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MegaMum
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Why is it that whenever a parent doesn't like something these days, they immediately threaten reporting you?

I had a situation at the end of last week, where a child did another poo that morning and when we went to change the child we realised the child had run out of wipes. It was 15 minutes before going home and so we didn't ring Mum (now realise this was a big mistake!) Mum says she put a brand new packet in the bag that week. (it wasn't and the child was only in 2 days)

Mum went mad, kept her other child off on Friday and has sent me 3 unpleasant e-mails over the weekend and said if my response isn't to her liking she threatened me saying she would take action. I have responded, explained what happened, quoting times of when we changed her child's nappies that week etc. and apologised for not ringing her and promised to do so in the future. She sent an unpleasant reply and then added a sentence saying her child would be back because she has paid until half term. Surely, you would be more worried about the quality of our care, than money?

I then responded saying it was obvious she was still so upset and not happy with our care and if she preferred to have a refund, I would be happy to do that.

She has now demanded a full refund for both children (one's funded) and plans on taking action. I'm so fed up with all this.... it's the beginning of a New Year and it starts!!

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Can I ask why you didn't think to use toilet paper/kitchen paper.............or even have a spare packet of wipes on standby? ( or..............perhaps you could have 'borrowed' a few from another packet, then replaced them next time?). It's hard to keep every parent happy ( and some of them will never be happy)............but this is an easy lesson to learn in future. Keep a couple of spare packs of decent quality wipes in your own kit of loo rolls etc.......................and put in your policies that in cases where a child has run out of wipes/parents have not/have forgotten to replenish them, you will charge X pence per change of nappy for the wipes ( make it at least 50p to discourage parents taking advantage of you). Do you keep a record of nappy changes.......and what the child had done ( so....poo, needs more wipes than a wee)

Also, NEVER refund fees in the face of threats....................you will potentially open floodgates.........'my child had a runny nose that yiu didn;t wipe/wiped too hard/didn't use fairy wing gossamer to wipe............do you see a picture forming here?? Stand your ground. Sign for new wipes if necessary, but don't give in to angry parents by refunding money xx

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Not sure that this makes sense. You didn't change the child as they didn't have wipes in their bag. If this was my child I would be really cross.

 

Surely spare wipes are part of your resources. There probably was a brand new pack in the bag and someone hasn't put them back.

 

Don't answer emails at the weekend and don't refund the fees. A huge apology might be good.

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I understand our mistake and I have apologised, but she is furious and now removing her children from Pre-school. I have had 3 e-mails tonight. I said I would refund the money and she is not willing to

pay the funded hours for one child. I can't claim for those this term.

 

In our policy, we don't share wipes or provide them because of allergies etc.

 

Yes, in hindsight, we should have used water/paper towels, but not that it's an excuse, it's what happened, we were dealing with someone that had a wee and we were changing them, mopping up the floor and dealing with 18 other children. We are only 3 staff.

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Maybe you could buy some hypo-allergenic wipes. These things happen and in the end, if she won't accept your apology, then you will have to take it on the chin. However, I would not refund any money. But you WILL have to find a way to prevent this ever happening again because no child should be left in a soiled nappy, whatever the reason. You might have to re-think your policies..............you could provide warm water and strong kitchen paper in an emergency, which this clearly was and this should cover the concern about allergies ( though you should know if any child is allergic to wipes as it would be on their files).

Keep a written record of what happened and why it happened...............including the chid who had wet the floor. Look at what you could do to prevent an incident like this from happening again...........coud one member of staff have taken all the other children into your book corner for a story or song while the other two of you sorted the nappy and the floor? I know hindsight is a wonderful thing, but if you prepare and plan for incidents such as this, you're less likely to be met with angry parents. I hope it resolves itself x

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I agree with the above. It's hard when you make a mistake and even harder when the parent doesn't accept an apology. I think what I would do is take a very close look at your policy for nappy changing / intimate care or whatever yours is called. You can then add whatever you need to, talk to staff and then be able to say to the parent 'this is what happened, this is what we've changed and this is what we're going to do about it.' This will ensure a child doesn't get left in a soiled nappy again and you will have all your procedures in place if the situation arises. I can understand why the parent was upset as it is not acceptable to leave a child soiled and even more to send him/her home in a soiled nappy but if you can explain what you have done to put things right, hopefully the parent will calm down a bit and see reason.

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Yes, I agree, Stargrower. This would help Mum see that it was a 'one-off' and now that it's happened you can see how it could have been handled better. 'I hear what you are saying, and this is what I'm going to do to make sure it doesn't happen again'

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Hi megamum. I am sorry to hear about your experiences, and others have offered very good advice. I didn't quite understand what you said about refusing to pay for funded hours. Surely if they are funded hours she doesn't pay them anyway nor does she have any right to any refund. Perhaps I have misunderstood.

 

Anyway regardless of what you did or didn't do, she has no right to be unpleasant, and so if she complains, she will if she wants to anyway. Just make sure you follow your complaints procedure and record it all before you forget including the exchange of emails. This will provide your evidence if you need it. You have acknowledged that you could have done things differently, and if you amend your policy accordingly, and explain what you have done, then I don't think you can really do any more. Many people here have had a complaint to deal with and most people come out the other side having learned something.

