Do tiny toes and chubby legs warm your heart? Does your passion lie within caring for and educating children? Can you sing “Baby Shark” or “The Wheels on the Bus” word-for-word, complete with a choreographed dance? Is “supervision” your middle name? If so, then you may have a bright future as a daycare provider.
14 best tips for daycare providers:
Tips for daycare owners:
- Create clear, concise policies
- Ask for parent/guardian feedback
- Create and maintain a social media presence
- Add value with unique services
- Hire properly trained staff
- Keep the business side of things as simple as possible
- Be reasonably flexible
Tips for daycare providers:
- Keep rules simple and understandable
- Speak with children, not “at” them
- Set a good example
- Be encouraging
- Use activities to teach social skills
- Expect the unexpected
- Practice self-care
If you currently are or plan to be a childcare provider, then this article has been written with you in mind. Without further ado, grab your playdough, blocks, and a favorite stuffed animal, and let’s get to it!
Let’s start at the beginning: what exactly is a daycare?
Daycare is a childcare option where parents drop off their children during the day for care, supervision, and learning. Traditional daycare centers are formal, structured environments with specific drop-off and pick-up times. Daycare centers specialize in the care of infants through preschoolers. However, many daycare facilities also offer before- and after-school care for school-age children.
Be sure to check with your state to determine regulations, licensing, or accreditation requirements. The daycare director should also tell you what type of education and training daycare workers have received.
Continuing with the basics: what is a daycare provider?
A daycare worker, or childcare provider, provides supervision and care for the basic needs of children in childcare facilities. As a daycare provider, you are tasked with ensuring the safety and well-being of children in your care.
Duties as a daycare provider may include:
- Providing care for children, such as setting schedules and routines, grooming, feeding, changing diapers, and cleaning rooms and toys.
- Maintaining a safe workplace by monitoring children for health, behavioral, and emotional issues and reporting concerns to staff and parents.
- Oversee the safety of children in your care.
- Maintain excellent verbal and written communication with parents and guardians.
Now that we’re done with our homework let’s get to today’s lesson: tips and tricks for daycare providers
These tips and tricks are going to be broken down into two separate categories:
- Tips for operating a thriving daycare center.
- Tips for daycare workers/providers.
Grab your favorite crayon and jot these down!
Learn what makes a daycare unique!
7 tips for operating a thriving daycare center:
Owning and operating a daycare center can come with a host of stressors coupled with heaps of joy. Here’s some tips to aid you in reducing the nay’s and increasing the yay’s:
Create clear, concise policies and FOLLOW THEM:
- A successful daycare (any business, really) begins with having a clear, concise set of polices for ALL parents/guardians, children, and staff. Consistently enforcing policies will enable you to handle complicated matters more easily, if (let’s be real, WHEN) they arise.
Ask for parent/guardian feedback:
- Long-term success as a daycare provider is heavily reliant upon word-of-mouth advertising. Google, Yelp, and other social media platform reviews will increase your exposure to future clients.
Create and maintain a social media presence:
- When was the last time you needed a service that you weren’t familiar with? Did you hop on Facebook/Twitter and ask for recommendations? (Don’t lie, you know you did!) The same will apply to potential clients searching for a new daycare provider. Creating and maintaining a social media presence via multiple social media platforms is imperative to recruiting potential clients, updating current clients, and generating interest in your childcare services.
Add value with unique services:
- Does your vision include unique aspects of childcare? Have you invested time, money, and energy into educating yourself on various methods of child education and care? Promote it! Make your daycare center stand out by offering services that may not be available elsewhere.
Hire properly trained staff:
- Staff is not the place to save a buck. To ensure that children are cared for properly, it is imperative that you hire experienced staff or have a quality staff training program in place. In addition to experience or training, it is best to fill your employee roster with those who can share in your vision and mission. Shared passion will result in a more cohesive work environment that benefits everyone (kids included!).
Keep the business side of things as simple as possible:
- Honestly, owning a business is never simple. However, streamlining the process with a detailed, focused business plan (ALWAYS HAVE A BUSINESS PLAN!) will make life a bit less stressful and much, much more manageable.
Be reasonably flexible:
- I’m not asking you to limber up like an Olympic gymnast, it’s not that kind of flexibility. Offering to accommodate the occasional issue will send the message to your clients that you are willing to work with them, and in turn, reiterate your willingness to take care of their child’s distinctive needs, like dietary restrictions, mental health needs, or physical limitations.
A successful daycare facility will always place the needs of childcare at the core of their business. Affording a top-notch childcare experience to your clients, following a clear mission statement, and surrounding yourself with amazing staff will ultimately lead to a wonderful daycare center for both you and the children you serve.
7 Tips for daycare providers:
Caring for children can be a thankless task at times, but ultimately rewarding in the end. Here’s a few tips and tricks that can make being a child caregiver a bit less stress and a lot more YES:
Keep rules simple and understandable:
- As simple as it sounds, regularly discussing and repeating rules with children will aid in their ability to follow them.
Speak with children, not “at” them:
- You will be much more effective in guiding the behavior of a child when you enable them to communicate with you. Speak with them at eye level, give children time to respond, honestly listen, and attempt to find a common ground.
Set a good example:
- Little eyes are always watching, absorbing your every move and interaction. Children see how you respond to situations and will mimic those responses. Show children appropriate ways to share, play, and show kindness with your actions, not just your words.
- Don’t just be a cheerleader, be a coach! When praising children for good behavior, don’t generalize the praise. If you see a child putting toys away, you might say “You did such a great job putting everything away. All the blocks are in the right place, and you even remembered where to put the books!” instead of a generic “Good job”.
Use activities to teach social skills:
- Encourage children to act out different ways to work together to solve an imaginary problem and read aloud books that can teach lessons like resolving problems or overcoming obstacles.
Expect the unexpected:
- When caring for multiple children, things can go haywire in the blink of an eye. You’ll experience children acting out, vomiting, throwing tantrums, and on and on and on. You must take it all in stride and maintain your composure, even if, on the inside, you’re coming unraveled.
- Taking care of yourself is the most important, and often most overlooked, things you can do as a daycare provider. Be sure to take breaks when needed, stay on top of your physical health, get ample sleep, and stay positive!
Time to go home!
Whether you are a daycare center owner or a daycare worker, these tips can help you to achieve your goals in childcare.
1. Do I have to be CPR or First Aid certified to be a daycare provider?
This is wholly dependent upon the state in which you are providing childcare. Many states do not require childcare providers to be CPR or First Aid certified, but it is wise to do so.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
To learn more on how to start your own daycare checkout my startup course and documents here.