Choosing the right childcare provider is a difficult and often stressful decision for parents with young children. In the following article, we outline ten things parents are looking for in a childcare provider. Use these insights to assess your childcare program and determine how you can ease the minds of prospective parents by helping them see how your childcare program will meet the needs of their child and their family.
Although different parents will have slightly different priorities when it comes to what they are looking for in a daycare provider, the following items are going to be pretty universal among conscientious parents looking for the best care for their little ones. Irregardless of whether parents are hoping to find a daycare within close proximity of their home or one that offers plenty of extra-curricular activities outside of regular hours of operation, you can be sure parents are looking for a daycare provider with the following:
Licensing and Accreditation
Parents are looking for a childcare provider that meets at least the minimum requirements set out for daycare operation, which includes state licensing. Some parents may even look for providers who are accredited by a reputable organization, such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Although you may not wish to pursue the rigorous accreditation process set out by organizations like the NAEYC, you should still be sure your childcare business meets as many requirements as necessary, and more if possible, to set apart your program as one of quality and distinction.
Education and Training
Parents also want to know that their child’s caregivers are knowledgeable, experienced, and educated individuals. As a daycare director, having your degree in early childhood education or a similar program will give parents the assurance that you have the professional background needed to offer quality childcare services. In addition, your lead teachers should have the appropriate education and training certifications. Assistants and classroom aides should be highly experienced working with children. All staff members must have background checks and basic health and safety knowledge, including CPR.
Safety and Standard Procedures
In addition to properly trained staff members, parents will want to know that your daycare regularly implements appropriate safety procedures and other standard protocols. Adherence to safety codes, regular fire drills and other emergency procedures, as well as ongoing trainings for staff are non-negotiable standards. Also, safety practices like locked doors, security cameras, safe infant sleeping procedures, sanitation practices, and a safe environment for little ones should be top priority.
Safety may be top priority on parents’ minds, but it isn’t the only concern. Parents want to know their child will be cared for in a loving and nurturing environment. Clean, cheerful, safe, age-appropriate, and comfortable areas for children to play, learn, nap, eat, and explore are essential. In addition, caregiver interactions with children should be loving, nurturing, and caring. Plenty of interaction and stimulation for babies, structured play for toddlers and preschoolers, and growth and development in a warm and loving environment for children of all ages are unquestionable necessities. Parents want to know the caregivers who will be watching over their children are not only qualified on paper, but also offer a nurturing presence.
Parents want to have a positive relationship with their child’s caregivers, and one of the things they are looking for is great communication. You and your team of teachers can instill a lot of confidence and reassurance in parents by initiating regular and ongoing communication with them. Offering daily updates and reports, keeping parents in the loop with digital parent communication tools like parent apps or messaging systems, and a willingness to answer questions, address concerns, and make yourself available for conversations will help create a healthy communication dynamic between you and parents.
There’s no doubt about it: parents want to see outstanding reviews of your daycare program. Referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations from other parents, high ratings on Google, and testimonials from past and current clients featured on your childcare business website can go a long way to dispel doubt and convince parents that your daycare is the right option for their child. You can learn more about how to get great parent reviews for your daycare here.
Childcare That Fits Their Life
As mentioned previously, every parent is going to have slightly different priorities as they look for childcare options that fit their life. While you can’t control whether your daycare facility is located close to a parent’s work or home, or whether your teaching philosophy will align with a parent’s preferences, you can offer transparency, flexibility, and quality in your general daycare operations. If a new mom knows up front that she can drop into daycare during her lunch hour to nurse her baby, for example, or if a parent has the option to enroll their child in after-hours care if they have long work days, they are more likely to view your daycare as an option that fits their life and the needs of their family.
Early childhood education philosophies vary as widely as preschool curriculum offerings. Since there is no one-size-fits-all teaching philosophy that will encompass the needs and views of every parent, what you can focus on is offering the highest quality education and care possible. Be sure to stand behind your teaching philosophy and preschool curriculum confidently. Be ready to share with parents why their children will be getting a quality education and the best care possible when they enroll in your program. When you can demonstrate that you believe in your daycare program and that you offer the best childcare services, parents will be able to see the evidence in the care you provide.
This one’s another undeniable priority for parents. They are looking for daycare options they can afford. While you can’t please every parent and need to charge tuition that covers your operation costs and turns a profit, you want to make sure you are offering competitive rates within your local market. For more guidance on setting prices for your daycare business, check out this article.
Someone They Can Trust
It’s no surprise that parents are ultimately looking for a childcare provider they can trust. Choosing the right childcare provider can be an emotional decision for parents. Many factors are at play, but at the end of the day parents want to be certain their child’s caregiver is absolutely trustworthy. Your reputation as a daycare provider will precede your relationship with prospective parents, so be sure to do everything you can to build trust, integrity, and excellence as core values of your childcare business.
Choosing a childcare provider is no easy task for parents, and we hope this guide offers practical insight into ways you can put your best childcare services forward to help ease the decision fatigue for parents and set your childcare business apart from the rest.
The experts at Honest Buck Accounting are committed to helping passionate childcare business owners streamline their business accounting procedures and optimize their finances to help them grow. Interested in learning more about our financial services? Schedule a discovery call today.