Childcare inspections: two simple words that give day care owners the heebie-jeebies! I remember feeling really worried about the prospect of childcare inspections when I first started out in this industry. We’ve all heard stories from strangers on the internet and all sorts of anecdotes about how mean inspectors can be.
However, I’m here to set the record straight about why inspections aren’t as scary as they seem and help you see things from a different perspective.
If you’ve not had your first inspection yet, it might be worrying you. Or maybe you’ve got the inspection blues? Either way, read on to find out why we shouldn’t see the inspections as a negative.
Why do we even need to have inspections?
In my opinion, there are three main reasons that inspections matter.
Firstly, the kids’ health and safety. Research shows that states with strong licensing regulations, but lacking in routine inspections, don’t protect children from harm. Inspections of childcare programs by licensing agencies etc are important because they help to make sure that the State’s rules are being followed. This is vital for protecting children’s safety. And we’ve all got their best interests at heart, right? That’s why we’re here doing what we do best!
Next up, parental choice. Imagine you’re a parent trying to choose a day care for your precious little one. You need to make a shortlist of settings without spending hours driving around your local area. How are you going to do that? Wouldn’t it make sense to have a quality rating that helps you compare day care centers? Exactly! That’s part and parcel of what inspections can help with.
Finally: they can help you shine. I like to think of inspections as a way of figuring out where I can improve. Try and twist it into a positive experience – something to look forward to. How can I demonstrate that I’m the best?! What can I do to get to the next level of quality rating?
The inspection process can feel super stressful but it doesn’t have to be. Speaking from experience, I find that if you take a minute to practice inhaling and exhaling slowly it can really help you calm down. I know that these inspections can feel like a massive inconvenience, or like they’re out to get you but if you focus on the job at hand and put certain things into play, you can get through them.
Sort out your inspection mindset
Yup. Mindset matters for this too! Often we approach these sort of things with a negative mindset, assuming the worst and overthinking before the inspector has even set foot in your establishment! What good is being negative for the inspection? Is it going to help you get a good rating? No!
So, it’s really important that you take some time to step back and detach yourself from the situation. Take your emotions out of it and understand that this inspection is absolutely nothing to do with your abilities as a human being or anything at all personal. It’s purely about whether your childcare meets the regulations required by your state.
If you feel the negativity creeping in, remind yourself of your why! Tell your inner critic that you’re going to prove to the inspector what a badass childcare business owner you are!
They’re not the enemy!
We need to understand that the inspector isn’t the enemy! I know we hear those dreadful horror stories all about bad inspectors finding the tiniest of issues with how owners run their businesses – i.e. nit-picking! – but they really aren’t all “bad eggs”. So, while the rather irritating nit-picking behaviour can happen on occasion, it’s more helpful to go into it with a different approach.
So instead of assuming the worst and predicting that they’re coming to tell me what’s wrong, how about making the conscious decision to view it differently?
Gain valuable insight
What amazes me is that we all seem to forget that these inspectors are a.) human and b.) often experts in the field themselves! As such, they might even have been childcare business owners once upon a time! So why not make the most of their support?
Surely you could begin to see an inspection as a chance for someone from the outside to give you tons of valuable input and ideas. Actually, inspections are a rare chance to get an external perspective from someone who might help you make things better in your day care.
I found that reframing the way I thought about inspections and how I approached them was an absolute game changer! When you’re able to focus on the truly important thing: preparing things rather than worrying unnecessarily. When I looked at it from that perspective rather than seeing them in a negative way it was became a fantastic opportunity for growth!
Have you had an inspection yet? How did you prepare for it?
Mindset comes up so much in business, even in this there’s a chance to have a growth mindset. So don’t make yourself overwhelmed, get out of your head and see it in a new light, it’s a game changer! I’ll be talking about this and how to get over the inspection blues over in my Facebook group, so come along!
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