This week I’m zoning in on why it’s super important for you as a childcare business owner to “know thy staff”. You might think you know them a little already – because you hired them – right? But how well do you really know them? And what do you do to ensure you’re getting the very best out of every single member of your team?
Over the many years that I’ve been running and growing my daycare centers, I am constantly learning that it is a vital part of my role as a business owner. I need to be appreciating the variety of my team members’ backgrounds and embracing all their quirks! Celebrating their unique approach to their work, and supporting them where they need to up their game.
None of this is easy, but I highly recommend taking more notice of your staff. Get to know them and help them flourish! I’m going to explain a bit more about why you need to do this to grow your business, but also how you can do this!
One size doesn’t fit all
When you carry out your interviews for team members, I bet that you look for specific skills, don’t you? You’re not looking for a cookie-cutter childcare worker. You’re hoping to find the team member with the abilities your team are currently missing. So what happens once you’ve found that person? Do you hire them and expect them to be like everyone else?
I implore you to take a look at the staff you’ve recently employed. What training have you offered them? Was it generic training – a one size fits all approach – or did you tailor it to suit their individual needs? This would be a great opportunity to do a skills audit and find out where the gaps are. Professional development is only useful and worth the time and money if there’s learning taking place!
(I just want to point out that it’s funny really, because – as childcare and education specialists – we pride ourselves on our ability to differentiate the learning for the babies in our care…but when it comes to our staff, we rarely do the same. Interesting to note, isn’t it? We should be paving the way for other industries, not doing what they all do!)
All walks of life
I bet that your team are as varied as the plants in your local park! Have you taken time to truly appreciate their backgrounds and unique experiences? Perhaps you could look back over their applications and resumes, or have an informal chat with each team member to figure out how best you can accommodate their needs and demonstrate an appreciation of their individual pathways into childcare.
Get to know your staff and really show them that variety is the spice of life and that you embrace it all! Be inclusive and ensure everyone feels welcome and supported in their journey with you in your business. Valuing your team members for where they’ve come from shows that you truly care about them, and those things shine through to families interested in your services.
Know thy staff to help them
Once you’ve made an effort to get to know your staff you can then help them more. This could be in the simplest form of training opportunities. For example, if you have staff that also happen to be parents, you might want to consider ways you can help them in order that they can be both brilliant parents but also a superstar childcare practitioner in your daycare. What adjustments can you make to help them, which in turn will help you.
Something simple and easily achieved is that you could look into putting all your trainings online. By creating digital training videos, you are saying to those team members with kids (or other caring responsibilities) that you appreciate that they’ve got priorities outside your facility, and that you care, but that you also want to help them grow their skill set. And by making things easier for them to access from home, you’re signalling this to them! They can watch at home, but still ask questions via an app like Slack to clarify things. It truly is the little things that make a difference.
So get to know them, take time to observe them. Be open and flexible. You want them to do their job better, but they won’t get there if you don’t notice what they need first.
Tools for getting the best from your staff
When it comes to enabling your team to their best, there’s three things that immediately pop into my head.
- The directions and instruction they need to get the job done. This is where your leadership matters. Steering your team along the right path, but knowing when to back off and let them shine. Trust is a huge factor here too.
- The physical resources that they need to perform their role well. For example, something as simple as crayons or curriculum sheets, or perhaps iPads for recording observations and notes, or play equipment.
- The soul – how you relate to your teams. Build a reciprocal and valuable relationship with staff.
This third point matters a lot. Because the way we deliver criticism is important. This in itself is a really useful tool. And just like any tool from your garage, you need to utilize it in a way that will get the job done well!
So, when you’re offering a critique, do it in a useful and constructive way so that they can learn from their mistakes. For example, I would point out something they’ve done well first, before highlighting something that needs work. And then cushion the blow with another positive. So you’ve given them a learning point but haven’t totally demoralized them in the process.
You want them to come away from your correction feeling like they understand the point you’re making. It’s all about encouraging and making learning a positive experience – just like we do with the kids, right?! Staff should be able to receive your critique and feel empowered to move forward, not like they should pack up their things and leave.
Finally, by knowing your staff really well, you can really support them in their journey to becoming the rock stars they’re destined to be in your childcare business! And a rock star team = customers who rave about your business! And that’s what we’re all aiming for, right?! When you know thy staff, you can grow your business into the successful vision you know it can be.
I hope you’ve found this blog super helpful. If you have, share it with a friend!
