For parents, choosing childcare is a daunting decision. Many feel extremely nervous about leaving their baby or toddler in someone else’s care. You can make your childcare center stand out by easing these fears.
In this article, we’ll take a look at four major parent needs–and how you can meet them. By doing so, you’ll help parents feel comfortable entrusting you with their little ones.
4 Tips to Make Your Childcare Center Stand Out
Follow these four tips to provide quality care and ease the fears of any parent.
1. Keep your environment safe and clean.
Naturally, safety is the number one concern for most parents. And safety and cleanliness go hand in hand when it comes to health.
To maintain a safe, clean environment, consider the following:
- Keep all doors secure. Ideally, have a code available only to parents and staff. Change it regularly.
- Ensure windows are securely fastened.
- All stairwells should be gated.
- Staff and children should wash hands throughout the day. This is especially true before mealtimes and after diapering/restroom use.
- Disinfect toys daily. Schedule a time so this task isn’t forgotten.
- Have clear routines in case of emergency.
- Store cleaning products and/or medications securely.
- Have a separate area for infants (so they don’t get too much love from over-eager toddlers).
- Each child should have their own crib/cot and own bedding.
- Have clear procedures for allergies.
- Staff should have up-to-date first aid and CPR training.
- Meet minimum guidelines for child-staff ratio. If possible, go above and beyond this standard.
- Routinely walk around your indoor and outdoor space to check for/address any hazards.
2. Make consistent policies.
Clearly outline your policies to protect your business and address parent concerns. Maintaining a regularly updated parent handbook can make your childcare center stand out from others. Before enrolling, have parents review and agree to the policies listed in your handbook.
Some of these policies will be dictated by your state’s licensing agency. Still, clearly explaining them to parents is helpful. You can also add your own unique policies. Consider addressing policies about:
- Hours of operation/daily schedule
- Food and nutrition
- Curriculum (more on this later)
- Pick-up (Who can pick up the child? How do you verify identity?)
- Program closings
- Parent communication
- Fees and payment
Ideally, your policies should be research-based. You should be able to clearly explain the reasoning behind them. Parents will see that you’ve thoughtfully considered how your center will run. As a result, they’ll feel much more confident entrusting you with what matters most.
3. Invest in your staff.
Babies and toddlers need consistent, predictable care. For this reason, parents prefer childcare centers with low turnover.
Invest training and resources in your staff. Treat them as respected, appreciated professionals by:
- Recognizing and rewarding success and hard work
- Providing support and extra help when it’s needed
- Holding a staff appreciation day/week
- Including staff in your vision, goals, policies, etc.
- Building relationships
- Organizing fun activities
Making this extra effort will help you retain high-quality staff. In addition, your staff is more likely to be friendly and approachable, which puts parents at ease.
4. Develop a curriculum.
Parents want to know that their children aren’t watching TV or sitting around all day. Young children need active play, stimulation, and learning. Think about programming and your daily schedule.
Develop activities that emphasize play and exploration. Document these activities so parents know what their children are doing each day. Provide access to age-appropriate toys and materials. Allow children to spend time outdoors on a daily basis.
Of course, young children shouldn’t be over-programmed. But you should put some thought into how you’ll engage them in appropriate activities each day.
Bonus Tip: Communicate!
To maintain and continue boosting enrollment, communication is key. Parents want to know what their child is up to throughout the day.
At pick-up, mention something specific that each child did or accomplished. For toddlers, keep a folder of any drawings or art projects for parents to review. When parents have concerns, take time to satisfactorily address them.
Some daycare centers even have apps that allow them to share information about meals, naps, and activities in real time.
Make Your Childcare Center Stand Out: Final Thoughts
The best way to attract parents to your daycare is simple: Put their minds at ease.
By following these tips, you’ll make your childcare center stand out. Parents will feel comfortable and confident leaving their children in your care!