Party! Party! Party!
That’s one way to describe what family child providers do.
Practically every day is a party. You celebrate Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Big Bird’s birthday, July 4th, children’s birthdays, and so on.
Parties and celebrations can also be used to promote your program.
Invite the children you care for and their parents to a party at your home at least once a year. It is a good way to interact with clients in an environment that is less stressful than the normal Monday through Friday work-week.
You could use the party to share with parents some of the positive things that their children are learning, have the children sing songs, or just have a good time.
Your party can celebrate a holiday (Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Chinese New Year, Rosh Hashanah, July 4th, Memorial Day) or it could be a backyard gathering in the summer. If you celebrate a religious holiday, make sure your clients also celebrate it. You could celebrate grandparent’s day and invite all grandparents to a party.
If you have been in business for a number of years, consider having an anniversary party to celebrate the life of your program. Invite past clients as well. Take pictures of the event and put them in your newsletter, website, on the bulletin board, and in your photo album. Send an announcement about your anniversary (and a follow-up photo) for the local media to cover.
If you are celebrating special events or holidays, or are just throwing a party, consider inviting former and prospective clients. You may even want to invite neighbors and friends to help spread the goods news about your program.
One provider in Texas told me she has a summer barbecue every year and invites current, former, and prospective clients. Last year more than 150 people attended! This is a marvelous way to promote your program.
It allows parents and children to connect with and support one another. It tells your current parents that this is a good place to keep their children because you are creating a long-term extended family environment. It’s an opportunity to remind former clients that you are trying to fill openings (offer a finder’s fee!) and it sends out a message to everyone involved that your service to children is valued and important.
Parent Night Out
Some child care providers offer their parents a “Parent Night Out.” The provider offers a free evening of child care so the parents can go Christmas or other holiday shopping. This is something that single parents especially appreciate.
Free Evening of Care
One provider I know offers a free evening of care in exchange for the parent helping her out when she offers a free evening of care for another parent. The provider says that she does this so the parent can get a better idea of what it’s like caring for multiple children. She says that afterwards the parent usually appreciates more the work she does!
Mom’s Night Out
Another provider offers parents a “Mom’s Night Out” for the mothers of the children in her program. She invites them to a formal dinner at her home (the dads stay home with the children). Her own teenage children served the food and the day care children prepared the dessert. This activity helps the provider bond with the mothers who look forward to the dinner.
What do your celebrations look like?
Tom Copeland – www.tomcopelandblog.com
Image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/balloons-party-celebration-floating-154949/
For a wide variety of ideas about how to promote your program, see my book Family Child Care Marketing Guide.