Every person who runs a family child care business should be continually seeking out child care tips that will make his/her program better. The child care tips I am sharing today will help you boost professionalism.
In my experience, providers who demonstrate high levels of professionalism often have a more successful program than those who do not.
CHILD CARE PROVIDER SALARY
It’s time to think of your child care program as a business run by a sole proprietor (you!). The sooner you think, act, and make decisions like a business the better off you will be.
According to payscale.com, the average child care provider makes $32,065 per year, with a high end around $71,000.
Your income depends greatly upon your enrollment and the rates you charge.
Despite your hourly or weekly rate, enrollment can be ever-changing. The highs are high and the lows are…well… low. You put in the grit and sweat that comes with loving on a really young group of babies and toddlers…but those little buggers keep getting older and eventually exit your program.
Being low on enrollment is stressful.
The record-keeping books don’t lie. Less kids means less income. Less income mean less lattes. (Starbucks. Always the first to get cut from the budget in my house.) Less lattes means…eeshk. Let’s not speak of it.
Anticipating the gap is key.
It’s always a good idea to pause and assess your program and figure out ways you can improve.
WHY PROFESSIONALISM MATTERS IN FAMILY CHILD CARE
Professionalism speaks confidence. It says, “Welcome to my program. I put a lot of work into my job and I love it so much and I just know you will too. Here’s what I have to offer.“
Clients want to know that your program is well thought out. They want to know you are confident about the work you do and that they have chosen the best possible place for their child.
According to Google, professionalism is the “competence or skill of a professional”.
Even though there are days you may feel like an amateur…always show your professional self in any situation regarding your business. Professional development isn’t limited to the training hours and classes you take.
Today I am sharing simple child care tips that you can implement to make your program look and feel more like a business.
7 TIPS FOR CHILD CARE PROFESSIONALISM
1. DESIGN A LOGO
This can be as simple or complex as you want to make it. Design your own on the computer or ask someone to help you. Perhaps you know a graphic designer?
A logo will be the start of building your brand.
Having a brand that is aesthetically appealing can be everything to get new clients interested in your program.
2. CREATE A WEBSITE
This may sound intimidating, but I promise you, there are a lot of companies out there that will walk you through building a simple website and in many cases for free such as Weebly. This child care tip can make a huge impact for your business.
Make sure your site includes the basics:
- A photo of you and/or your family.
- Business hours
- Contact information
- Your early childhood education philosophy
- A few photos of your space (careful here! a photo is worth a thousand words…make sure your shots are absolutely clutter free and lovely to look at)
- A page reserved for feedback from former and current clients
- Your logo
3. CREATE A CHILD CARE BROCHURE OR FLYER
Produce a document (post card, flyer, brochure) that a family can take with them after they leave the interview.
There can be a lot of competition…how will you stand out?
The document should illustrate some of the highlights of your family child care program and include your contact information. Vistaprint is a great option that won’t cost a lot of money.
4. OFFER AN ENROLLMENT GIFT
Have you considered creating something that all new clients receive when they enroll? Add your logo to promote brand awareness!
CHILD CARE ENROLLMENT GIFT IDEAS
- Tote Bag
- Mini Nap Pillow with cute pillow case for preschoolers
- A new folder with a package of stickers for the child to decorate
- A small blanket (if you’re crafty, you could sew one)
- A paperback book with a note inside the front cover from you.
- A pencil box with a few supplies for the child to use while at your house.
- A framed picture of the child’s first day.
- A water bottle with their name or your logo on it. Or both!
5. DRESS FOR THE JOB
Trust me. A person who spends her day getting up and down from the floor 8,357 times per hour has no time for dresses or heels…even denim can be restrictive. (insert: giggle) However, answering the door in sweats and an over-sized t-shirt everyday may not send the right message.
Choose clothing that is comfortable yet professional.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: After about 9 years of talking about making t-shirts, I finally did it. I made sure to order myself 2-3 t-shirts and this allowed me to wear something comfortable, but professional everyday and I was never afraid to get puffy paint or macaroni and cheese on it. Each year I ordered a different color.
6. BEGIN REFERRING TO YOUR CUSTOMERS AS ‘CLIENTS’
A simple change in verbiage can do wonders for your professionalism level. The partnership you have entered into with a family is first and foremost a business relationship.
They are the client.
You are the owner and operator.
7. CHANGE HOW YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR JOB
How do you answer the following question:
“What do you do for a living?”
Do you say…
“I do daycare.”
It’s okay. I’ve said it too.
I’ve also been introduced by my clients with this fun phrase: “This is, Roz. She is my daycare lady”. (Does anyone else feel like they are 95 years old when referenced this way?)
Here’s why I don’t prefer to say “I do daycare”:
Dentists & Doctors don’t say, “I do health.”
Construction workers don’t say, “I do building.
Police Officers don’t say, “I do safety.”
Whether you asked for this title or not, you are an ‘Early Childhood Educator.’
You may not have a teaching license, but you have put yourself in a position in which it is your job to create an environment that will teach young children.
There is also nothing wrong with saying you’re a “Child Care Provider”. That’s a title I was proud to wear and still am. It’s a perfect title.
COMPETING WITH PRESCHOOLS AND OTHER EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAMS
I was forced to shift my marketing stance on how I referred to the work I did in the community, when the push for formal preschool programs was a big deal in my town. Many parents were pulling their 3 & 4 year old children from family child care programs to attend full day preschool.
The idea was that formal accredited preschools were a better option to prepare a young child for Kindergarten. I knew this wasn’t true. I knew my program offered the same services.
When people asked what I did for a living, I started to answer with, “I’m an Early Childhood Educator. I own and operate a Pre-k Program in my home. It’s awesome and I love it.”
It felt good. It felt professional. And dog-gone-it, I rose up to that title fully and owned it. You should too.
Wow, wow, wow…I can relate to ALL you have written here, Roz. And being a “newbie” in the early childhood educator field has a stigma attached to it with parents too. So answering the question “how long have you been doing this”? still makes me nervous vs giving me a chance to show confidence in my program. But I keep learning. And I know so many experienced folks in this field who I am indebted to—including you! Thanks!
Roz Addler says
Great point! I forgot about what it’s like to have to answer that question of “how long have you been doing this?” My advice would be to not stumble over this question. Be confident, not cocky (I know you never would be). I would be 110% honest about where you are at in your career. You could say, “I’ve been in this field for “x” years (or months) and the amount I have learned in that time has been incredible. If you’re looking for someone who has 10-20 years of experience in this field, than I’m not your gal…but if you are looking for someone who is fresh and excited about improving and establishing the best program for each child…than this is the program for you.” (Something like that) Laura- you are such a bright light in this field! Keep going! Thanks for all the incredibly important work you do each day–even though I know somedays might feel like a constant battle of stepping on green peas and changing diapers. Thanks for stopping by the sight and for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it greatly! I look forward to connecting and sharing with you and others! xoxo