As Childcare business owners we focus on planning so much, don’t we?! Whether it’s planning for the day care curriculum or contingency planning, there’s always something. But when we enter the third quarter of the year it can feel like it’s time to take our foot off the gas. So I want to share with you why you must plan to plan in your childcare business now rather than later.
It’s important to know what’s actually coming for your childcare business, and what you want to focus on for the rest of this year. Take time to reflect on where you started this school year and how it’s gone. Then look at your goals.
Now is the perfect time to plan in your childcare business
Right now is actually a great time to plan ahead to revamp your school year sessions. We’re coming out of the first half of the year into the second, and your eyes might be on the end of year targets. However I’d love to encourage you to break that down a bit more and put those under a magnifying glass for a moment.
Break up the targets for the end of the year into smaller tasks and then plan for each of those. Chunking it into bitesize pieces makes it a lot less scary! Write down all the things you need to plan for and then take a look at your diary. When can you fit it in? What can you reschedule to make sure you have time?
But Nyckie I just want to slow down for summer
Oh believe me, I hear you! I too would like to slow down and enjoy the summer. I can picture it right now – we’re out in the yard. The grill is fired up, music is on, I’ve got an iced tea in one hand and the other is high-fiving my gorgeous grand babies…mmmm sounds good right!?
But I also know that I do not want to be panicking when the new beginning of the academic year comes round. So trust me when I see a little bit of planning goes a long way at this point! And if you take time to plan right now, you’ll have plenty of time for that cocktail in the garden later on!
Squeeze in some planning sessions during summer
I always say you have to ‘plan’ to ‘plan’ and schedule it in your diary! Even if you can only make time for just the next quarter, it’s better than nothing at all! It can feel overwhelming, so plan in some short sessions – I like to use the Pomodoro method to keep my brain focused.
Whether you’re a paper planner or digital, take your work outside. Try putting your laptop in a cardboard box to keep the reflections off the screen. Or taking out a giant paper pad and pens to map out your plans.
Plan in some fun after your planning time!
Who doesn’t love an incentive to work? You could block out time in your diary for planning time, but then schedule in something awesome for after. Have a drink with an old friend. Take a trip to the park with your kids. Take-out dinner! Movie night with popcorn and candy! Go as fancy as you like. But it doesn’t need to be. Just something to reward your hard work.
Don’t let the new school year chaos creep up…
Trust me when I say it’s going to sneak up on you! You can avoid that new school year chaos with some planning and clarity. Don’t be running around with blinders on, make a plan and get clear on what the beginning of your new school year will look like.
Allow yourself some planning time and get ahead of the game. The last thing you want to be doing in September is scrabbling round for ideas and a plan!
You’ve got to change it up
Remember that you can’t just stick to the same-old thing. What got you “here”, won’t get you to “there”. You’ll need to review and change things up. You can’t just continue to run on what you did last year, we need to be up-levelling all that we do. What got you to 5 figures won’t necessarily get you to 6. Sometimes you have to pivot, leverage, and up-level.
Also with things like Covid-19, the unsteady economy, and all of life’s little changes you will need to do things differently. But just take a deep breath and get started. No one can predict what this coming year will be like, so make it flexible and don’t be afraid of re-jigging things as the world changes!
The good news is with some time and planning you still have an opportunity to knock it out of the park by the end of the year. Read this blog to discover more tips on planning for success!
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These are held on Thursday nights in my Facebook group. We start at 8:00pm EST, so why don’t you bring a friend?! Join us in there and get connected with other childcare owners. Every week we’ll move your child
care business forward by with tips
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Trust. It’s one of those reciprocal things in life isn’t it? We’ve got to give it to receive it. Often, as childcare owners, we think about the trust parents give us when they leave their babies in our care. They entrust us with their most precious ones and then when they leave us testimonials, that builds the confidence in our business within the community.
In this blog, however, I want to focus on the trust we have in our childcare employees, not just the customers. It’s a huge area to dive into, but one we have got to truly understand if we want to grow our businesses!
