Remember the good old days, when you opened the doors to your childcare with a smile stretched from ear to ear and you quickly flung open your door excited to begin your morning. Oh yes, the good old days!
Do you still have that same excitement and drive when you start your day now? Have you started taking a little longer to get to the door? Is the smile still from ear to ear or do you have more of a grin instead of a smile hiding behind that morning cup of Jo?
Ok, this is the help you’ve been searching for to begin getting your childcare mojo back. This week, we’re going to take a look at 5 simple things you can do in your childcare business to begin getting that excitement back in your life. Lets face it sometimes this #childcarelife can be draining and lonely so let’s get started asap!
Tip #1 “S” is for Systems and sanity too!
Hopefully you have taken some time already to complete your childcare business map so that you better understand and are no longer underestimating ALL the work you really do (if you haven’t done this step yet, I encourage you to do it before tackling these tips). If you’ve done your map already then it’s time to put it to use. Your childcare business map will give you back some sanity because it’s going to help you identify the areas in your business that need systems and make it much easier for you to create those systems. Woohoo!
No matter how small (or big) your childcare is, Systems Work! Having a system or systems in place will allow you to easily gauge what is working and what isn’t. They can help you know where and when to bring in help and once you get help, systems make training that help smooth as a babies foot (just checking to make sure you’re paying attentions ; ) . Sanity is a good thing to have and putting systems in place in your childcare business can help you regain that lost necessity! Say it with me ‘woosah’!
Tip #2 Develop your delegation muscles!
I mentioned in tip #1 that systems can help you determine when it’s time to get help, this is so true but you have to be willing to get the help. One of the things I struggled with in the early years of my childcare business is getting help. Part of me thought I was too small to really need “help” in my business. Let’s get one thing straight right now…YES!!!! we childcare professionals have a few super powers, however, even the Avengers work better as a team! And don’t worry (in case you’re thinking you can’t afford a “team” yet) when I say team I’m by no means suggesting you go out and hire additional employees that you can’t yet afford. There are plenty of college students that need a few extra dollars and have time between their classes to take on a part time job, it’s even better when these students are studying in the early childhood development field. Contact the local colleges and see who might be looking for a part time gig with kids. Also, don’t just look for the help that can work with the kids. Seek out the business admin student who can help keep your social media sites running or update your website for you (with your final approval of course). Lastly on this note, if you are fortunate to already have a staff or team in place, then don’t underestimate their hidden skills and talents. One of my team members was born to do “all things social media” so she’s my go to in that area when I’m stuck and her excitement level has increased because it is something that she loves.
Tip #3 There’s an App for that
There really is an App for just about everything. Since there currently are no AI babysitters though, I think our careers are still in the safe zone ; ) . There are so many Apps out there that sometimes it’s just overwhelming and too frustrating to try and pick the ones you need and then learn how to use them best. For this reason, I’ve put together a short list for this post of Apps that work great for childcare professionals. The other thing that I’ve noticed is the moment someone adds “childcare” to the title of something the price usually jumps to an amount that makes us want to say some unprofessional little words. The Apps in this list all contain FREE versions that provide enough features to help make your small-mid size childcare business more efficient and get stuff done!
1. Canva– This application is great for creating all kinds of marketing material and the learning curve for the program is fairly short, even for a non-techy childcare boss.
2. Timetracker– Is bound to be a well loved app by both the payroll manager and your staff/team. This app makes it easy for your team to track their hours and email their totals to your payroll manager. Super easy to set up and use.
3. Asana– So helpful in having a visual of your systems. The Asana app helps you keeptrack of everything. Projects, schedules, emails, everything in one place for easy access with reminders to help you stay on task!
4. Calendly– More than just a calendar. Calendly will allow your potential clients, new hire or any other individual you may need to meet with the ability to schedule a meeting (whether online, in person) direct from your website. No more back and forth emails or phone calls, you set the times you’re available to meet and they choose a time from the website. Easy as 1-2-3!
This list is by no means complete but so often we are duped into purchasing Apps and software because “childcare” is added to the name but there are options out there that are less expensive and often times free that can accommodate the general needs we have, so don’t be suckered in, be SHARP!
Tip #4 Go to school
Just kidding! Well…sort of. I’m not talking about going back to get another degree or anything (unless of course that’s what you want to do), I’m referring to utilizing what we all have in our very own communities…SCHOOLS! One of the best investments I made in my childcare business was building a genuine relationship with the teachers and staff at the schools we transported children to. This works even if you don’t provide transportation, just introducing yourself to the staff and teachers and letting them get to know you can provide you with not just referral traffic but also summer help. Many teachers and staff look for jobs in the summer to bring in extra income while not working. It’s a plus for the kids because they can keep their brains running in the “off season”, parents like seeing teachers working at childcares it makes them feel more confident about their choice, it helps boost your value now that you offer tutoring services and believe me there are so many more benefits. When teachers in your area know that you are invested in the children that they serve and teach it is a win, win for everyone. Go to school and grow your business!
Tip #5 Meal planning 101
Sometimes the things that set you apart in your childcare business can be the biggest headache. For me this category would be meal planning (or at least it use to be). Providing meals for children in childcare settings is not just about “feeding the children”. Balancing nutritious meals with food items that kids will eat is not as easy as it sounds and I’m sure you can probably relate. To help us feed our little people healthy, delicious meals with less stress we implemented the following. School menus are a great source of inspiration and since most schools and childcares both utilize some sort of state funded food reimbursement program, pretty much all of the meals will still fall within the guidelines they require. Take a couple school menus (breakfast included) and use them as your skeleton menu. Tweak and adjust your menu based on the likes/dislikes and allergies of the children you care for. This strategy will also allow you to have a built in shopping list that can help you purchase in bulk and more efficient. This trick has saved us massive time when trying to think of and research healthy meals that meet the guidelines and kids will eat. Keep in mind that you can also utilize one of those college students to work on this project for you.
These are just a few tips that have helped me better allocate my time and resources in my childcare business. Though these tips are pretty simple they are extremely helpful, they don’t take long to implement and have had a major impact on the growth of my childcare business. I hope they will help you as well. Start with one tip and you’ll begin to see the “fruits of your labor” in no time and that 1/2 grin will be a full blown smile again!
*Please let us know what tips you found helpful or what tips have helped you grow your childcare business, and as always let us know what skills in your toolbox need sharpened, we’re here to help!
#childcarelife #childcareninja #childcareboss