One of the issues I hear all the time from childcare business owners is that they’re tired of being treated like a babysitter. Not just by the kids but by the parents they serve in the community. It’s a tale as old as time.
But there’s a few things to consider here.
Why are they treating you like a babysitter? Is it your behavior or theirs that’s the issue? And how can we change things up to stop these behaviors?
After 15 years of being a childcare boss, I’ve got A LOT to say about this! Read on to find out what you can do!
Why is being treated like a babysitter a bad thing?
It’s not that being a babysitter is a bad thing, not at all! It’s more that it’s not seen as a profession in its own right. When you hear the word babysitter what do you picture? I have an image in my head of a teenage girl, school files under one arm and a neighbour’s child in the other. And I’d bet yours is similar!
Babysitters are generally older kids looking to earn some pocket money while watching your small kids so you can go on a date or head to a PTA meeting. On top of that it’s usually seen as a job that requires minimal effort – the kids are mostly asleep already. And as such it’s not deemed necessary to have a “qualified” person doing the job. This in itself means that these willing teens are often underpaid and taken for granted.
So when you’re made to feel like a teenage girl despite being a grown-up running an entire daycare center (or more!), it can hurt!
Working on your mindset is where the change is going to come from. Trust me. So here’s some tips!
Think about how you present yourself
Hard truth: If you look like a babysitter you’re probably going to get treated like one. Take a look at your current work attire. Do you just wear athleisure outfits or have you got a set of plain black pants and polo shirts you reserve for daycare hours? I know it’s not practical to go for silk blouses and high heels like you might as a bank clerk! Opt for outfits that communicate to parents, “I’m the boss” and “take me seriously”.
However, this isn’t just about clothes, it’s also about how you carry yourself too. Take pride in your appearance and show it in your posture. Read this blog about boss mindset to help you.
Don’t treat your childcare business like a hobby!
It should really go without saying, but if you want your clients to respect your work and what you do, then you ought to respect it yourself.
Answer these questions:
- Are you opening up on time?
- How do you greet your families?
- How are payments set up?
- Is everything up-to-date?
- Is your space clean and tidy?
- How are you dressing to go to work?
- Do you expect parents to pick up on time?
And if your answers to these don’t sound professional you need to keep reading!
This might sound harsh, but…
If you don’t want your clients thinking of you as a babysitter who plays all day with their children then you shouldn’t run it like a babysitting service.
Run it in a professional way so your clients will treat you with the respect you deserve. It’s all about keeping your boundaries strong.
Lay down those boundaries!
Boundaries are so important. You need to be friendly and approachable but still hold a professional boundary.
Think about it. If you’re opening the gate a few minutes late, dishevelled, and high-fiving all the parents and chatting about personal stuff, what’s that saying about you? When you’re letting them hang around till your snack time starts then you’re allowing them to see you as a kind of babysitter.
Instead, show them that you can keep time by opening up accordingly. Demonstrate that their children’s education is important and has to start on time. Use a group activity to start the day and say, “Right everyone, it’s time for a story – say goodbye to the moms and dads”. Close the door/gate and crack on! If you don’t do that then they are going to treat you as the babysitter where they can bring their kids to you anytime, pick them up anytime.
Start the way you mean to go on
Don’t wait till you resent being treated like a babysitter to make a change. If you don’t do something about your behaviors, you will end up making you feel resentful of how the parents treat you. You might end up feeling upset and this could stop you from fully enjoying your work. Which in turn will trickle down to the children you serve. No one wants that!
Treating your daycare as a business is largely down to mindset. It’s about holding that boundary with yourself as much as the parents. If you don’t start now, your client may switch on you to go and find themselves someone they consider ‘professional’ as their perception of you has been that you just play with the kids and aren’t a proper business.
Don’t go into this thinking you will do it later, as one of the things you may find is when you go to make change or raise your prices your clients may get upset then leave. You deserve success and your business deserves to be treated properly!
To sum up, here’s some quick changes you can make right now!
- Take a look at your wardrobe. Does it convey a professional image?
- Show up to work like you mean business.
- Have a parent guidebook! It’s a practical and simple way to set boundaries and show your professional side too. (BTW we’ve got one of these in The Childcare Flip offer!!)
- Join my new course, The Childcare Flip! Learn how to get clients to choose your childcare business over the competition. Get clarity on what you want your childcare business to look like & stop feeling overwhelmed! Start spending less time in your childcare business and more time with your family. And finally get unstuck and start getting the results you need to grow your business to 6 figures and beyond!
So it’s time to stop allowing yourself to be treated like a babysitter and own who you are – a childcare boss!
STARTING JUNE 28TH!!!
Join the Childcare Flip and learn how to grow, manage, market and automate your childcare business WITHOUT massive startup dollars and oversized buildings so you can LIVE the LIFE of FREEDOM, FLEXIBILITY and FINANCIAL SUCCESS!
If you’re not ready for my course, why not get connected with other childcare owners instead? Get tips every week to move your childcare business forward by joining my FREE Facebook group! Hang out with like-minded and aspirational daycare owners as well as training every other week from me! Or if you prefer Instagram, we share ideas and tips there too. We’re an army of childcare professionals who are sharing ninja-sharp skills to transform our businesses into childcare empires! This is Childcare Ownership all Grownup!