And you can’t build confidence in your business and expect them employees to have faith in you and your leadership if you don’t totally trust the team you’re working with. So how can we, as childcare business owners, develop our capacity to trust? How can we create a culture in the workplace that encourages trust? I hope this article will help you find some answers…
Watch out for kids playing your team
Recently, one of the children came up to me when I came out of my office and asked me to go to the bathroom, despite there being 3 other adults in the room. I looked around. They were all there, all available. So I asked her, “why are you asking me, there’s three other teacher in here?” The little girl looked me in the eye and said, “because you’re the boss.” I was honestly quite shocked but I told her, “honey, you need to go and ask one of the other teachers because they are in charge of this room right now.” So she did…
But this got me thinking. If I had said “yes, go on”, I could have easily undermined the other adults in the room who may have already said no. Perhaps the child in question had already been several times and was playing around with the taps. Or this could be an issue their parents are concerned about and my staff know more specifics around the issue at this moment…but whatever it is, I trust my team.
Whatever the kids try and sneak around, it’s always good to remind them that the other adults who care for them are important and they deserve respect.
Parents jumping the authority line
And the same goes if there’s an issue with parents. Encourage families to stay within the chain of command, per se, and not skip straight to you as the owner. Going straight to the top – that presumptuous “I want to see your manager” superiority – seems like something that is becoming more prevalent in society, and that’s dripping into the kids attitudes as well.
Let’s work together with our teams to do things systematically, because actually your team have got the creativity and problem solving skills to cope. They just need the opportunity to flex that muscle! Demonstrate your trust in your team. Politely point out that the staff are well-qualified to support their needs. Unless there is a problem beyond their capabilities, you have confidence in your team to do their best for your business and the families you work with.
Undermining your team members is a way to build distrust and a bad atmosphere in your childcare business. You want to create a morale within your team, to build them up. Show them appreciation and respect by pointing out their skills and directing children (and parents!) to them as figures of authority.
Build trust with your team
You’re trying to grow your business, but to do this it’s incredibly important that you build trust with your team. This can come in various forms! Some of which I can briefly cover here: responsibility, giving feedback, providing support, offering training, communication.
Making other people aware of the responsibilities and delegation you’re giving to individual team members is essential. It shows how much you trust them, and it models to other staff that there’s something to aim for. It keeps them accountable but also helps remind you that you’ve got a fantastic team around you to lean on!
Trust comes from being honest and open, so ensure that you give constructive feedback to your team when you’ve given them a new responsibility or challenge. Tell them how impressed you are with aspects of it, and ask them if they can suggest ways of doing better next time. Put the onus for change on them. You know where they went wrong, so do they. We can all learn here.
Offer support and training wherever you can. Doing in-house professional development training in areas you have expertise, but then getting in a guest expert for other things so you can participate too demonstrates trust on another level.
Be a role model
I’ve previously talked about how I communicate with my teams, we use Slack and WhatsApp to keep us all in the loop, and to motivate each other. Communication is super important.
Part of communication – particularly as educators – is modelling making mistakes and being resilient. This builds trust too. When I own up to something I’ve done wrong – for example if I’ve lost something and blame someone else for tidying it away…then later find it’s actually me who moved it; or if an order went in late and I’m annoyed at the delivery guy…because it’s actually still sat in my outbox because the internet blipped! Whatever it is – I take ownership of my hiccups and I tell the team about them. What have I learned here? (Put things in their place, breathe before getting annoyed, etc…)
The benefits that come with this are that your team feel they can own up to mistakes they might make and know that you’re a safe person to talk to. They can trust you to help them. So I urge you to be a good role model. Don’t put yourself on a pedestal or patronize them. Show them you respect and value them!
How do you build trust with your team?
Over the years, I’ve learned the ins and outs of running a childcare business and I love what I do. I love it so much that I’ve developed a program to support other childcare business owners in building their empires! Women supporting other women is so powerful! And we ought to be raising each other up, right? Sound good? Come and join us over on the Facebook group!
And if you’d like to find out more about becoming a Childcare Ninja, don’t hesitate to get in touch. 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!