Planning for emergencies: How to handle pressure in your childcare business
Those of us who’ve been in the childcare industry for a while will be well-acquainted with the frequency of emergency situations that occur for us on a weekly basis! However, we still struggle to cover ourselves for every eventuality. So what can we do to improve our ability to handle pressure? How can we relieve some of the stress we feel when it comes to dealing with the situations we face?
In my decades of experience in handling pressure, I’ve learned from all my mistakes so you don’t have to! Let me share with you some things that keep me cool calm and collected – even when the pressure gauge rises to the max.
Keeping up appearances
As for how we handle things that are thrown our way, we’re somewhat different from other industries. This is because a) there’s kids involved, and b) we can’t just drop everything when we’re faced with an emergency. We’re expected to keep up appearances while handling situations. We’ve got our businesses to represent, after all!
So when an emergency situation pops up, we have to maintain a level of professionalism that people in other industries can let slide. And that can be tough when you’re under pressure.
This week I’m focusing on dealing with the pressures we may have when an incident arises, such as kids needing first aid, but handling that in a professional manner and still being able to help deal with the issue, but also keep all the other kids safe.
The last thing you want to do is panic in an emergency, because your concern will cause a ripple effect. First, your staff will freak out and then the children in your care. Neither of these potential disasters is ideal! So, what you need to consider is what will keep you calm and how you can maintain a sense of serenity that the others will pick up on.
It’s really important we stay calm whenever we’re facing a tricky situation. And remaining calm is altogether much simpler when you’re planned and prepared.
Always have a plan to handle pressure
We all know how much I love planning, right?! I can’t emphasize enough how vital it is to plan – in detail – every little part of our businesses. But it’s even more important to ensure that we’ve got plans for emergency situations.
Take time out at the beginning of setting up your business to plan out how you (and your team if you’ve got one yet) will deal with situations that are likely to arise. Really look closely at various possibilities and figure out how you’ll handle them.
It’s a good idea to start putting plans together as soon as you can, so that you’re able to handle the pressures of childcare ownership when circumstances come to challenge you.
Roles and responsibilities
One part of planning out how you’ll deal with emergencies is looking at what role each member of the team would be allocated. Someone needs to be in charge of dialing 911, another can take responsibility for a head count of the kids. Another role might be keeping the kids calm and distracting them from any upsetting situations.
Making sure each team member has set roles for these worst case scenarios is an essential part of your planning. Do you regularly update the responsibilities, bearing in mind that your children will change over time, your plans also need to be adjusted accordingly.
Does every member of your team know what role they play in an emergency?
Plan ahead of time
This is all about being preemptive and proactive. It’s a key part of planning for emergencies! Take action before a situation arises. Get a break down laid out for every potential challenge. And plan well ahead so that you’re not side-swiped by things.
That’s a key thing, to get steps and protocol all organized so that everyone knows what to do if and when something happens.
Much of how we handle the pressure of a developing disaster often depends on whether or not we’ve taken that time right at the beginning to plan out how we’ll address situations and emergencies. And whether our staff are well-informed and aware of their roles.
How they can handle pressure when you’re not there
These steps will also empower your team, because there might be the odd occasion when you’re not in the building to get them ship-shape. But you still need them to know what they’ve got to do and how they’re going to handle the situation.
And because you may not always be there when the situation happens, it’s a good idea to have things written out and accessible so that your team can reacquaint themselves with their roles whenever they feel like they need a refresher.
Ask your team: Do you know what to do if we had an emergency?
It’s also worth remembering that emergency situations aren’t always negative. It’s not all doom and gloom! Occasionally we come across a situation that can be exciting in a positive way too.
Recently, me and the team were faced with just this kind of emergency! A member of my staff team went into labour a little earlier than we had anticipated. However, because I’d taken the time to plan out how we would cope, and because we’d had a run through early enough, when this actually happened we were more prepared for it!
It wasn’t nearly as stressful because we actually had plans in place! We were able to handle the situation calmly and with grace! Things just ran so much smoother. The team came together so well!
I know I like to talk about it all the time, but there’s a reason for that! I totally believe in empowering your staff and making them rockstars in your business. Yes, I truly do believe that. So I urge you to build a team that feels like family!
Time to take action…
When are you going to make a start on crisis planning? Now you know how to handle pressure well in your childcare business, it’s time to take action!
Let me know when you’ve implemented some emergency planning protocols and had some team training to sort out roles. Leave a comment or head to the Childcare Ninja Facebook group to chat about your plans and how you handle the pressures that come with being a childcare business owner. Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be!
In case you were wondering, there are even more resources and ideas for being a childcare owner over in my Childcare Ninja membership – are you in there 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 materials and support to help you grow your Childcare Business.