was

in a panic. How would she know Nico kept his books in a plastic box under his bed so

that he could read at bedtime?

I rushed over and grabbed the tote from under the bed. Without even realizing I was

holding my breath I began searching for anything that looked menacing. The books were

all the ones from the library and the books I had bought him over the years. I spied a

brown cover and dug to get at it. It was an encyclopedia. I looked at Nico and held it up.

My son’s face lit with understanding. He began laughing. I was still completely upset and

confused. I asked Amy if the book had gold writing on it. She conferred with Alex and

replied that it did.

By now Nico had opened the encyclopedia and was pointing to a picture. It was an

illustration of the Sphinx. Not being a big follower of all things Egyptian, I didn’t even

know the Sphinx had boobies. But there they were and I must say she was very well


Now I was laughing. Amy was on the other end of the phone still going on about how she

trusted me to watch her children and that she should contact social services.

“If you’ll give me a minute” I giggled, “I can explain.” I told her what book it was, and

what the picture was of. I then put Nico on the phone and he explained that Alan was

asking about the pyramids because of a book Nico read him about Egypt (my son even

loves to read to the daycare kids, which is awesome for me!). He pulled the book about

Egypt from his tote and I read the title to Amy.

Nico apologized to Amy if he showed Alan anything he shouldn’t have. I then got back on

the phone.

“I am sorry if you are upset Amy” I began. I then heard Amy giggling in the background.

It was a few moments before either one of us could talk.

“I’m sorry Terri” she began.

I cut her off before she could go any further.“ I probably would have been just as upset.”

I assured her. “I don’t know if I would have called your child a porn king, but I would

not have been happy. I do have a proposal for you though. If you promise not to believe

everything Alan says happens at daycare, I promise not to believe everything he says

happens at home.”

                  Chapter 3: Your expectations of childcare:

       About the time I was pregnant with my 8th child I got a new family with a little boy

named Samuel. Samuel was adorable, with big eyes and an infectious smile. He was also

the most curious child on the face of the earth. Samuel loved to pull outlet covers out of

outlets, and sneak up the stairs whenever the gate wasn’t up. He would bang on the front

of the new big screen TV with the wooden spoon in the kitchen cabinet he rifled through.

On most days it was amusing to watch. Some days it was more than 3 adults could take.

         When I interviewed with Samuels parents it was clear to me that mom wanted to

stay home, and that no daycare was going to be good enough. She eagle-eyed my entire

house and wanted to know how many minutes at a time her child would be in any kind of

restraint. Her theory was that if he was put in a saucer or Pac-n-play for more than 50

nanoseconds, his brain would turn to mush and he would be behind developmentally.

This was something she just could not have!

         I was completely shocked when they hired me a day later and came and paid their

deposit. By the time Samuel started I had received 5 emails from mom with instructions

for his first day. The first week was surprise visits everyday to check and make sure that

their child wasn’t tied to the chair. The second week there were announced visits because

they were going to be in the area (not). Things settled into a nice rhythm until the day I

placed Samuel in a swing to change some babies with dirty diapers. Low and behold

mom showed up early and the S*^# hit the fan.

         I knew from the look on her face that mom was struggling not to say anything. She

took Samuel and went out the door. I watched casually as she got in her car and

immediately began talking on her cell phone to someone I assume must have been her

husband. Twenty minutes later there was an email in my inbox from dad’s work. It


         I always hope parents have enough common sense to understand that there are

some expectations which are unreasonable when dealing with childcare. While a nanny

can take your child to speech therapy, a daycare center cannot. I never cease to be

amazed at how much parents think can be done in a day while watching 8 children.

You need to be frank with your provider up front about what you expect. Topics such as

holding, TV, and punishment need to be agreed upon by both of you in order for things to


        Chapter 4 -When standard options cannot meet your needs:

Maybe you are someone who works nights and want your child to be tucked into their

own bed. Perhaps you have a child with a serious illness or behavior disorder. There are a

large number of families who need special accommodations during the daycare week. It

is possible to find alternatives that can meet your needs.

