How to Keep Your Daycare Full with Parent Involvement Activities
Parent involvement activities for daycare help you bond with parents and build relationships! Quality care is important, but communicating what you’re doing is just as important. Success in childcare can be elusive sometimes.
How to Keep Your Daycare Full with Parent Involvement Activities
Other providers ask me how I am full and have a waiting list when they can’t find kids. Parents need to know you care about their kids. If you go above and beyond doing the absolute best for their kids, people will tell their friends and you will not have trouble finding new families to provide care for.
Why get parents involved? There are so many benefits to having parents involved in kid’s early education (and beyond). The Harvard Family Research Project defines educational involvement of families as activities that parents conduct at home and in early childhood settings to directly or indirectly support their child’s learning.
Preschool level parent involvement can change a child’s future in many ways. It shows kids the importance of education and can develop connections that last a lifetime. It can help kids’ transition to elementary school easier as well.
Parental involvement creates home and school connection, supports development, gives kids a positive association with their early childhood setting, and helps them develop social networks.
Find your niche in childcare
Find what you LOVE doing. For me, preschool is the absolute most fun, so I concentrate on being as awesome as I can be with preschoolers. And recently I stopped keeping babies at all.
I love babies, but I was always frustrated trying to do a project with the kids and needing to stop and hold a baby or feed or change a baby. I just realized I am better with preschool age.
Some people want to cuddle and snuggle babies all day. That’s great, they should care for babies. Some people are good at all ages. No longer taking infants was the right choice for me. If you just don’t have fun working with kids, you should find something else to do. The kids deserve your best.
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Once you find your niche, try to be your best every day. Some days my best totally sucks. Some days I’m a rock star. I let it go when I don’t have my best day and try harder the next day. Everyone has bad days and that doesn’t change because you are doing childcare.
Family engagement activities
How do you get your parents involved in your daycare? Some people just aren’t going to be. I have had some parents I could not get to even send a can of corn to make stone soup as a group project. On stone soup day, the child was like, what did I bring?
When I saw her sad little face, I handed her a can of my corn and said, you brought THIS! Her face lit up. So you can get around parents who don’t want to participate however you can. If they won’t, just let it go.
Most parents get really excited when you want to do your best for their kids. Get them as involved as you can. I throw two big parties during the year, an Easter Party, and a gingerbread decorating party.
When my parents get together on a Saturday or an evening, it gives them a chance to see how their kids interact with each other, and to meet other parents and see what’s going on with their kids. Parents need that.
Involving parents in school and childcare
My parents love these get-togethers and look forward to them all year. For the Easter party, I just stuff and hide the eggs, invite everyone and have them bring a dish for a potluck lunch. We have an Easter story, then we hunt eggs and eat lunch.
For the gingerbread party, I build a gingerbread creation of some sort and make frosting to glue the candy on with. The parents bring candy to decorate with and we usually order pizza and they each bring money for that.
It’s A LOT of fun to give parents an opportunity to create something with their kids. We donate the creation to a child advocacy center in town so the kids in transition there can see something fun.
Parent involvement activities for childcare
Another event I do each year is a mom’s night out. It’s for moms only, no dads and no kids. We wear our pajamas, I provide something to eat, and we play games, make a craft and then pamper our hands. I have a waxer and I let them do a satin hands treatment and then wax their hands before they go home.
Also, I make a picture collage from the past year of their kids and write each child a letter that I put on the back of their collage. I give it to the moms as a gift. There is no faster way to a mom’s heart than caring for her AND her child.
I always have a theme for each mom’s night like one year we did Grease. We met at an old-fashioned diner for dinner, then came to my house where I had the movie playing quietly during game and craft time.
Another time I did a garden theme. The moms planted flowers in a pot, made stepping stones, and exchanged garden gifts they brought it a gift exchange game. They are really fun for me as well and I get to know the moms better.
There are so many different things you can do, but the important part is to do something to engage your parents in the program. If they aren’t interested, that is fine, but give them the chance to send snacks for the valentine party or supplies for a project, or let them come together to meet other families.
Parent involvement doesn’t have to be complicated
It doesn’t have to be a big event, it can be sending home a piece of paper and having the parents and child draw a picture together to display at daycare or even having parents send their favorite book for the day. Parent involvement is anything that helps kids and parents feel connected to their learning environment.
Parent involvement is also things like sending a text to parents with a cute picture or sweet thought about their child. Letting them know you care. It can be asking a parent to come in and talk about something with the kids, like if your mom is a dental hygienist, she can come in and talk to the kids about brushing their teeth. Maybe you have a mom that does manicures, she can tell the kids about taking care of their hands.
You can send home flyers that help parents, like a sheet about tax credits or how to save money on diapers. Another idea could be to bake cupcakes for the child’s birthday and send home enough for their family to each share one. You could put out coffee and muffins for parents one morning for fun.
Hold an open house, do parent conferences, make up certificates for accomplishments the kids make and send them home, anything that connects families with what their kids are doing. Ohh, your mom is going to love that. Don’t get caught up in making in complicated or a ton of work for you, do what you like. It’s just about building a bridge between childcare and the families.
It’s an important part of them feeling comfortable with your childcare.
Parent involvement ideas
If you were a parent who had to leave your child to go to work, wouldn’t you want to KNOW that they were being well taken care of so you could focus on your job? I know when I had Kayla in childcare, I appreciated that so much!
A big part of success and getting parents involved is being approachable. Make sure you are available to your parents for their questions and concerns. Listen carefully to them when they are expressing their needs to you. They are trusting you with the most important thing in their life.
Give them your full attention. They may be asking for something you cannot do. Don’t be dishonest and say you will do it if you won’t. And don’t promise to do things that are going to make you miserable.
It’s your business and you need to be in charge of it. And remember it’s a business, not a friendship. Even if you are friends with some of your parents, you still need to be professional.
Try to think of a few simple things to get parent involvement in your daycare. You will be amazed at how it helps your business grow! For more help on success in family childcare, click on the highlighted link.
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