A Good Parent Handbook is Essential for Success

What is a parent handbook?

A parent handbook is the single biggest document a provider should put together before opening their dayhome. By big we are talking over 20 pages! A handbook is essentially your dayhome’s business plan with your policies and procedures. It lays out all of the details about how you run your dayhome as well as what parents can expect from you and your expectations of parents. It can be a stand alone document or a part of your contract where parents sign off on each section. Having a good parent handbook is essential for dayhome success.

Why should a dayhome have one?

A well thought out and considered handbook will reduce your stress down the road. Confirming parents have read and understood each section of your handbook before joining your dayhome means it won’t come as a surprise when you are closed for a holiday or charge a late fee. It will also give you confidence when a policy needs to be enforced. Through a parent handbook you and your parents will be on the same page when it comes to caring for their children.

Sample of questions that a handbook should answer.

Will you have fees for late pickups and payments? If so, how much will they be?

How do you want to be paid? Weekly, Bi-weekly, Monthly? 

What hours will you be open?

Will you be open on holidays?

What will your illness policy be? When a child is sick, when will they be allowed to return? 

If you need to terminate a family what will the process be?

What are your rates for full time, part time?

Will you accept drop-ins?

In what ways will you communicate with parents?

What will be the process if a concern or dispute arises?

Sections to consider including in a parent handbook:

About You 

Personal Childcare Philosophy 

Mission Statement 


Bringing Outside Food 

Bringing Toys From Home 




Diaper Policy


Dressing For Weather 


Enrollment Requirements

Evacuation Procedures 

Field Trips 


Celebrated Holiday 


Illness Policy

Late Payments 

Late Pickup 


Medical & Dental Emergency 

Medication Administration 

Nap Time 

Outside Play 






Reporting Abuse 

Schedule Sick/Personal Days 


Toilet Training 


Trial Period 



-Include the date your handbook was created. This way as updates are done you will be able to keep track if parents have the most up to date version. 

-Review your handbook at least once a year or make changes as needed.

Dayhome Resources

If you’re feeling like you aren’t sure how to answer many of these questions or you’re just overwhelmed with the entire process – check out our Startup Guide and done for you Parent Handbook.


Learn More

We have a startup guide available and pages 32-46 go into more detail about each section listed above. The guide is available as a part of our free provider membership. To check it out click the button below and create your free account. 



Ready to Go Parent Handbook

We also have a fully developed 22 page handbook written out that you can use as your starting point. It will save you the time developing your own so you can focus on other aspects of starting your dayhome. The handbook just needs reading through to check that you agree with each section, make changes where needed then it’s ready to go!


Looking for more information?

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Join our Facebook group "The Hangout" to chat with fellow dayhome providers as well as parents using dayhomes. 


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