Perhaps you can rely on family to help on the 2 days a week you work 2nd shift. Or you

can hire a part-time mother’s helper from the neighborhood and give a reliable teenager a

great job. The options are listed and ideas for finding non-traditional help are explored.

Harry is an adorable little boy. After watching him for a year, by accident it was

discovered he has a deadly allergy to nuts. Although I have always been very careful

about precautions when it comes to allergies, I understood her need to make changes that

included Harry being at home where she could control all of the food items coming in.

After all, her fiancé (Harry’s father) had died suddenly not long before that, leaving her

aware of how suddenly a tragedy can happen.

                  Chapter 5-When someone else pays the bill:

Fortunately for families who truly need it there are daycare assistance funds available.

Unfortunately working with daycare assistance can be confusing and time consuming. If

you don’t do the paperwork right and supply the needed documents on time your provider

can end up without a paycheck.

I loved watching the Jensen kids. Four very bright children they made my day full and

exciting. Although they were on daycare assistance, I was OK with $125 per week per

child because they were well behaved and left before 5 PM, which left me with fewer kids

to handle while making dinner. It usually takes at least 2 months before getting paid for

the first time for a state client, because you can only bill at the end of the month and it

can take up to 45 days for the state to issue a check. I was so looking forward to spending

the $3800 the State of Iowa owed me. Instead of a check however, I got a notice that their

daycare bill would not be paid……

There are no ends of problems that can arise with daycare assistance. The workload on

state and county workers is enormous. Because of the huge number of families on

assistance, each worker has hundreds of clients. In order to make sure your file stays

approved and your provider gets paid on time there are five steps you have to follow that

are covered in this chapter. When a problem arises, you will need to handle it

immediately with both your provider and your assistance worker.

        Chapter 6 -You’ve made your choice - Now do the research:

After you weed out the crazies, the lazies and the lack a daisies, it is time to find out more

about the final choice you have made. You absolutely want to know certain things, like

whether or not anyone in their household has a criminal record. Although you have asked

questions during the interview, remember that everyone is putting their best foot forward.

The provider you are asking may not feel her DUI is your concern if she isn’t driving

with your child in the car. She may not know her live-in boyfriend has an arrest for drugs

or is on the sex offender registry.

In addition you will want to know if your provider likes what she does. There are ways to

tell if her career choice is the right one. You can ask certain questions when you call

references that will tell you if the person on the other end of the phone is a buddy or an

actual parent who uses this provider or nanny and is not just happy but thrilled with their


I always knew there were other providers who didn’t do the best job. I was aware that

there are providers out there that just do the bare minimum in order to keep the families

they have. I did not realize how big of a problem there was in my city with providers who

were guilty of neglect and abuse until my phone started ringing off the hook when several

providers in my own neighborhood began being arrested. First was the provider who was

watching over 20 children in a house with 900 square feet, while only being licensed to

watch 6. Next was the provider leaving children sleeping alone and running errands

during naptime. And then there was the nut who was arrested for fracturing a baby’s

skull and killing him. All leaving clients unable to go to work and afraid to hire someone


      Chapter 7 - Choosing to hire in-house – The Nanny or Au Pair:

For some families, keeping the children at home in their own environment is a perk worth

paying for. For some, because of odd work hours or an inability to find a provider who

meets their needs, a nanny or Au Pair is a necessity. A nanny can be hired through word

of mouth, advertising or an agency. An Au Pair is hired through an official Au pair

organization. It is always wise to find out from the agency how well they do with

placements. Ask for references for the agent and check with families they have found

nannies for.

Before you even interview your first candidate, it is necessary to make up an imaginary

list of what you want in a candidate and what you want for them to be able to do. Do you

want them to cook for your children or just make sandwiches? Make a list of

responsibilities, job perks and pay scales. List qualifications you are looking for, such as

a degree in child development or being bilingual in another language.

