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Home Daycare

Home Daycare: How To Terminate Care

How do you discontinue care for a child that you’ve cared for day after day?  How do you know when it’s time to finally discontinue care?

If you’ve been in the business of home daycare for any length of time, you’ve cared for several different kinds of little personalities.  Some are wonderful and engaging and make your day brighter, whereas others make you dread waking up each morning.  Maybe it’s because that child bullies the others, or has a hard time following direction, or maybe it’s even because of the child’s parents constant late pick-ups or “forgetting” to bring payment.

Whatever it is, the question has crossed your mind: Should I let him go?  How do I tell her parents that they need to find a new daycare?

This business is the business of caring for children, and our emotions often get very wrapped up in decisions like this.  The very thing that makes you a wonderful daycare provider, the fact that you care so much, is what makes terminating care so difficult.  However, this is one of those situations where you need to put your business first, ahead of the child’s or parents’ feelings.

You need to focus on preserving your sanity, making sure you’re getting paid for your work, and keeping the other daycare children and their parents happy.  If caring for a specific child interferes with any of those things, it’s time to terminate care.

Terminating CareKeep these things in mind when discontinuing care for a daycare child:

1. Always keep the lines of communication open.  If a child has been having a difficult time keeping her hands to herself, let her parents know every day how she’s been doing and if she’s had time-outs.  Or if a parent isn’t paying on time, you need to be charging them late payment fees every time, and reminding them to pay on time.  If your daycare parents know that there is an ongoing issue, they won’t be surprised if you need to make that final decision to terminate care.

2. If it gets to the point where the needed changes are not happening, it’s time to terminate care.  Consider the timing carefully.  While you may give the family a two-week notice, they may choose to pull their child immediately.  Make sure that you can afford to not receive payment for those last couple of weeks.  You may also want to have another child lined up to take that spot, to minimize the income lost.

3. Give them a Termination Notice {printable one here!} at the end of the day.  Explain what it is when you hand it to the parents, so that they are not surprised at all when they read it.  Be prepared to spend some time answering any questions that they might have.  Offer to pack up any belongings that their child might keep at your house (blanket, diapers, etc), and have it ready for pick-up within a few days.

4. Be prepared for a negative reaction, but hold your ground.  Chances are the parents will be upset and offended.  Our children are extensions of ourselves, and they may have a difficult time accepting your decision.  Remember that you are terminating care in the best interests of your business.  Empathize, but don’t back down.  Offer the numbers of a few other local daycares that may have openings.

5. Take a deep breath, and pat yourself on the back.  Discontinuing care is emotionally draining, and is so difficult to do.  If you had good reasons for letting this child go, your next daycare day will go so much more smoothly, and you will have much less stress.

What would you consider to be valid reasons for letting a child go from a home daycare?

EBook-Running a Home Daycare and Doing It Well

Article written by:

Megan is a WAHM to 3 (and then some) kids, who spends the majority of her time working as an Administrative Assistant, blogging and washing dishes. She loves to write about her adventures in parenting, running a home daycare, adoption and whatever else strikes her fancy!


  1. Katie @Preschool Inspirations

    These are wonderful tips! It can be one of the hardest decisions ever, but there are certainly times when it needs to happen. And I wish I had known about #4 when I had to do it :).

  2. Stressed OUt

    I found your site, but a bit too late I fear. I babysit a couple children other than my own. I have one parent that habitually pays only a partial payment, drops off early, picks up late. Their child hits, kicks, bites, is well past potty training age but still regularly has soiling incidents. Time outs are not working, but I do not have permission to employ any other creative discipline. (In my home, if you hit someone, I give you something better to do with your hands, for instance my own kids have to scrub a wall, or wash windows, etc) I have tried twice unsuccessfully to say, this is not working out. You have two weeks to find a new sitter. Twice now I buckled under the pressure of tears and excuses. Meanwhile I am kicking myself and going… I have allowed this for so long, that I am literally stressed to the max with this one child! I literally dread babysitting this child now which is not good for anyone. I would never want someone to dread watching my child. I feel like I am stuck in this awful situation. I need the courage to just type up a letter and give it to her. Maybe after reading around on your site a bit more tonight I’ll find that courage to terminate care and stick to it.

    • Megan Elford

      It is such a stressful situation to be in! But knowing that your days will be SO much easier when the child has moved on does make it easier. It sounds like your daycare child may need a different environment,so a change may be the best thing for him or her. Good luck! I’d love to hear how it goes!

    • Maribel

      I just terminated a child two days ago. The first time I tried to let this child go the mom asked me to please give him a chance to “adjust” I accepted and kicked my self every day for doing that. But two days ago I had enough with this kid aggression towards everybody. I won’t lie, It was stressful to let her Know that I was not going to be able to provide care for her kid anymore but sooo worth it!! Once again I enjoy what I do.

  3. Aimee fauci

    I’ve never terminated a child.. I’ve wanted to and played it out in my head but due to financial purposes and determination of not giving up…stuck it out and was glad I did. I was…however going to terminate the parent of a child but thankfully she quit.

  4. Michelle

    Thank you for helping me find the courage via this post to terminate a contract for the first time ever today. The parents are annoyed and, most probably, hurt, but I’m already feeling relieved for making the right decision not only for my business, but for my own family too – a grumpy mom is not a good mom to have around. 😊

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