A childcare contract is an agreement between you and the childcare provider as to what both of you are expected to do regarding the care of your child. It is very important that you are aware of what commitment you are agreeing to in case any problems arise in the future.
A Contract contains the following:
- The retainer fee or deposit to secure your child’s place
- The amount you pay and what it covers (e.g. nappies, food, days out/trips)
- The hours/days your child will attend
- Method of payment
- Notice period to cancel or changes to terms and conditions of contract
- Procedure if you are late picking up your child/who can pick up your child
- What you pay if your childcare provider or your child is ill, holiday pay or bank holidays
- Complaints procedure
Contracts should be renewed regularly, giving you a chance to discuss your child’s needs and progress. The contract is a legally binding document and if it breaks down in the future it will be used to show what has been agreed.
In addition to the contract you should also discuss the following points with your childcare provider:
- Any personal additions such as limiting TV watching or sugary treats
- Your child’s likes/dislikes, favourite activities or routines
- Methods of behaviour management
- The policy for giving medicines, medical emergencies
Read the small print - Common causes for concern are over conditions in the childcare contract so please read your contract carefully e.g. payments, pick-up times. It is a really good idea to be clear about what you expect from each other from the start. If you are not happy about anything in the contract you are given by a childcare provider, discuss it with them and try to negotiate something you can both agree to.