Lanie was a fabulous employee for the most part. She did everything asked without

complaining and genuinely seemed to care for the kids. She would take them to

preschool, speech therapy and the doctor when necessary. Although she had use of our

van at any time, she chose to drive her own car. When she first got hired we found out

she had a ticket she was paying off for not having insurance. She assured us she had

found new car insurance after we offered to put her on our insurance, because we needed

her to be covered in case she had an accident while our children were in the car. We

should have asked to see the policy, because about 9 weeks later she backed into the side

of my husband’s dodge avenger and did about three grand in damages. The look on her

face as she came in to tell me said it all……

                     Chapter 8 - Oh that pesky paperwork:

No matter what kind of daycare you choose there will be lots of paperwork involved. If

you choose to hire a nanny or Au Pair there will be even more red tape, because you will

have your agreements with the agent and your new employee, as well as the IRS. If you

hire a center there will be financial agreement and enrollment papers. Choosing a

registered in-home provider means filling out paperwork for your provider and the food

program if she is on it.

There are certain pieces of paper that are crucial no matter who cares for your child. Even

if you leave your child with their grandma or a teenage sitter there should be an

emergency medical authorization form and copies of your driver’s license and insurance

cards. You do not want the person watching your child to have any trouble getting

medical care for your child if something happens.

As opposed to a story, this chapter contains sample paperwork for every kind of daycare


    Chapter 9 - Understanding your provider’s legal responsibilities:

Your childcare provider’s first obligation has got to be to your child. That said, there are

some areas where legal issues come into play. For example, what would happen if a

parent showed up to get their child under the influence? Can a provider legally refuse to

hand your child over to you if you forgot the car seat? What are the legal implications for

her if she lets you take your child during a tornado warning and your child is killed right

in her front yard? And if you give that child to an intoxicated parent, how will DHS view

your actions when there is an accident and the ex-husband sues you for handing over his

kids to a drunk?

It was about two hours after Cindy had arranged to be picking up her children. I had

agreed to watch them while she entertained a client after work. It never occurred to me it

would be a cocktail hour meeting, or that she would have several whiskey and cokes

before driving the 30 miles from the town she worked to my house in the small town we

lived in. She strolled through my front door, reeking of cheap malt and cigarettes. If the

smell hadn’t given her away her fumbling with the children’s coats and bags would have.

I began with offering her a cup of coffee. She giggled and made a remark about getting

home in time for CSI. Frantically I tried to come up with any excuse not to let her out the


Parents as a rule try not to think of the worst case scenario. Insurance companies and

state regulatory agencies are exactly the opposite. In this section we deal with a number

of legal issues and how to talk to your provider about them. We will also discuss what it

means to be a mandatory reporter.

Part Two: Getting into “Reality vs. Practicality”

                   Chapter 10 - Helping your child transition:

If you have ever watched someone dragging their child kicking and screaming into

someone else’s house at 7:30 in the morning, you’ve probably been witness to a daycare

drop and run. This is where a frustrated parent rushes their child to get ready and throws

them through the door of their daycare provider with threats, promises and apologies in

an effort to make it to work in time for the morning staff meeting. Parents will try

anything to avoid tears. Some will stand there while their child whines for one more hug

ten times. Some will promise candy on the way home every night, only to show up at

night and claim they forgot to buy any. There are even those who remember the candy,

bring it in and make a big production out of handing it to their child right in front of the

other kids, which creates instant havoc for the poor provider. This creates an even bigger

fit the next day because the child either knows the promise of starburst is an empty one,

or knows they can repeat this little performance every day if it works for candy.

I truly felt sorry for Ann every morning. She would drag her son Alex across my lawn

flailing like a dying fish and screaming loud enough that the neighbors were peering

through their curtains to see if someone was being murdered. After dragging him through

the door, he would fall onto the ceramic tile in my entryway sobbing as if she had taken

his favorite toy and smashed it. There would be begging and promises on her part that

she would come early, which never happened because in her job as a project manager,

getting off early didn’t even happen on Christmas Eve. Even Alex was smart enough to

know that arriving at my house meant 11 hours before seeing mom again. It might as well

have been an orphanage in his tiny mind. The crazy part was trying to figure out why

dad, who only worked from 10-3, didn’t bring Alex later or pick him up when he got off.

Alex was in daycare 6 hours more than one of his parents was at work. I decided this was

cause for drastic action on my part….

