build credibility for childcare

I think one of the biggest things we struggle with as providers, especially if we are new to the profession, is how to build credibility for our childcare business.  

I mean here we are trying to convince complete strangers that we are capable of taking care of one of the most precious things in their lives; their child.  So today, I thought we would see what ways we could build credibility for childcare providers.

A childcare provider is very often plagued with the reputation of merely being a glorified babysitter.  What is most helpful in shedding this persona is conveying what makes us qualified as a professional caregiver.

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Strategies to Build Credibility for Childcare

10 NO-FAIL strategies for building professional credibility as a childcare provider:

  1. Personal experience – It may sound simplistic, but the first thing we need to do is to look at what we bring to the profession organically.  What do I mean?  Well if you are a mother (or father) you have qualities that come with the on the job training a parent gets.  Now that doesn’t mean you know everything about parenting.  What it does mean is you can identify with new parents and the struggles they go through.  So make a list and take stock of how much and what you know about children.  build credibility for childcare
  2. Take a course in Child Development – One of the single most beneficial steps you can take as a provider is to become knowledgeable in the field of Child Development.  It can only benefit you as well as your clients to have a background knowledge in the developmental stages of the children you will care for.  Check out your local community college, Lynda.com or even YouTube for resources for building your knowledge base.
  3. Certifications – If you do decide to take a child development course, aim toward the ones that provide some sort of certificate at completion.  Parents like to see that you are who you say you are.  Certificates confirm your dedication to a continued knowledge of your profession.
  4. Workshops – Just as a college course can provide extensive knowledge in child development, a workshop can give you tools.  Specific tools for implementing things like curriculum, scheduling, communications with parents, etc.  Request information from your local childcare resource center about upcoming workshops and take one or two.
  5. Associations – Just as any other profession has associations, so do childcare providers.  There are national as well as regional chapters of major childcare provider associations that you should consider being a part of.  Here are just a few:  
    1. NAEYC or National Association for the Education of Young Children is very well known.  It is usually one of the first association’s child development students become affiliated with.
    2. NAFCC or National Association for Family Child Care.  This organization is specific to Family Child Care Providers and thus a very helpful affiliation.
    3. Association for Early Learning Leaders – formerly known as the National Association of Child Care Professionals is directly involved in raising the standards of childcare programs.
    4. CCRC – Child Care Resource Centers are not really associations, but they are another awesome resource for childcare providers.  They have referral programs to help connect you with families, offer numerous networking opportunities as well as continuing education programs.
  6. Insurance – Just as an association can provide invaluable opportunities for networking and collaborations, having childcare insurance is another credibility building block.  Again, having insurance speaks volumes to your clientele about your professionalism.  But just as being a member of an association, your profession-specific insurance provider can provide you with added insight.  They can provide knowledge of state licensing regulations, liability issues as well as industry standards and resources.
  7. Volunteer – If you have time, maybe think about volunteering for a few hours at a local preschool or daycare center.  Believe me, the experience is invaluable.  Most centers are glad and willing to accept free help.  Meanwhile, you can benefit from seeing the behind the scenes of how they manage their day.  You will see how they care for multiple children and maneuver through a typical day in childcare.
  8. Have policies – One of the first things I did was to find a good book on starting a home-based childcare.  I admit that I did not read it cover to cover.  But the book was extremely helpful especially when it came to setting up the policies I needed to set in place.  So if you can do only one thing on this list, THIS IS A MUST DO!  Take a trip to the bookstore, library or at least do an internet search for childcare policies and procedures.  RedleafPress.org is an excellent resource for all things Family Child Care.  They are considered a go-to for many providers.
  9. Paperwork, schedule, etc. – Early on I decided I wanted to convey a very professional impression to parents that toured my childcare.  I started with a business card of course.  But soon developed handouts, menus, application forms, portfolio, etc.   I would provide these materials to parents when they met with me.  Parents are used to school forms.  So if you have materials that they can take with them to review later, it will probably make more of a lasting impression than just handing them your business card.
  10. Reviews/recommendations – Finally, even in this world of online blogs, consumer review sites and internet addresses, word of mouth can still be one of the strongest business tools you will have.  Don’t be shy.  Ask current and former clients to spread the news about your childcare.  Maybe ask them to leave a review of your business.  Years ago I had a client that worked at a local company.  Over the years that client has referred just about every parent in need of childcare in her office to me.  I would say at least eight families have come from that one client.  How’s that for word of mouth?   build credibility for childcare
Tell parents what your teaching and what their learning. Courtesy of Keep Your Chin Up.

Do you feel that you lack credibility in childcare?  What have you done to give your business credibility?  Tell me what you got out of this post.  Please leave a comment below.

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