How Can I Be a GREAT 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?
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.
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.
According to parents surveyed a good provider is:
Reliable and on time
Trustworthy and honest
Takes care of kids
Meets basic requirements
Has an illness policy
Does what they say they will
Knows about child development
Helps kids mature as appropriate
Joyful and happy
Structured and has rules for children and families
Has a clean home
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)
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
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
Gives time to play
Communicates with parents to empower them
Is warm and welcoming in the mornings
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.
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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