For most parents, leaving their child’s side is one of the most difficult things they’ll ever have to do, especially if they’re young and heading out into the world for the first time. That is why choosing a daycare center is one of the most important decisions they will make. A decision that’ll echo throughout their adulthood.
However, there are many, many child care centers out there, and a few key factors come into play when selecting one. Being parents and educators ourselves, we thought it’s best to let you in on how parents think when approaching a daycare center. Although they’re opinions at the end of the day, they’ve done wonders for many centers throughout the world.
These are the most common things parents look for when making up their mind on a good place to keep their child several hours a day, most days of the week.
One of the perks of enrolling children in daycare is to have a place where they can stay safe while you work. However, parents aren’t only looking for a babysitter; it’s equally essential that the daycare have an engaging, educational and developmental approach to how they spend time with the children. Lesson plans and clear learning objectives are a major plus, especially when paired with an effective Early Years Learning Framework.
Now it’s not all just hard learning. Part of the wonder and whimsy of being a child is the sheer amount of things you’ve yet to discover. Always assume that parents look into your center’s curriculums, activities both indoor and outdoor, as well as how you present new topics to their children. Kids learn and grow by interacting with the world around them, so it should always be appealing to explore.
A child’s first few years of life are the most crucial, and the people around them play a major role in the way they grow and who they become at later stages of life. That’s why it’s important to encourage them to spend time with well-behaved and well-mannered children and adults. Encourage potential parents to visit the center and get an idea of the children enrolled there. Are they learning? Are they troublemakers? Is their age range too old or too young for their child? Do they have behavioral issues you should be aware of? They’ll have a clearer picture and be able to know if it’s the right place once they start to feel at ease.
Apart from the kids themselves, parents also take into consideration the way teachers, educators and caregivers at the daycare handle children. Are they too strict? Too lenient? Uninvolved? Overly protective? Parents can’t keep an eye on them all the time, so you should make sure to act as their eyes, ears, and hearts.
From security to hygiene, keeping children safe is the ultimate priority for any concerned parent. They expect all indoor and outdoor facilities to be installed professionally with children’s safety in mind. Resources should be clean and abundant, and there should be strict policies within the center for dealing with sick children. Illnesses shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially given the circumstances we live in now due to the Pandemic. From charts, to orientation and demonstrations, all children and staff must be aware and aligned with health and safety protocols at the center.
You really can never be too safe, especially in times like today. The more you work on your safety, security and health measures, the smoother your center runs, and the better its image becomes. Keeping parents in the loop can also boost your status among their other choices.
Unprofessional services are a red flag, especially when it comes to children. Parents want to ensure their child will be in good hands when they leave their side, so it’s important that the teachers and staff are trustworthy and qualified to work with children. Trusted referrals and certificates are a great way to show your center’s credibility and your upper hand in the industry.
Strong communication is just as critical. If anxious parents are trying to reach you for an update about their child, making them wait for an answer will definitely worry them, and it might even make them regret signing up for your services in the first place. You do not want that.
Red flags for your center would include a lack of organization, inconsistency with scheduling, miscommunication between parents and teachers, and leaving parents in the dark when it comes to receiving updates about their child’s day-to-day activities.
It’s unlikely that parents will go out of their way to leave their child at your daycare if you aren’t in their neighborhood. Doubly so if your enrollment, check-in, and payment processes are too much of a hassle. Parents look for day care centers that save them time, energy, and money, all the while keeping their children safe. If your center is not on their way home or to work, they probably aren’t the right target for you. Focus your marketing efforts on securing prospects that are more likely to convert, and those include the parents that live and work nearby.
Moreover, how you run your daycare
If your daycare center checks all these boxes, then what’s left for you to do is attract potential families. But how? It’s easier said than done, but a good place to start would be targeting them through social media posts, groups, and updates. Check out our definitive guide for using social media for daycare owners.
Once you have prospects on the fence about your daycare, invite them over for a tour, consultation or play date. This gives parents a better idea of the services you offer, how your daycare operates, and gives their children a chance to mingle with their peers and explore the new space.
It takes a fair bit of continuous effort to make your daycare stand out. Making sure you check things off in order is the first step to success, so long as you remember what truly matters: spending time with the children.
You could do everything on your own, and it’s admirable. But you’ll likely stretch your resources too thin.
Childcare Management Software like Parent can help daycare providers easily manage all of that from one place. An evolving ecosystem of child care management tools and resources, Parent takes care of all the planning, reporting, billing, invoicing, and more importantly, communication. Keep parents in the loop about what their child is up to, their mealtimes, nap times, assessments, observations and more, all with image and video sharing.