Also, if you liked this, I wonder whether you’ve found the Childcare Ninja Facebook group yet? 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! 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!
If you’ve worked with a coach or you’ve been part of a life-changing membership, you’re likely to have experienced change. Or what I like to call “The Metamorphosis Experience” or “ME Experience”.
Because this week we’re not thinking about the baby steps. Nope. We’re diving in deep with the big stuff.
So, what does this sort of change look like?
Growing through change
Change is often difficult, stressful, and anxiety inducing. Not being in control can bring on feelings of insecurity and put your body into fight or flight mode. However, change is – for the most part – a good thing. The benefits that come from the growth we go through can be countless. But as Brené Brown teaches us, you can only get to courage through being vulnerable.
One thing I’ve learned over the years I’ve been a childcare business owner is that when you allow yourself to be vulnerable and start investing in yourself you become accustomed to change. It’s part and parcel of the process. Instead of worrying about the approaching change, you begin to trust in your own choices and the universe. You have a faith in yourself that you didn’t have before. And that, my friend, is super powerful.
After I stopped putting off investing in myself, and started doing things that were going to help me grow as a business owner, I saw huge changes. Looking back it’s kind of funny, really, that it took me so long to believe. I am now a much better leader because I’ve made this change.
There’s a monumental change in the way your mindset works when you decide to invest in YOU. You begin to prioritize the things that you know will help you to grow. No longer do you waste time on the things that don’t serve you. Instead, you understand that by investing in yourself you can’t possibly go wrong.
You begin to notice the things that seemed important aren’t really, and that your self-development and growth is fundamental. There’s no more putting yourself to the bottom of the To Do list. Because you know that you – and only you – can grow your childcare business to be the best it can be.
Suddenly, you find yourself saying “I can” instead of “I can’t”. There’s a shift in the language you use in your everyday conversations. Those slips of self-deprecation are long gone, and have been replaced by positive affirmations and an innate sense of self confidence. You respond to tricky situations in a totally different way. Instead of reacting to things as we once did, you’ll be able to take a deep breath and the words that come won’t be angry or from your scared inner child.
Going through the Metamorphosis Experience changes the way you speak and interact with the world. Your language becomes more constructive and those around you begin to notice too. And this is great for your team because you’re role modelling what growing and self-development looks like.
After your metamorphosis, you now come at things from a different angle. You’re pro-active not reactive. It’s like a sixth sense. You know what needs to be done and you do it. Procrastination becomes a thing of the past because you are not afraid of making mistakes anymore. And taking action and doing the things that are hard and uncomfortable brings with it further satisfaction. Taking action feels good.
You spend less time scrolling social media, or hanging out gossiping with friends and get laser-focused. You choose to spend your time wisely, learning, doing the work, growing. Not shutting yourself off, but just prioritizing the things that matter – YOU and your metamorphosis!
No more putting things off. You’ve had the ME experience and now you’re on a road to greater things. You know it, the universe knows it. Bring. It. On!
Looking at your surroundings
One of the hardest things about your metamorphosis is taking a look at your environment. Not just the space itself, but the people in it. Surround yourself with the doers, the creators, the people who inspire you.
When you’ve invested in yourself, you start to see that there are some people in your life who begrudge your growth. They want to keep you small. Those people are not your people, okay? They’re toxic. I learned fairly swiftly that I needed to have positive women who “get me” in my circle, not the ones who want to keep me from dreaming big. Read more about that here.
Is it time for you to a true metamorphosis experience?
I’ve got a group coaching experience beginning in October that is ideal for you if you’re looking to invest in yourself; if you’re ready to go through some HUGE changes to make progress in your self-development and your business. I want to help you become the best you can be, so I’ve created: “The Simple Childcare Ownership Program“!
It’s a 10 week program that offers you tonnes of value for money. The perfect investment! Become a leader in the childcare field bycoming together and sharing experiences with like-minded women in a private, exclusive community. In creating this especially for you, we’ve taken great care to ensure that the program is content-centered, offers you results-driven experiences that will inspire and motivate you to challenge yourself and grow into the childcare business owner I know you can be! Find out more here.
If you’d like to see more like this and chat with other childcare business owners, I wonder whether you’d like to head over here: Childcare Ninja Facebook group! Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be!
While you’re here, are you in the Childcare Ninja membership yet? 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! It’s full of exclusive resources and support to help you grow your Childcare Business.
