It’s one thing to know that you are doing your best with your daycare. It’s another to see people appreciating it. And even when it’s a good change, it takes time to implement and explain it. That’s why good daycare feedback matters.
Let’s take a look at how to get the daycare feedback you need, and how to make sure you’re asking the right questions.
Getting daycare feedback from parents
What do you and parents have in common? You’re both short on time. Apply that knowledge to daycare feedback.
This is where a mailing list comes in handy. It’s easier to fill out a survey in five minutes of your lunch break when you get it through email than to come in person.
When you’ve obtained enough results, you can assess the situation. If you’ve determined there is a problem, call a meeting. Depending on the similarity of concerns, it can be a group meeting or an individual one.
If you can, explain the change yourself. You are the one who chose to make it, and nothing helps as much as hearing it from the leader of the daycare you trust. Group meetings are great for brainstorming solutions, but individual meetings help the parents get to know you and understand what you are doing to address their concerns specifically.
In general, it is important to ask the right questions in daycare feedback. Surveys allow you to ask for a lot of opinions at the same time, but make time for personal follow-ups.
Daycare feedback isn’t just formal feedback. Keeping your eyes open and noticing the behavior of parents goes a long way, and doesn’t even require you to come up with forms and questions.
Getting daycare feedback from staff
If you’ve created a healthy work culture, caregivers will be more likely to give daycare feedback and approach you with suggestions.
However, you should still bring up the topic, especially if you’ve noticed problems.
There may be no need for a survey – just a quick, constructive staff meeting where everyone can raise their concerns. Do they feel like the change is contributing to the daycare’s mission? How does it personally affect them?
Even though the advantages for the staff aren’t always clearly visible, explain how they affect staff positively in the long run. You’re the owner, the one who looks to the future. For caregivers, what matters is getting through the day. It helps to get some extra motivation.
(And some celebration of succes, hopefully.)
No daycare feedback?
If you’re running a tight ship, you don’t have to worry. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check for leaks every now and then.
Daycare owners’ days are busy, but failing to recognize a problem may result in kids dropping out and a higher staff turnover rate. That’s why it’s always good to track how everyone’s adapting to changes. Sometimes it’s not the change’s fault; it just takes some time to get used to it.
For example, if your daycare started using software like Hopping In and the parents aren’t taking part, they might just be forgetting, in which case you can remind them of the advantages (splitting the profits with you when they drop a spot and it gets rebooked).
Similarly, you can remind parents who are calling in to say their child won’t be attending daycare on a given day that they can get partial tuition credit back if they drop the spot in Hopping In.
And since you can do a lot but can’t grow eyes on the back of your head, you can also periodically get anonymous daycare feedback. If there’s no particular issues, it can just consist of a few questions: rate your satisfaction, and description questions where everyone gets a chance to speak their mind.
The path to improvement
Look at daycare feedback as a way to improve.
While it may involve criticism, that is good. Being a daycare leader means hearing that, too, and using it as a lesson to make things even better.
Sometimes you’ll just need to explain again, like with Hopping In that has simple guides to help you do it.
Other times, you may need to sit down with your team and figure out a solution.
But no matter what you do, know that’s the true reason for getting daycare feedback. Issues are normal and you can resolve them – but only if you see them. And daycare feedback gives you 20/20 vision.
Author: Hopping In Blog
Sholom Strick is an expert on the business of running daycare centers and founder of Hopping In, a tool that helps childcare centers and family daycare providers fill unused spots.
To contact him or for media inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org