There is a way to transition your child into daycare. Children are far more intelligent than

anyone gives them credit for. Even at age 2 there are ways to explain daycare to your

child. It begins with explaining to, and maybe even showing your child where you go

every day. If your child knows where you are and can tell when you will be back it takes

the mystery out of your disappearing out the door.

             Chapter 11 - Your responsibilities to your provider:

When I ask a parent what their responsibilities are to their daycare, they always tell me

the same 3 things. They know they need to pay their bill. They know they need to bring

supplies for their child such as formula or diapers. They acknowledge they need to try to

be on time every day. There is so much more to it than that.

One of the most important responsibilities you have to your provider is to supply them

with the right paperwork in a timely fashion. Did you know that if the state comes to

inspect your provider, and you have not yet gotten your child’s shot records to her, she

could lose her license for not having the required records for all the children? Did you

know that if you are a parent with custody of your children and your ex is not allowed to

have them, your provider must have a copy of the court order in order to refuse to hand

them over to him? We will explore all of the areas of responsibility when it comes to

leaving your provider prepared.

Today I tried to ask mom for Dillon’s shot records one more time. I know she has had a

lot on her plate but does she get it? It’s been three months. First she claimed she would

have to find them in the boxes after the move. Then she claimed she was scheduled for

check-ups with the kids and she would get the physicals and shot records while she was

there so that they would be up to date. Then she apologized for forgetting to ask the

doctor for copies. My follow up inspection is tomorrow. If he shows up and the kids are

here but they still don’t have records I will be toast. I will have to let her know the

children can’t be here tomorrow unless those records come with them. Man is she going

to be pissed! Does she think I want to harass her constantly?

Providers answer to more than one organization. The Department of Human Services has

inspection procedures for in-home and centers. Their visits are usually unannounced and

include checking all of the children’s folders for current forms, physicals and

immunizations. They also check the folders which show that the household pets are up to

date on checks and shots, and that birds are from a store. The food program checks up on

the food being served, the records being kept for the food program and the cleanliness of

the food prep area, as well as the cleanliness and temperature of the fridge. A provider

will not get paid for a child that does not have their paperwork turned in. The third

agency who stops by is Child Care Resource and Referral, whose visits are announced.

They are there to help the provider with grants and advice, but they are charged with

contacting DHS with any abnormalities. Providers have to have all their paperwork in

order to pass these inspections and get paid.

                   Chapter 12 - Building a trust relationship:

When your new caregiver begins watching your children, you probably won’t know

much about them. You won’t know their favorite color, their hopes and dreams or their

bad habits. More importantly, you won’t know their parenting style. It is crucial that you

choose a provider that is like you in parenting style. If you are a sixty’s style crunchy

parent who uses cloth diapers and wants organic food for your child and your provider is

a militant structure buff/ germ freak, the two of you will get along about as well as two

male beta fish (you know, the pretty ones that live in little cups and look friendly but kill

each other when put together?) in one tank. In other words, bad choice!

No provider is going to do everything just the way you like it. There are however a list of

things that you can do to make things go smoothly. In the beginning it is important to talk

with your provider up front about things you feel strongly about. Here are a few of the

things you need to discuss up front and be willing to negotiate. Along with each item are

hints on ways to help your provider to accommodate your needs.

On the surface Max seems to be a loving father. He will coo and fuss in front of us every

morning as he drops his daughter off. Every morning including Thursdays, when he

shows up pretending he is kissing her goodbye for a long day at the grindstone. Then he

turns around and goes home. You see, Max doesn’t work on Thursdays. His daughter

however, still ends up sharing toys and time with us for the same 11 hours she is here

when he does work. He doesn’t pick her up even 15 minutes early. In the meantime his

daughter is showing signs of anxiety that have us concerned. It started with sucking on

her thumb and progressed to pulling her hair out by the handfuls…..

                 Chapter 13 - Addressing concerns about care:

No matter what setting your child is in, you need to be willing to address concerns as they

come up. This is especially important for any family hiring a nanny. If your child is

running and hiding every morning when the nanny arrives, it is time to have a talk. If

your child is coming home from the center with the mouth of a 45 year old sailor, you

will want to have a meeting with the teacher.