It sounds like a mammoth task, doesn’t it – “Opening your first home childcare”?! Appears to be pretty daunting, hey? But breaking it down into bitesize pieces is going to help you. Just try to focus on each thing you need to get done, and don’t let yourself get caught up in the overwhelm of starting a new business.
Starting my first childcare business in my family home was a huge learning curve for me. You’ve really got to be sure that this is something you want to do. It’s no longer a case of having your kids’ friends over for dinner, it’s your livelihood. There are regulations and guidelines you’ve got to follow. This is a commitment! But it is soooo worth it!
Why home childcare?
My reason for setting up my first business as home childcare is pretty common, I guess. I wanted a job where I could balance my home life and work, that used my skills and stretched my intellect. It gave me the chance to be my own boss, but still be at home when my baby girls got back from school. Caring for other people’s children in my own home meant I could be around to support my own kids. There was also the added bonus that if there was a performance on at the school, I could make it an educational field trip for the day care!
Still feeling a little unsure? Never fear, lovely Ninjas! As a seasoned childcare business owner, I have some tips to share with you. We’re going to get you feeling organized, confident and ready, so you’re not frazzled when you open the doors!
Get your mindset ready
When you’re opening your first home childcare it can feel a little strange. You’re essentially turning the place where you live and sleep into a work place. And that is a pretty scary thing to do! So what you need to do is develop strategies that get you in the right mindset. These will help you keep a balance.
The way we approach our challenges often sets out how they’re going to be. For example, if you rush around in a frenzy setting up your home childcare the reality is that you’ll probably end up running your business in the same way. I believe that being organized, calm and confident in my abilities will set me up for success, and it’s the same for you.
Surround yourself with positive messages and people who believe in you. Put post-its on the cupboards reminding you that “you are awesome” and “You’ve got this”, and get some dollar store frames and print off some posters with affirmations on them – make your own on Canva or use this template. Here is a really great article with some business specific affirmations for you to read. I love this print from the talented British designer, Ruthie who runs “Ohverlee“.
Make sure you’ve got a space at home that you can go and reflect in at the end of the working day. Somewhere calm, child free and relaxing, where you can light a candle or be creative. I’ve written more about creating a space for yourself here.
Plan, plan and plan some more
This is super important and will make opening your first home childcare feel easy breezy! Making plans and putting them into action is how you are going to run a successful childcare business, so let’s start off the way we mean to continue, right?
With opening your first home childcare, you’re bound to be on a tight budget, so planning is key. So, first of all, you’ve got to plan out your space. What do you want the parents to be buzzing about when they visit? What do you want the kids to notice? Think about what you’re offering families and plan out how that’s going to work. Take time to figure out the curriculum – will there be a theme each week or month? Plan out activities you’d like to try and trips you’d like to make – this’ll get you ahead of the game!
Plan out how you want each day to look. Will you begin each day with a story? Will the kids be allowed to free-flow into your outside space (if you have one) or will there be set times?
Plan out meals you might prepare each month taking care to have a healthy balance and not too much repetition. Then you can get list ready for grocery shopping. It doesn’t matter that you’re not open yet. This is going to save you time when you are!
By breaking down each part of the business, and planning it out, you can then start thinking about systems!
Start with systems
Before you open your home childcare, it’s a good idea to have some systems in place. Everyone who knows me, knows that I am systems obsessed – and for good reason! It’s how I have grown my childcare business and it’s how I stay sane! By being organized, and using systems, I have more time for the fun stuff!
The way I do this is I write down all my plans – every area of the business, every little task – and I then look at ways I can simplify or put a system in place. This ranges from staffing to hygiene, food to safety! I have systems in place for everything. And I cannot stress how essential this is if you want to start off on the right foot. You might change the systems once you get going, but it’s good to get organized in advance of opening.
Download your free childcare business map here and I’ve written more about planning and systems here.
Hopefully you’re now feeling a little more prepared and ready to begin this journey? And perhaps more motivated to get started on organizing yourself?! I love hearing about how other people go about setting up their childcare businesses, so please leave a comment below or drop me an email with how you’re doing.
This is such a great industry to be in and it’s why I set up my membership to help other women become successful childcare ninjas as well!
My community of Childcare Ninjas is here to help with tips and advice, and to support you while you’re opening your first home childcare business – and beyond!
Please tap into the hive mind over in the free Facebook group, and if you want to join the Ninja Membership head here now to reserve your spot! And don’t forget to follow @ChildcareNinjas on Instagram for more ways to grow your business!