Dealing with upset parents in child care is every owner’s reality. Even the best parents have situations when they can become upset.

Fortunately, we’ve got tips on how to deal with them – and make them even happier to be in your daycare.


Know what the problem is

When parents first show signs of having a problem, it’s important that you stay calm.

No matter if the problem is lack of notification about something, or a conflict with a caregiver, remember that it’s not the end of the world.

Approach parents in child care with understanding, even if they are in the wrong. If you haven’t had problems with them up to that point, it’s most likely that they have good reasons for their complaint.

Invite them for a meeting where you can sit down and talk about it. What happened? What bothered them?

You need as much information as possible to be able to offer solutions. Even if you believe them to be wrong, they think they are right – and it’s their child they are talking about.  Diffuse the tension by listening to what they have to say and cooperating.


Create a solution

Once you’ve got all the information, you can offer them a solution.

For example, if it’s a particular caregiver they have a problem with, you can offer to transfer their child into a different classroom.

You can also offer to mediate the conflict so it doesn’t become necessary to transfer the child out of a known environment.

Even if you can’t offer a long-term solution, offer a solution that helps the parents in the short-term.

There are varying degrees of dealing with upset parents in child care, but most understand that you are only human – and so are your caregivers. If it’s truly a mistake on your behalf, don’t be afraid to apologize.

Complaints can also be a valuable source of feedback. You can even consider changing your policies if there is a complaint that occurs regularly.

Some other things are not as easy to solve. In that case, think about what you can offer them to make their lives easier (without making yours harder).

Do you use Hopping In, which lets parents book extra care when they need it and helps you fill empty spots at your daycare? If you do, be sure to tell parents. Sometimes, even if you can’t fix one thing, you can improve something else to compensate.

Always take the extra step to accommodate your customers.


Revisit the problem later on

Sometimes the best thing you can do is give everyone some time. If there are short-term solutions in place, consider the problem again with a degree of removal.

Has the parents’ behavior changed? How about their child’s? Is your overall communication with the difficult parents better?

You should make sure you are asking the right questions and using the answers to learn.

Finally, it’s important to remember that most parents are not difficult – they just have difficulties.

Each challenge gives you a chance to learn from it and make your daycare better and boost your customer’s satisfaction.

It’s all about how you deal with problems. Know what your daycare’s strengths are, and use every obstacle to make it even better.

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

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