Recently I’ve been asked how I manage the vacation situation in my childcare business. After so long in the daycare world, I’ve learned that I am a workaholic and I need to take a break. And I’m sure you’re the same. It’s really hard to step away from the day-to-day running of our businesses because we’re so involved and because we care!
So how do I handle it? How do I ensure that I take a proper break, that my team gets a fair vacation, all while keeping clients happy.
Well here’s a few things I’ve learned along the way that might help you.
Give as much notice as possible
It is super helpful if you can get your dates out to your daycare families and to your team as early as humanly possible. This allows everyone to make plans and come to terms with the dates you’ve set.
You want to get it out in a newsletter in advance of the year ahead. I send a notice out to all my families in November, ready to for the upcoming year. This gives them plenty of notice to find temporary care, or to book their own vacation time from work. It even gives them a chance to book travel!
As much as possible, keep roughly the same date. This doesn’t mean plot out exactly what you’re doing for the next five years on precisely the same dates, just that it makes it easier to remember if you have a vacation in the same month each year. Perhaps you go away for spring break, or for a fall getaway, or you might take a break every August like I do.
Taking a vacation at a similar time each year makes it more memorable for families, ensuring that they can plan ahead and not forget.
The families who’ve been using my services for a long time always feedback that it really helps them figure out their plans. They know that every summer I take a week off in August where I close all my settings and my team also has a break.
Should you close?
As I mentioned above, I choose to close my business for one week each year. It wasn’t always this way. What I used to do was say I was taking a week off, not closing, and letting my team take the reins. However, the reality was that I couldn’t switch off my boss brain. I’d find myself checking in after a couple of days. My break ended up being more like working from home. Which isn’t my idea of a vacation! So a couple of years ago I decided enough was enough. We all deserve a proper vacation time.
As a smaller childcare business, it may be beneficial to close the whole childcare for your vacation time. It’ll save you stress, and ensure you come back refreshed, motivated and ready to be boss again.
A break for everyone
So we now close each year in August. Just for one week. Not only can I recharge my own batteries, it also means that I can ensure that my whole team gets a well earned break, because we all know that if we’re not made to take a break, we’d all just keep on going right?! They need time with their own families, to catch up with friends and maybe even head off on a camping trip.
In terms of organization, it’s also a massive breath of fresh air! No need to schedule in a few days here and there for each member of staff, figuring out if you’ve got enough adults to fulfill ratio requirements. The timetable for staff vacations could give anyone a headache, and if you’ve got more than one childcare facility, that is a guarantee! So trust me when I say it’s been a game changer to just close and all take a break at the same time!
Give an incentive for parents
It might seem like a big ask, but your families know you need a break too. They understand and are nearly always receptive. As long as you’ve given them plenty of notice, they’re appreciative and they love you coming back with a renewed zest for their kids!
You can ask them to partner with you for vacation closure. Offer them a discount on care or even a free week, if you think it’ll ease the blow. Generally I haven’t had to do this myself, but I know it’s helped other childcare owners bridge the gap with their families.
All in all, by taking care of the vacation situation well in advance, you’re making it easier for everyone involved. You can breathe and rest fully on your designated break, in the knowledge that your team are doing the same. Your families all know you’ll be back in a week to welcome them with open arms, and that you’ll be a lighter, brighter team for the time off!
I hope you found that helpful. If you liked this, I wonder whether you’ve found the Childcare Ninja Facebook group yet? We are an army of childcare professionals who are sharing ninja-sharp skills to transform our businesses into childcare empires! This is Childcare Ownership all Grownup! Interested in becoming a part of the community? Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be! And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!