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Thursday, July 31, 2008
Ensuring a Parent Pleasing Daycare

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By Grace Chen

If you are going to start a daycare business, then you should be aware of several important factors. First, the hours are long and the pay might not be what you envision. But even more importantly, you should take into consideration the fact that your main concern will be what the parents think of you. Leave a bad impression in the minds of the parents, and you can kiss your daycare career good-bye.

So just how do you keep the parents of your pint-sized clients happy and coming back? Here is a look at some of the top things that parents will be looking at when they come to visit you.

The Facility

Once you have had that initial phone interview with potential clients, they are going to want to see your facility. Leave a bad impression there and you can rest assured that they won’t be coming back for a second interview. Some things to consider:

  • Is your playroom large enough to accommodate several children doing several activities? Are the toys in good condition, well organized, and offer a variety of activities?

  • Is your “quiet room” for naptime adequately childproofed? Are there nap mats and cots and/or cribs for every child? Are beds freshly made? How do you monitor children during the naptime?

  • Is your kitchen clean and well stocked? Are there adequate childproofing methods to prevent children from becoming burned or accessing hazardous materials? If parents provide their own food, how is it stored?

  • Is the bathroom clean? Is there easy access to soap, toilet paper, and diaper changing materials? Are hazardous chemicals stored out of reach?

  • Is your yard fenced in? Do the children have adequate places to play outdoors? Is outdoor and indoor playground equipment up to date and safe? Do they have safety matting underneath them?

Child Safety

Child safety should always be your number one priority when you are running a daycare business. Make sure that every room that the children will be in is adequately child proofed. Pay special attention to entrance/exits from the home, stairs, electrical outlets, the bathroom, and the kitchen. Make sure that all equipment that will be used, from furniture to toys, is in good condition and that hazardous items are stored in a safe place.


While it may sound odd, your daycare policies could be a make it or break it point with parents. Parents want to know ahead of time where you stand on certain issues, and that you will uphold these issues should they come up. Having a policy handbook to send home with the parents can be a good idea. It should include:

  • Your policy on illness, vaccinations, and when parents will be called if a child appears ill.

  • When you are open and holidays you observe and how parents should notify you if a child is not going to attend daycare that day.

  • Your policies for part time day care, early/late pickups, and terminating a contract early.

  • How/when you expect to be paid and late payment charges.

  • Items that parents should send with children and items you will provide.

  • Rules for hygiene, diet, medications, and emergencies.

Day to Day Activities

Another aspect that parents will consider when choosing a daycare is what goes on during the day. Parents will want to know what a daily schedule looks like, what activities you plan out (especially educational ones), if you plan field trips/parties/group gatherings, or other special events, how meal times are run, what you do in an emergency, what your discipline policy is, and other items. If all of this will not fit into your parent handbook, consider having a sample calendar that you can pass out to parents or having parents come and observe a typical day at your center.

Stand out Above the Rest

If you essentially offer the same services as the daycare down the street and at the same price, then you will need to find a way to make sure that you daycare stands out among the others. Things to consider offering that might make you stand out:

  • A policy allowing you to take infants

  • Keeping extra supplies on hand for emergencies

  • Providing educational toys

  • Providing drinks/foods

  • Taking pictures

  • Planning special excursions

  • Providing references

  • And above all, LISTENING to any and all parental concerns and following through with them

Remember, happy parents are the key to a successful daycare business.

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