How Can I Be a GREAT Childcare Provider?

Would you love to know the magic formula for keeping daycare families and having a thriving home daycare or family childcare provider?

What’s the difference between a good provider and a great one? Great childcare is a blessing to families and it’s rare. How can you grow your business and cut down on stress in your life? What are you doing to make sure your business is successful in the future? Would you love to know the magic formula for keeping daycare families and having a thriving home daycare?

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Word of mouth is by far the most important part of growing a successful childcare business. What are people saying about the care you provide? Have you gone the extra mile to let parents know you love their kids? Do they know you care about them?


People often times ask me, what is your secret? Why do you never have openings? Why does everyone love you so much? What do you do differently? The honest truth is I don’t know what I do differently, I just know what I do. I use my instincts to be the best provider I can be. I care for my families, not just the kids. To me, the whole family needs me.

I try every day to provide great childcare. Some days I do and some days I suck. That’s no reason to stop trying. Parents need support and advice, older siblings need to know their little brother or sister is safe, and everyone needs to know you have their best interest at heart. 

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I hear providers all the time talking about how the kids aren’t the problem, the parents are. To some extent it’s true, but if you really care about your parents, they won’t be disrespectful to you. Parents know when their kids are getting great childcare and when they are not. You can really help yourself have easier days and help your reputation by being kind to your parents. I promise, it’s good business sense.

Parents are not out to get you; they only want the best for their kids. Be open and let them know that’s what you want too, and they will be on your side. Every day will be easier. Make sure you are up front with them. People can sense when you aren’t being genuine. No one likes being lied to. I have been a parent using childcare before and the most important thing to me was KNOWING my child was safe. My provider made sure I did and I never forgot that. Parents who are nervous or scared aren’t trying to be annoying, they need to be comforted by you as their provider. 

Also, please remember, if someone leaves or doesn’t chose the care you provide, it may just not have been a good fit. Not everyone is meant for everyone else. Different people have different ideas and procedures and that’s good because different families have different needs. All people have good inside but it doesn’t always match someone else’s good.

Here’s another big secret. As hard as I try to provide great childcare, NOT EVERYONE LIKES ME or the care i provide. They just don’t. Everyone won’t be a good fit no matter how hard you try or how much you care. Check out what a group of parents had to say about good childcare and great childcare.

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According to parents surveyed a good provider is:

Reliable and on time

Trustworthy and honest

Follows rules

Takes care of kids

Provides food

Provides attention

Meets basic requirements

Has an illness policy

Does what they say they will

Likes children

Knows about child development

Helps kids mature as appropriate

Joyful and happy

Structured and has rules for children and families

Has a clean home

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According to parents surveyed, a great provider:

Above all is honest with parents

Teaches manners and how to handle problems in a positive way

Serves quality meals (not just junk food)

Provides structure

Loves what they do

Knows how important the job is

Keeps kids safe, doesn’t put them in harm’s way

Is interested and committed to the profession

Stays informed on issues and regulations

Is educated

Values parents and children

Is involved with parents and invites parents to be involved in the program

Communicates, gives honest feedback, and empowers parents

Honors parental wishes and respects their decisions

Give opinions and advice when needed

Goes the extra mile

Loves kids like their own

Takes time to send pictures of kids at daycare

Talks to parents about their child’s day

Feels like leaving kids with family or friend

Puts kids before money (meaning, the kid’s needs are more important than the paycheck)

Doesn’t lie to please parents

Is constantly improving and learning

Develops a positive environment

Has a professional handbook

Knows DHS rules well and follows them

Nurtures children emotionally, nutritionally, socially, and academically

Only practices developmentally appropriate practice

Is strict with parents for the good of all children in care

Is an advocate for children both of the parent and the other kids in care

Sets consistent boundaries

Has compassion

Gives time to play

Communicates with parents to empower them

Is warm and welcoming in the mornings

Builds trust

Cares about cleanliness

Treats the job like it’s more than just a paycheck

It’s their calling to provide childcare

Has an even temperament

Is available to parents

One thing I would add that no one mentioned is a great provider can balance the parent’s needs with their own so they can support the whole family, not only the child in care. It takes a village.

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Deal breakers

Parents polled shared the following bad experiences that were deal breakers for childcare:

Kids weren’t safe

There was no outside play

There was no art

The TV was constantly on or kids watched TV all day

Provider played on phone all day

Environment was unclean

Environment was disorganized

Provider lied or was dishonest

Environment felt institutional

Children seemed unhappy

Parent didn’t think their children would fit in

Teachers seemed unhappy

Children were picked up with dried snot on their face, that no one had cleaned all day

Environment had odor of poopy diapers

Negative feedback was given daily

Provider seemed vague

 

No call, no show

Parents interviewed shared these reasons why they scheduled and interview and either didn’t hold it or chose not to use the provider after they showed up:

No sick policy was in effect, sick kids in one room, well in another

Provider insulting kids during interview

Parent found out personal info that made them uneasy

Outside of home needed general maintenance and upkeep, looked junky

Environment was not clean

Security seemed lacking

Provider seemed superficial or dishonest

 

Ladies (and gentlemen), the most popular complaint I hear and heard from parents is caregivers not being honest. They want to know the truth about how their kid’s day was, they want to know the truth when they ask you questions. If you did something wrong, fess up to it. People respect you so much more when they know you are truthful. You don’t want parents lying to you, so don’t lie to them. Respect goes both ways.

Parents also commented that many people think daycare is bad because some are bad but it’s not true. There are good providers, but it’s not what people focus on. People prefer to see the negative, it’s just human nature.

A provider’s point of view (previous childcare provider):

“The pay versus work doesn’t seem as great as parents think when they are paying it. You begin work before they do and end after they do. Not to mention that many things come out of that pay like food, art supplies, utilities, etc. It really has to be a calling. It has to be more than just a paycheck.”

That my friends, is truth! If you are struggling to fill spots or have a hard time figuring out what parents want, look over these lists occasionally and see if there is something you can change to make your business more successful. If you are going to be a childcare provider, it is the most important job in the world, be a great provider! If you don’t want to be a great provider, do something else. It’s not worth it.

Great providers are a gem, click here to see how to find a hidden jewel in a provider.

If you are worried that your home is not up to par, try going outside for a few minutes in the evening and then stepping in the door and taking a big whiff. If you smell foul odors, your parents do too. If you don’t know if your house looks clean enough, step out on the porch and look around what parents see as they arrive. Is there something you can put fresh paint on or a few nails that need to be hammered in? Is there anything attractive and nice to look at? As you come in the door is there filth and trash all over the greeting area? If you need to be a clutter bug, do it in the back room or your bedroom. Let your entry area be your best foot forward. It will make a world of difference, I promise.

I don’t have anything nice, and my house is not perfect, but I have had many people step in and say, it looks so clean. Make sure that’s what people see upon entry. If you don’t know, ask a friend to come over and look. They can tell you what people will notice that you don’t because you see it every day. A few minutes of tidying before you open will make a big difference. If you don’t want to get out the vacuum every night, get a cracker beater like they have in the church nursery and do a quick buzz by the front door each evening after care. Take pride in what you’re doing, you’re a WORLD CHANGER and anyone can be a great provider if they really care about what they’re doing.

What do you think makes a great provider?

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Would you love to know the magic formula for keeping daycare families and having a thriving home daycare or family childcare provider?

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