It is never a good idea to go in guns blazing before you find the enemy. It may not be the

teacher who is using the F word. It may be little Ashley who hears it at home. Keeping an

open mind and a calm demeanor is important. Even more important: trusting your gut. If

your gut tells you that something is going on with your child in daycare, you should take

steps immediately. If there are any signs that your child is in any kind of danger, even

through carelessness or neglect, it is time to stop taking your child until the problem is

resolved or you can find new daycare. The problems may not be your provider’s fault,

but it makes no difference.

The Johansson’s had complete faith in Maris. She was a fantastic nanny. About 2 years

after starting to work for them, they noticed their daughter did not want them to leave in

the morning. They also noticed that Maris would show up to work with red rimmed eyes

from crying. When they tried to ask her about the problem she would blame a headache

or a friend who was having a hard time. Then their daughter started talking about the

phone calls that Maris would answer and the angry man who would follow them on their

walks to the park. Sarah Johansson decided it was time to find out what was going on

while she was at work. She left home for work one morning, and called her office. Sarah

told her secretary that if anyone called she was in a meeting, but that she would not be in.

Instead, she sat in her car at the corner and waited to follow her nanny and her daughter.

It wasn’t long before she noticed someone else was also waiting……

                    Chapter 14 - Discipline that carries over:

There will be days when it seems like your child is an angel at daycare and a demon at

home. You may notice that the nanny seems to be able to get your child to eat anything

while you can only get her to eat Mac-n-cheese or hotdogs. Or you could end up with the

opposite problem. Your nanny or daycare provider may complain to you about having

problems with your child that you never experience at home. There is only one solution

to this problem. The strong disciplinarian must help the weak one survive.

The key to a child that minds both caretakers is to have the caretakers following the same

manual. Punishment and consequences have to be the same no matter who is in charge.

Whether at home or daycare, your child should know that biting equals a toy being taken

away, and hitting equals a time-out. There can be no undermining of one provider by the

other. Most importantly, everyone needs equal consequences. If your child should hit

another child, no matter whether your child hit first or second, the punishment for hitting

has to be the same or no-one will learn.

Brock loves to hit. Because he is not very verbal, the first reaction he has to another child

he is angry at or wants a toy from is to clock them. He goes straight for the head and face

and is unafraid of using the nearest toy as a weapon. So this morning after the third

episode of hitting, I decided to call mom and figure out a game plan. “Brock is having a

hard time keeping his hands to himself” I begin “and I need for us to figure out how to

discourage the behavior”. Immediately mom got defensive and the onslaught began…..

                          Chapter 15 - Daycare Etiquette:

In order to be effective, the relationship between a parent and their child’s caregiver has

to be a close one. Just like any other relationship there are courtesies that are important

and occasions that should be observed. Appreciation must be shown for a provider who is

caring and reliable. A salary is nice, but it is the little extra recognition that makes a

provider feel like part of the family, as opposed to just an employee performing a

common service.

Take for example, when to give your caregiver gifts. Your provider should receive gifts

on her birthday, Christmas if you observe it and on the anniversary of her coming into

your family every year. They don’t have to be expensive or large, but they should be well

thought out just as if you were buying for your sister or friend.

Next is the issue of bonuses. If she is doing a great job and meeting or exceeding your

expectations, your provider should get an employee/caregiver review and a bonus either

once or twice per year. Bonus time is a great opportunity for training and growth because

at the same time you are rewarding her for her hard work, you can let her know the things

you would like to see improved. A check for $100 makes a few criticisms and

suggestions much easier to take.

Cati’s mom is super sweet. She is always prompt to pick up her child and is a very

responsible daycare parent. Last Christmas she arrived to pick up her child just as

Bree’s mom was dropping off my Christmas bonus. I try to be discreet about receiving

bonuses, and open them later because I do not want my parents to feel bad if they can’t

afford as much as another parent can. Bree’s mom, however, is an individual who has to

make everything public. So Cati’s mom had to hear all about the $300 in the envelope,

and how they always felt that I should be rewarded for working so hard The next morning

Cati’s mom came through the door with a case of Huggies and a case of Wipes. “My

husband doesn’t believe in giving a babysitter bonus” she explained. “But I thought I

could at least bring you a supply of diapers and wipes.” I thanked her for the supplies

and she left for work. All morning my brain was working overtime delving into the

meaning of her comments…….

