This article was written in collaboration with Laura, a family daycare owner who would like to tell you about how she was able to save her business last year. We’ve worked closely with Laura for a few months now, and we’re proud to share her story.
My daycare’s enrollment wasn’t always ideal, but this time I didn’t know what to do. I had only 4 families. That’s the lowest number I’d had since I started 20 years ago. I can remember a time when my waitlist was full of expectant mothers preparing to return to work, a time when I‘d be invited to birthday parties long after the kids started elementary school.
But generations change. Parents are different today – they are always on their smartphones, asking if everything could be emailed or sent as a text. To be honest, it was a little off-putting for me. I’m not sure what was going on, but I knew something had to change if I wanted to keep my business alive. I set a goal to get my enrollment back to 16 by the fall, and went to work.
Several years back, I had been a member of the NAFCC (National Family Childcare Association), but had to stop attending meetings to look after my own family. I reached out to nearby providers and parents for advice, and was glad to see how friendly everyone was, and quick to share. The younger childcare providers had great ideas for how to engage with families and get my waitlist going again. Here are some of my favorites:
1) Go to local baseball and soccer leagues and advertise your daycare with fliers or posters.
2) Go to the mommy groups in the neighborhood because they are getting their kids ready for daycare.
3) Use Nextdoor to spread the word in the community.
4) Go to the local libraries and use the free bulletin board to advertise your service.
5) Have each of your existing families refer at least 3 other families who have children less than 2 years of age.
6) Set up a website for your daycare and put your details there.
7) Set up a Facebook page and have your friends and existing and previous families like it.
8) Use Kinderlime, a messaging app that will help you communicate with parents during the day.
Each of these tips led to more families interested in my daycare, but I think what really helped was that last one — the Kinderlime app. That one was a real eye-opener for me. I loved being able to send pictures to the parents, and I know the parents loved seeing them! I got so many positive responses, I knew it was helping me not only get more recommendations, but also keep my families with me longer.
One of the most fun parts of the app is the Mood option in Activities. Learning how to use that completely changed my relationship with the families. I had all these emoji to choose from, each with a different mood – ? for when a child was frustrated to ? for when she’s having a yummy meal.
As I began sending more mood updates, I could see my conversations with parents become more comfortable. They respond with ?or ? when I send cute pictures of their children, and ? when I let them know that their child had learned how to walk toward the front door with a pair of toy keys while waving “Bye!” I realized that my overall connection with the parents had changed for the better, and that made me feel ?
We’re happy to see how Kinderlime opens up new worlds for families and childcare providers. With this mission in mind, we work hard everyday to make your life simpler by reducing all the paperwork.
? Laura for sharing your story. Keep emojing with Kinderlime. You are close to your goal – only 2 enrollments away from your target of 16 this Fall. We’ll help get you there.
PS: If you want to share your story with Kinderlime, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would love to share your story here.