Daycare centers are a pillar of their local communities. While there are plenty of larger childcare chains out there, some parents prefer the friendliness and homey atmosphere a small daycare center provides. But there are common daycare challenges that owners face, and it’s important you know how to solve them.
At-home daycares are often run by one teacher with minimal staff. Having less access to the help and supervision you need can get overwhelming, resulting in necessary administrative work being left aside.
Here are some of the most common challenges home-centered daycares face, and what you can do to overcome them.
Daycare Challenge #1: Creating Work-Life Balance at an At-Home Daycare
One of the daycare challenges for daycare owners who operate businesses out of their homes is how hard it is to separate work from personal life. Bringing your work into the living space—or vice versa—can become a problem.
Without work-life balance, boundaries get blurred. It might feel like you’re always thinking about work: your childcare activities invade your “relaxation” space or affect your family relationships when the house is a mess from a daycare operation.
Perhaps you feel like your level of professionalism as a business owner is overwhelmed by your messes at home, looming reminders to pay home bills, or completing other chores when you just want to focus on your childcare work.
To solve this nagging issue, create designated areas of your home that are work-only. Store and organize everything you need on the side of the house that involves childcare. Keep your home life separate from work. Stick to a schedule that allows you to maintain healthy boundaries between your daycare, your family, and your time off.
Daycare Challenge #2: Growing the Business
Depending on the location, size, and goals of your business, when it comes time to grow, new challenges may arise. For example, due to state regulations and standards, you may have a limit of how many children you can enroll. Or if you’re allowed to enroll new students, your home space may be too small to operate at a greater capacity.
Running into limitations on growth can be discouraging and stressful, especially if you’re ready to offer more. The best part about running your daycare is the potential for serving more families while making a better income for your own.
Knowing what it takes to grow your business is the first step. Create a business plan, set a goal, and reach out to local organizations that can help you explore your growth options. You might need to upgrade your home or hire a new staff member. Do your research and follow the plan step by step.
Daycare Challenge #3: Keeping Up with Administrative Requirements
One great thing about being a home daycare provider is the close-knit community it allows you to nurture. You can provide more one-on-one attention to all your students and keep a closer eye on learning progress all year. But sometimes, being too involved in the everyday activities of the kids can distract you from more business-oriented requirements, like administrative tasks.
Admin work is not something you can afford to skim over or sweep under the rug. Your business relies on you to be a good manager and take care of all the financial and daycare management routines so nothing gets left behind. Tracking your expenses, maintaining accurate attendance records, writing detailed curriculum plans: everything needs a structure.
If you’re missing out on this structure, get some assistance. You can hire an administrative assistant or teacher’s aid. If you already have enough staff members, you can set up a digital system that makes your job easier. There are plenty of effective childcare software tools available for small daycare owners just like you.
Daycare Challenge #4: Parent-Teacher Confidence
Because parents who enroll their kids in your daycare expect a healthy relationship with you as the owner, improving your parent-teacher communication methods can be a challenge. There might be a language barrier. Or maybe whenever a parent picks up their child, you’re too busy running around with the rest of the class at the end of the day.
Parents want to know how their child is doing at daycare. They care about what they learned, how they behaved, and what concerns or struggles they may have. If you can’t communicate openly with each parent, they might start to feel ignored, or feel like they’re not getting their money’s worth.
Open a better avenue of communication with parents by setting up new ways to talk to them. Write child take-home notes that summarize each child’s progress, setbacks, and fun memories for the day. You can also do this digitally with the help of a childcare messaging app, which helps make communication easier for everyone.
Daycare Challenge #5: Competing with Other Childcare Centers
Larger childcare chains can attract a lot of business in the area. They have corporate funding, better marketing teams, and easier accessibility when it comes to new families looking for childcare. Competing with these bigger companies might seem daunting, but there are several ways you can make yourself stand out.
Communities need small daycare centers like yours— the big education centers aren’t for everyone. The great thing about your daycare is that you can specialize in a particular “niche”, such as bilingual education, under-earning families, or the addition of performing arts classes. You can leverage your unique teaching models to attract the perfect customers for your daycare.
It might be smart to establish an online presence with the help of a daycare website or social media. Post flyers or online announcements for open enrollment every year. This gives locals a heads up that your daycare exists and can sign up early. You can also offer referral programs, where existing families get a discount when they refer a new family to your school.
Bonus: Tools to Help In-Home Daycare Providers
As we’ve seen, there are plenty of ways to overcome these common daycare challenges. Automating and managing your business with technology makes life easier for you, your staff, and the families you interact with. Setting up childcare software helps you to more effectively communicate, manage, and grow your business on every level.
With Daily Connect, you don’t need any elaborate systems to address common daycare challenges. All you need is the app and the willingness to embrace digital technology. Daily Connect has everything you need to manage and grow your daycare center, from parent-teacher communication to automatic payments and more.
Get started with your free trial of Daily Connect software today, and see how you can overcome daycare challenges in no time.