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Five ways to set yourself above your competition

I LOVE WHAT I do. I love the kids, I love that these families begin to think of me as a friend and family, and I love being a small business owner. I have control of my work environment, my hours and who I do business with.

It can feel like a very delicate balance between friend and service provider/business owner as a Family Child Care Provider. I find the following help me establish those boundaries in a professional manner that also emphasizes the flexibility and personal care Family and Group Child Care bring to the families we service.

• Be sure you have clear policies regarding schedules: standard hours, schedule change notices and, most importantly, what the boundaries are for flexible schedules.

• Publish your Rate Schedule: if you are seeking new enrollments, have a published rate schedule & don’t be afraid to ask more for younger children or infants, or to charge a late fee if a Family consistently is late for pick-up.

• Share Activity Schedules or standard Lesson Plans for “A Typical Day” so they see the value you add. You are not just an alternate babysitter service – you educate and expand their child’s horizons.

Daily Communications
• Provide a daily end of day update – call it what you will – Daily Contact Sheet, Portfolio, Journal, Infant Updates. Make these as professional looking as possible. Or you can maintain a whiteboard centrally located to jot down information to transfer to paper during naptime. Alternatively, there are some great software options for capturing naps, diaper changes, food and the activities for the day so you can print or email to Parents.

• Maintain a template for delivery of routine written updates on your Observations on potty training, social skills and other development steps. Scheduling a set time every few months to go over these and discuss coordination of what the Parents are working on with your daily efforts ensure smooth transitions.

There are a number of great resources to support your efforts. The documents discussed above are available as templates from several industry sources and can be reproduced on a home printer or any big box office supply store. These 5 easy steps can set you apart from other Family Child Care Providers and even compete with large Centers.

By Michelle Sleicher
Family Child Care Provider