                Chapter 16 - Dealing with an X and a provider:

For those of you who are divorced first let me say how proud I am of those of you who

are truly trying to make a stable life for your children, without dragging them into the

muck. If you are sharing a provider and not using separate babysitters you have made an

important decision to give your child continuity of care. The other way you can make

sure that your child isn’t in the middle is by not putting your provider there either. There

are some very important points to be made about working out differences without your

provider having to choose sides or change care based on which parent is currently in


For example, if you are responsible for splitting the childcare bill, here’s what should

never happen. If it is your turn to pay the bill, your ex should not have to apologize to the

provider for your not paying. If your spouse was due to pay and hasn’t, you should pay

your provider and collect from your X. You don’t want to lose great daycare over

responsibility disputes. The best possible solution to this problem is to sit down at the

beginning of each month and each write a check for the weeks that are your responsibility

that month. You can mark on a calendar with initials so that even in a month with 5

weeks you know whose turn it is. By paying your bill up front each month, your provider

does not have to keep track.

I always feel sorry for single parents. I try to help whenever I can. But after 5 weeks of

Isaac’s mom paying late and blaming dad for not dropping off child support I had gotten

tired of her passing the buck. In an effort to eliminate the problem, I wrote this short

letter and addressed and mailed it to each parent separately…….

Part Three: Dealing with problems

                  Chapter 17 - It’s the little things that count:

You may be the parent we talk about every night and shake our heads. You might be the

one we laugh at every morning as you rush out our door an hour late for work as usual.

Or maybe you are the one who drives us crazy calling 10 times a day, not to discuss your

child, but to chat about how your day is going and how mad you are at your in-laws.

If you ever wonder about what childcare providers complain about, it’s the little things.

It’s the parents who never bring shoes for their child, making it impossible to go for a

walk. It’s the parent who always shows up an hour early to drop their child off in the

morning, interrupting our shower and our morning cup of coffee.

More than anything we get upset about the little comments made that imply that we

spend our days lounging on the couch while all the children run amok. If only parents

understood that watching eight children is very different from watching one or two. It

requires organization and careful planning to manage things like meals, naptime and arts

and crafts for children of different ages. There are several phrases and habits that make us

crazy as providers. Here they are along with how they are perceived….

“You are so lucky you don’t have to have a real job” – The parent silly enough to say

this obviously hasn’t ever done my job.

“I have Tuesday off, but I am going to bring her anyway so that I can get my house clean.

I can’t get anything done with her around.” – Just exactly how does this parent think I

get my house clean, especially when I clean up with my children and hers at home?

“Could you stop letting her have a nap? I can’t get her to go to bed at night…….

                  Chapter 18 - When the first problem arises:

Nine times out of ten, the first problem that comes up in daycare is the last. Not because

things get worked out but because the parent writes it off as a total loss and moves on to

the next provider where they have the next first mishap. This chapter is about the first

mishap. It covers how to talk with your provider honestly about what happened, and how

to put it behind you. More often than not, the first thing that goes wrong leaves feelings

that build, and causes an overreaction to subsequent problems.

       Handling when your child bites another child and draws blood is traumatic.

Working out how you feel when your child gets called butt face by a bigger kid with a

potty mouth is hard work. It is always a parent’s first reaction to defend their child and

lay blame wherever they can. Sometimes the provider is blamed for a perceived lack of

supervision. Sometimes the other child’s parents are blamed for being idiots and not

teaching their child not to bite at age 2 (right). By following the ten step program in this

chapter everyone can come out the winner. The problem can even be something as simple

as a parent disagreeing with what their child is fed at daycare.