 

Take care of yourself and hope it works out of in the end.

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Hypo-allergenic wipes bought, and amended policy in place! Parent has withdrawn child/ren and is bad mouthing me all over the village. She says she is going to continue to do so. She has also got her friend to withdraw her child too, late last night. The chair went to see her today (to return money) and her greeting was, 'Oh she's got you to do her dirty work has she?' She said she is reporting me to Ofsted, but I'm not so convinced Ofsted will come out on this one. If they do, they do. I made a mistake.... I'm human. Her children are now placed in a pre-school she has slatted over and over again.

We do have a policy in place where parents have signed they will give several weeks notice, but they don't want to honour it. It seems parents just do what they want and to be truthful, I'm not sure I can be bothered to go to small claims court, as I just don't want added stress in my life.

I refunded her money (less the days non funded child attended) as she is volatile and nasty. I just wanted rid of her. The funded child only came last week, and headcount day is the 15th and she is gone. Same for the other child. So technically they received a week of free childcare as I am not sure how to recoup the money.

The chair and I are meeting to fill out a complaints form. I did offer her the opportunity to fill one out, but she didn't take me up on it. Do I have to inform Ofsted?

Quite frankly, her older child has been with us 2 1/2 years and she has often said how happy the child is at Pre-school and loves it. Of course this has been verbal exchanges.

At the end of the day, she embarrassed herself in front of parents, shouting at me and now has turned it around on me. The chair told her she acted inappropriately but she kept saying I owed her a big apology. The chair said I had apologised (she read all the e-mails) but I would not grovel. I like my chair!

This whole thing has been so upsetting. I think I am on the band waggon with those very soon to give up working in Early Years after a dedicated 25 years plus.

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Don't be so daft. If i resigned every time a parent p'd me off, I'd have been working in Sainsbury's for the last 40 years :)......................Learn from it and move forward. Your chair should send a bill for the hours owed to the setting, and a date by which it must be paid. I think she could say that in light of what happened a new policy has been put in place.Apologise again for the 'lapse in your usual high standards' and say that you will always be pleased to welcome her child/ren back again at any time. I would also be very professional and give her the address for Ofsted so she can complain........................if she's going to do it, she's going to do it, so you might as well be seen to be professional. Keep records worded as accurately as possible. You coud if you wish, phone Oftsed yourself to tell them that this parent might complain ( and you coud say you have told her how to make a complaint if she so wishes). It just dots the i's and crosses the t's.

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I would and have always claimed funding even if child not there on head count if they have received care then you get paid, if she has signed this terms contract for funding then you can claim for (with our LA and policy) 4 weeks notice period. It is up to the new setting to check notice period has been served in our area and if they don't it's them that doesn't get paid.

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My goodness. What an awful fuss over something not that important really. Having just watched the BBC evening news and listened to all the awful things happening in the world, I think some parents need to keep things in proportion. You made a bit of a slip up and apologised. So what. She is being very shortsighted and risks causing her child quite an upheaval in their little lives. If your setting had had lots of complaints and problems, then that would be different. But you are clearly a caring and conscientious person and as you say, you are human. We all make mistakes, including that parent. You're well rid of her, it sounds like. That's good, isn't it?

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I've messed up today and feel awful about it. A parent passed on some information whilst I was receiving children and leading the morning circle. I apparently misunderstood what she said and reacted to it with a comment, then cut her short because I needed to focus on the group. Our minds were in two different places in the morning - she with what was important to her and I with all sorts of things related to the children, the day ahead and the implications of the information. I got an upset mail this evening. I find these conflicts, caused by human limitation, so difficult...

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I'd have to disagree, it IS important to change soiled/wet nappies as soon as you become aware of them. I have one child who would get very sore, very quickly if he wasn't changed immediately. Why would you do that to a child? There may be awful things going on in the world and it may well be that this parent has over-reacted, but this is HER chld, right here, right now and it is important to her, so I wouldn't dismiss her comments or her concerns. She is entitled to feel cross. I agree though that an apology ought to have paved the way for a return to the group, but maybe the parent now feels she can't do so. Whatever the reasons, whatever has gone on everyone needs to move forward and to learn from it.

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Oh Wildflowers, I so empathise. I have been feeling awful too.

 

What my job demands of me now has quadrupled since I took on the position. Parents are more demanding, children are sent to us sick, we have to be therapists to families.... the list is endless. As I said before, I am human, and I made a mistake, I recognised it, said sorry yet the parent remains vindictive.

 

We have to make judgements in a split second, when sometimes there is at least 5 other things needing my attention at the same time. Try not to be so hard on yourself. I know that is easy to say and I have been questioning myself and the staff saying why didn't we do such and such? But we didn't and we take full responsibility and certainly this has been a learning curve.

 

Sometimes things don't go as they should, and in my case no one is harder on me than myself. However, this doesn't justify rudeness, abuse, nastiness and down right bad manners from parents.

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Just to add a lighter note on this.... many years ago I took over management of a pre school, there were a group of mums not happy with the change and not happy at not being able to bully me. One Mum withdrew her very challenging child and MADE her 2 friends do the same. These children were all very challenging....... It was the best holiday the staff had ever had! Plus eventually one of them came back (nobody wanted to look after her child!!) and of course we welcomed her back with a big smile! Ha.

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