If you want to build a thriving child care business, you have to connect with the families you serve. And often, that isn’t easy to do when you have so many tasks to complete to run your daycare.
Finding ways for parents to participate in your center is important, but finding ways to truly connect with them is just as vital. Creating a strong connection is essential to the success of your child care business.
And parents seek the same connection as well, although it can be difficult to do between juggling work and family responsibilities.
What’s the solution? You must get creative and find simple ways to connect with parents on a regular basis.
Let’s explore five ways to build real, business-boosting relationships with your customers!
1. Create a Parent Care Team
What’s a parent care team, you ask? It’s a single person or a group of people whose job is to check in on parents and make sure they don’t have any concerns about your daycare.
If you run a small, in-home child care business, your parent care team will probably just be you. If you own a medium-sized center, your care team might include a few of your teachers. And if you run a large daycare business with multiple locations, your care team might be made up of people whose sole responsibilities are to address parent concerns.
No matter what your parent care team looks like, its objective should be the same: connect with parents and make sure they’re happy with the services your business provides.
Care teams are especially important during COVID-19. Parents might be concerned about child safety or have questions about your sanitation protocols. They also might have questions about your center’s mask policy. Your care team will give them the support they need.
And beyond what your team does, make sure you ask for feedback as well! This shows parents that you really do care about them and their children. It will also give you the insight you need to connect with parents on a deeper level. Then act on the feedback you receive.
When parents feel disrespected, connection is almost impossible. And disconnected parents are much more likely to leave your daycare and patronize one of your competitors. So only ask for feedback if you plan to act on it or will at least be open to their ideas. And if you decide against using a suggestion, explain yourself. Tell parents why you went a different direction. This will help you earn their respect.
2. Send Kids Home With Activities
Connect with parents by giving them fun and educational activities to do with their kids after they pick them up from your daycare to include them in what you’re doing all day.
For example, send kids home with a fun craft to do with mom this weekend or a story to read with dad before bedtime. Then, ask parents to post pictures of these activities to your parent-only Facebook page or any other online community you participate in.
You can live stream yourself doing the craft or reading the story yourself once a month or so, and ask parents to tune in and participate.
How do these things foster connection? They give parents a taste of what you do with their kids on a daily basis, which will automatically make them feel more involved and be included!
Such activities also give you something to talk with parents about and bond over.
3. Prioritize Communication
You can’t connect with parents if you don’t communicate with them.
Make communication a priority by talking with parents at drop-off and pick-up times, sending them a monthly newsletter and engaging with them on social media. This will show parents that you’re ready and willing to connect with them and build lasting relationships.
Remember, true communication is a two-way street. You need to speak and listen. Your ability to listen to parents is just as important as your ability to talk to them.
Set communication expectations with parents. That way they know how often they should expect to hear from you and/or your team.
Do you send out weekly emails? Do you give monthly updates on each child’s learning progress? How do parents get in touch with you when they need to? Are they able to schedule in-person meetings? How do they do this?
These are the kinds of questions you should answer to improve communication with parents.
4. Include Parents in Center Activities
Parents spend most of their time away from your daycare. Depending on how your center is arranged, a parent might go weeks — months, even — without stepping foot inside of your business.
So another way to connect with parents is to invite them in.
There are a few different ways that you can do this. For example, you could:
- Host a Monthly Event: Invite parents and their kids to your center every month for an evening of fun. You could watch a movie and eat popcorn together, or play family friendly games and eat a potluck meal. Whatever you do, make sure to schedule time to meet with and talk to parents during each event.
- Set Up Director Meetings: If a monthly event is too much, scale back and host director meetings instead. A director meeting is exactly what it sounds like: daycare directors schedule time to sit down and talk with parents. This will give you one-on-one time with your customers and allow you to forge connections with them.
- Ask Parents to Volunteer: You can also invite parents into your center by asking them to volunteer. You’ll be surprised how many of them actually want to be involved. Ask parents to volunteer in ways that make them feel comfortable. If a dad loves to garden, ask him to come help plants. If a mom likes to paint, ask her to lead art time.
It’s generally easier to connect with parents in face-to-face scenarios. So invite them into your center and start building relationships the old-fashioned way.
5. Invest in a Parent Engagement Tool
We’ve talked a lot about communication. But if you really want to connect with parents you need to do more than just talk to them, you need to engage them.
Parent engagement is what happens when daycares go beyond simple communication and actively work to involve parents in their child’s development. When these kinds of partnerships are made, children have the best chance to flourish.
How engaged with parents is your center? Take our parent engagement quiz to find out!
Procare’s parent engagement tool takes much of the work out of communicating and connecting with parents.
Procare is used by 35,000 child care businesses to track student attendance, accept payments and balance books, ensure daycare center security and, yes, engage parents so that they continue on as customers of your business.
With Procare you can:
- Facilitate two-way conversations between your team and the parents you serve. All parents have to do is download the Procare app onto their phones.
- Share pictures and videos of daily activities, milestones achieved and more with parents in real time. That way parents don’t feel disconnected from their kids.
- Show parents what you’re teaching their kids while they’re at daycare. Doing so will give parents the insight they need to reinforce your lessons at home.
- Keep parents engaged with a center-wide calendar. With this feature, you’ll be able to promote upcoming events and remind parents of any approaching closures.
If Procare sounds like a tool you want to use, request a free demo today!