What Makes a Great Daycare?
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What’s the difference between a good provider and a great one? How can you grow your business and cut down on stress in your life? Is your business thriving? What makes a great daycare? It’s important to know when running a home daycare.
Great childcare is a blessing to families and it’s rare. 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?
How Can I Be a GREAT Childcare Provider?
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 my care.
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 upfront 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. She was a great childcare provider. 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 choose the care you provide, it just may 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.
What makes a good daycare
Here’s another big secret. As hard as I try to be a great childcare provider, NOT EVERYONE LIKES ME or the care I provide. They just don’t.
Some people think I’m annoying. Some people think the things I do are ridiculous. 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.
- 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
- 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
Child care providers support families
One thing I would add that no one mentioned is a great childcare 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.
Signs of a bad childcare
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
How to deal with daycare issues and problems
Why do potential daycare parents do the no call no show for an interview?
Parents interviewed shared these reasons why they scheduled an 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. Want to be a great childcare provider? Be honest and respectful.
Parents also commented that many people think daycare is bad because some are bad but it’s not true. There are good childcare providers, but it’s not what people focus on. People prefer to see the negative, it’s just human nature.
“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! Are 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 childcare provider! You don’t want to be a great childcare provider? Do something else. It’s not worth it.
High-quality childcare characteristics
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. Do you smell foul odors? your parents do too.
Perfumes, candles, febreeze or other scents won’t mask those odors. You’ll have to root out the source. There’s nothing worse than the smell of poop and febreeze. Yuck. If you don’t know if your house looks clean enough, step out on the porch and look at 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. The first step in people finding out you are a great childcare provider is a nice appearance to draw them in.
What to look for in a daycare
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 childcare.
Take pride in what you’re doing, you’re a WORLD CHANGER and anyone can be a great childcare provider if they really care about what they’re doing.
Click here to see what childcare aware recommends for finding great childcare.