Sometimes a parent can’t wait for their child to grow up. They push for every milestone,

instead of cherishing the baby moments that will soon be gone. Jason’s mom was

determined he was ready for table food and milk the moment he could swallow rice

cereal. Every day she would bring a list of all the foods she had shoveled in the night

before. By five months he had eaten every kind of food and she was ready to switch him

to cow’s milk, despite the fact he constantly spit up from stomach upset. Although she had

requested I feed him all kinds of foods, I was on the food program, which has strict

guidelines. In addition, I am a firm believer that foods should be started at six months

and introduced gradually. Milk should never be introduced before 12 months. When I

politely explained that I would not be able to start her child on milk until 12 months and

that she would have to continue bringing formula, mom went crazy……

                   Chapter 19 - A Backup plan for sick days:

What do you do on those days you wake up and your child is running a temp of 101˚? Do

you cancel your big meeting for the million dollar account? Can your husband miss work

even though he just got this job? Maybe you can drop little Mikey off long enough to go

to your meeting and then pick him back up. There’s no harm in that, right? Wrong.

       This chapter covers what to do when your child becomes ill and cannot attend

childcare. Also covers how to prevent your child from cycling illness over and over

again. Includes a list of symptoms that indicate your child is contagious and what

questions to ask the doctor if your child attends daycare.

We are crazy about baby Josh. At 8 months of age and 23 pounds he is a happy little

bowl of Jell-O. Always getting into everything and just about ready to walk, he lights up

our morning. His mom on the other hand, sends lightning bolts of fury up our backsides.

Mona is one of those moms we were talking about with the one sided equation. Not only

does she only see her side of the argument, she is amazed when you don’t.

Monday is always a hectic day. With the seasons changing there are a few runny noses

here and there. So when Josh came with a runny nose we weren’t surprised. We were a

little worried that he took 2 three hour naps. We chalked it up to the rainy day outside.

On Tuesday, however, we knew.

Mona brought Josh through the door at 7 AM with his shirt soaking wet and smelling like

vomit. Not like spit-up from formula he had just had but stomach bile and rotten milk. I

immediately began the intervention. “It looks like he’s thrown up” I commented. “Has he

been sick this morning?”

“I think he just swallowed some mucus.” Mona replied “I cleaned his nose out with a

bulb syringe that’s in his bag, but I didn’t have a change of clothes in the car. If he gets

too bad just let me know” I nodded and went off to find clean clothes and a soapy rag as

she headed out the door.

All day long Josh spit back up everything we fed him. We syringed and wiped and

changed his clothes three times. We kept letting mom know that he wasn’t keeping food

down, and she kept promising to call the doctor and get him in. When she picked him up

at 4:30 I let her know that she would need to keep him upright and not on his back, and

that she would need to get a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible. I sent them out the

door expecting that I would not see Josh again on Wednesday.6:40 A.M. on Wednesday

there they were on my doorstep before I was even open…….

                   Chapter 20 - When your co-parent is sick:

You wake up to a call from your nanny. She tells you she has been in the hospital all

night, and they are going to admit her. She has a kidney stone and she will be unable to

care for your child for at least 2 days. What do you do?

       When you arrive at daycare, you notice that your provider is coughing

continuously. You can tell just by looking at her she has a fever. Do you leave your

child? This chapter is about what to do when the person who cares for your child is out

of commission. Topics include back-up childcare, friends and relatives and sharing days

off with your spouse.

Roman’s parents are set when it comes to handling sick days. They have a simple system.

The first day their provider is ill, One of them takes off work. The second day, the other

parent takes a sick day. Starting on the third day, they begin splitting days in half. Mom

goes in 2 hours early and works until noon. Dad goes into work at 12:30 and stays 2

hours late. These arrangements were worked out with their employers before Roman was

ever born. Their willingness to keep their child home when their provider is ill results in

their child staying illness free while other children are exposed to the babysitter’s


          Chapter 21 - Handling Emergencies with your provider:

No parent wants to imagine that something bad could happen in daycare. Most providers

don’t have a complete plan for all the possible disasters. There should be a concrete plan

in action for the most common problems that can come up. There should be a plan for

fire, a plan for tornados or earthquakes (depending on where you live) and a plan for gas,

carbon monoxide and electrical emergencies. There should be a plan for unwelcome

visitors and a plan for what happens when a child is ill or injured and has to be

transported to medical care. There should also be a plan created with each family for

what do if you fail to pick up your child for any reason.

