Unit 12.4 The first contact with parents

Your first contact with a prospective parent will likely be a telephone call. This call will form the first impression the parent will have of your child care.

Telephone Interview Tips:

  • Always answer the phone in a courteous manner.
  • Be positive, professional and enthusiastic.
  • If it is a busy time, ask for their name and number and return the call later.
  • Return calls promptly (from messages or parents that called at a busy time).
  • Clarify the care requirements of the parent (# of children, ages, hrs, etc.).
  • Use your qualification and program highlights to capture the parent’s interest.
  • Your goal on the phone is to arrange the interview and a tour or visit to your child care. At the interview you will get the opportunity to tell them everything and really shine!
  • Always get their name and phone number when arranging an interview – in case you need to cancel. Try to write down the names/ages of the children.
  • Remember you can always decide later that the child/family will not fit in your centre (availability, hours, special requirements, etc.)

If you are shy and anxious about promoting your business, try to practice with a friend. You can also sit in front of a mirror and recite your fees, opening hours, your daily schedule of activities and the uniqueness of your family child care.

Take Time at Enrolment

Sit down with the parent at enrolment and explain your parent package in detail. Encourage the parent right then to fill out papers and help them through the process. As their child care provider acknowledge the fact that parents know their child best and help the parents see that you value their input while providing you with information you wouldn’t have known otherwise.

For at least the first three weeks, at the time parents come to drop off the children, comment on how their child is adjusting to the child care and invite them to relate any concerns they may have. Do that several times!

Positive Phone Calls

Make a positive phone call to each house at some point during the first nine weeks and tell them about as many positive things about their child and other successes that their child experienced at child care. This helps the parent feel more comfortable because they do not have to cringe every time they get a call from you, the child care provider, and lets children know that you are communicating with their parents on a regular basis. A positive relationship with a parent can make a huge difference if problems arise later.

Create Newsletter

Send home a newsletter every month. In this newsletter, discuss current or completed activities and any reminders necessary. Include tips for parents on helping their children get dressed in the morning or other areas of home/family challenges (e.g. meal-times), and always remind them that they are welcome to phone you with concerns. Get children involved in writing the newsletter (copy a picture of their work; choose which photo to include, add a comment).

Website and Email Updates

Consider a website of your child care that has information for both parents interested in your child care and parents who have children enrolled in your child care. Post activity schedules, policies and more. Many sites offer free web space and page-building tools that can be used to create webpages. Collect email addresses at Open Houses, so parents are able to get updates via email about new projects, field trips, and other child care-related information.