As a childcare provider, you want to offer the best service possible to the families who trust you with the care of their children. But how can you do this in a way that sets you apart from other daycares? Read on to learn the ten best tips to make your childcare center stand out from your competition.
What Makes a Childcare Center Stand Out?
Three key things make an exceptional childcare program. Consider these the “Three E’s”.
- Engagement: This encompasses all the ways that you interact with your childcare clientele, from children and staff to parents and the public.
- Environment: What is the indoor and outdoor environment like? Do families feel welcomed, comfortable, inspired, and cared for? The overall atmosphere of your childcare center says a lot about the program.
- Experience: Every experience a child has at your facility holds weight in the eyes of a parent or guardian. Daily activities, your disciplinary approach, and learning outcomes all reveal what you have to offer compared to the rest of the local childcare options.
A 2019 survey on early childhood care arrangements found that parents’ top criteria for choosing a childcare center (in order of priority) are:
- Flexible times for care
- Staff qualifications
- Program activities
- Learning opportunities
When looking for top-quality childcare, parents don’t just want to know not only what makes your childcare center different. They also want to know why that matters and how you’ll be invaluable to their child’s early development. Here’s how to make it clear.
1. Put Relationships First
You run a business that’s both social and relational at its core. In fact, it’s likely you got into childcare because of your caring personality and compassionate drive to help kids in your community. But to truly stand out from any average childcare provider, all your employees have to genuinely connect with families on a personal and professional level.
How do your employees carry themselves? Do your staff members exude the attitudes and actions you want your program to represent? How is parent-teacher communication? Lackluster relationships throughout your business often result in mediocre care. Strive for healthy relationships all around, as it sets a foundation for the whole customer experience.
2. Prioritize Your Childcare Facility
The physical condition of your childcare center matters not only to families and children but to state licensing inspectors as well. Neglecting the cleanliness of your facility or running a class size that’s too large could potentially put you out of business.
Indoor and outdoor equipment should be clean, functional, and safe. Age-appropriate materials and toys are encouraged so families and inspectors can see how kids interact. Make a monthly task to clean and decorate the classroom. Keep things educational and playful while showcasing student progress on class bulletin boards.
You want useful equipment (but not too much) and a mentally stimulating learning environment (but not too distracting). If you ever want to scale your childcare business, consider moving to a bigger facility so you can maintain accurate staff-student ratios.
3. Share Your Philosophy
Get clear on what your mission statement is: why is childcare important to you? What do you hope to offer the families who enroll in your program? What has your educational or personal background taught you about child development?
You can explain your learning philosophy to prospective parents, on your website, or during employee training. People don’t make childcare decisions solely based on what is tangibly offered— they also make decisions based on emotions and beliefs. Your philosophy might be the only one that aligns with what a parent is looking for in a daycare. Share it.
4. Invest In Branding and Website Design
Branding your business and having a website for people to browse can bring in new families with ease. Using best childcare website practices like optimization and marketing, customers can find you while searching for childcare in their area.
5. Utilize Your Love for Childcare to Educate Others
If you love education and networking, seek leadership opportunities outside of your own business. By being of service to your larger community, you can establish yourself as an expert, thought leader, and friend.
Think about what specific childcare topics you’re passionate about. Could you teach a parenting course about how to encourage naps in stubborn sleepers? Do you have a recommendation for the local education district? Have you always wanted to start a support group for single moms?
Contributing free, supplemental resources show you’re serious about child well-being. This can build trust with your community and attract new customers along the way.
6. Offer Multiple Pricing Packages
Today, parents live unconventional lives. For many, there’s no standard nine-to-five work schedule anymore. Parents want childcare options that work for their lifestyles.
Make your childcare center stand out by offering multiple programs and pricing packages. For example:
- Full-time childcare (4-5 full days a week)
- Part-time childcare (2-3 partial days a week)
- Flexible childcare (1-3 days a week, partial or full)
Some childcare providers choose to negotiate with families on scheduling, pricing, or both. Consider tuition and parent billing options that work best for your business and the families you serve.
7. Host Events and Fundraisers
Plan seasonal events at your childcare center. Holiday parties, barbecues, and fundraisers are great ways to bring families together and nurture your customer relationships. It also makes kids feel excited and connected, which is important for social-emotional learning.
While other childcare centers might do the bare minimum, supervising kids until the parents return for pick-up, you can go above and beyond to establish a tight-knit community.
8. Contribute to Employee Development
Every one of your staff members is different. They may be with your business long-term or for only a season as they pursue higher education. No matter what the case may be, pour into team development.
Your business wouldn’t be possible without your employees. Coworker camaraderie is essential to the overall communication and success of your childcare center. Your team has to operate with a good balance of fun, maturity, problem-solving, and trustworthiness.
While employee development might not be obvious to parents looking for childcare, the underlying result will be clear in everything you do to manage your childcare business.
9. Create Enrichment Programs
Are there services offered at your childcare center that others don’t have? Think about what makes your program one-of-a-kind.
Maybe you have bilingual staff and offer a multilingual program for cultural diversity. Or perhaps you tend a class garden where students learn to grow vegetables. Do you have a knack for introducing kids to STEM? Make sure you highlight any enrichment options at your daycare. If you don’t have any, consider creating some.
10. Use Technology to Enhance the Parent Experience
In childcare, one of the best ways to stand out from your competition is to have some sort of technology that parents can use to interact with you. Childcare apps like Daily Connect allow parents to pay bills online, access a shared childcare calendar, and receive important text and photo updates from childcare providers.
Thanks to childcare software, parents can stay involved throughout the day instead of missing out on their child’s precious milestones. This option truly stands out for families looking for quality childcare they can trust.
To learn more about how to differentiate yourself from other daycare options and effectively manage a successful childcare business, reach out to Daily Connect for a free trial today.