The most important factor in any emergency plan is communication. Your provider

should always have current numbers for mom, dad and as many other emergency contacts

as possible.

       Chapter 22 - When your provider’s problems become yours:

       Has your provider got too much drama? Are the police always at her house? Is

DHS calling you asking questions? Here’s how to extricate yourself from the drama

without offending. Also discusses in-house employees and the effect that their problems

can have on your household and your child.

       Jerri is a fantastic provider, when she can actually work. Jerri’s son is a 14 year

old with behavior and mental disorders and being a single mom there is no-one who can

support Jerri while dealing with the fallout. Last month alone she took 4 personal days

for juvenile court hearings and meetings with a probation officer in an attempt to keep

her son out of detention. Marcus has stolen from her daycare parent’s cars and purses

and has even been arrested in front of the daycare children. Although her clients love

her, there is an argument to be made that the care their children are getting is being

compromised by the drama going on in her household every day.

               Chapter 23 - When it’s time to think about leaving:

       Has your child become a totally different kid, and the change is not for the better?

Are you feeling angry and resentful at your provider all the time for things that would not

be a big deal if it were someone else? Are you and your provider butting heads over an

issue that is extremely important to you and you can’t make her do things your way?

Learn how to see the signs that you and your child need a change. In addition learn how

to tell if your provider needs a change that includes dropping you as a client.

             Chapter 24 - When you have to report your provider:

       This chapter is about reporting a bad provider to DHS and the best way to do so.

Here we define the different types of abuse and situations in daycare or in-house

situations that require reporting for licensing reasons. Included is a list of questions to ask

yourself before you call and the information you need to gather to give to the worker over

the phone.

       One of my favorite daycare parents has always been Susan. She has a lovely little

boy who has been with me for a long time. Things did not start out great though. When

Matt started with us he cried every day. Because dad couldn’t take the tears, he insisted

mom fire us, although when she would pick Matt up every day he would be fine. She tried

to argue, but finally gave in.

       It wasn’t long before mom and dad came back. They had chosen a new childcare

after us, and had serious concerns. Not only were they not sure their son was getting

what he needed, but their daycare had a flea infestation and their son was coming home

every day with fleas all over him. He was being bitten from head to toe and the fleas were

riding in their cars and arriving in their home by the dozens. Mom agonized over whether

fleas were cause for having a daycare checked by DHS. I gave her my standard speech

for parents who ask if they should report a provider……

Appendix: Contains resources by state to include daycare regulations, court records

checks and more.

                     PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS

We envision Co-Parenting Strangers as a 230 page $22.00 Standard Trade
Paperback with 12 charts and checklists (2-3 pages each) all in black and
white. We anticipate 10-12 illustrations or photographs.

We envision the cover artwork as a photo of a mother and childcare provider
with their backs turned to each other and their arms crossed with a child in
between them, Or of a child trying to decide whether to take candy from
mom or an apple from the babysitter, who looks like Mary Poppins. We can
supply this photo upon request.

This book can be delivered in 1-3 month’s time.

           MARKETING / SALES PLAN – My Contributions

In addition to attending and speaking at childcare and parenting conferences,
I maintain a website for the information that I teach. This website has
samples from my writing projects and is interactive so that parents and
providers can find out how to order the books as they become available.
They can send in their stories and questions, which I can use in later
projects. The website is linked to dozens of sites which are utilized by

I also teach continuing education to licensed providers. I have made
inquiries into radio talk-show air time which will give me a forum to
promote not only this book, but future projects as well.

I plan on sending announcements to every childcare provider and center in
the country that is registered or licensed, using that State’s listing of
providers. I will start with the 12,203 providers in Iowa, whose names and
addresses I already have.

Last but not least. I plan on personally contacting every Childcare Resource
and Referral agency in the country. CCR&R, in concert with Dept. of
Human Services, are the main agencies that assist parents in finding
childcare. I will be asking for the opportunity to speak to their groups and
host a free seminar for every agency interested. My goal is to speak in 2-3
States per month.

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