“These are unprecedented times for all of us.” We have all heard these eight words 25 times a day on TV and radio. I personally didn’t need anyone to tell me this – I know it! I’ve received many, many notes from our community asking, “Sue, what can I do with my center and my Read More
How to Build Your Center While You’re Temporarily Closed
These seem to be once-in-a-life-time times (we hope!) and it makes all of us very unsure of what to do. I personally went through a period of serious worry, and a little bit of depression a few weeks ago. After a few days, I realized that I have absolutely no control over what is going Read More
The Why & How of Retaining Child Care Staff & Subs
Retaining child care staff is even harder than finding/hiring staff according to many studies and reports. Welcome to the 21st century. There are many reasons that it’s difficult retaining child care staff: Employee is looking for a better / easier job (“This is too hard”) Employee is looking for more money (“My friends make a Read More
Are Time Suckers Taking Over in Your Child Care Center?
Time is like air – it will take up every single bit of the space available. Air takes up all of the space in a room, all of the space in your yard. Funny how time does the same thing (if we aren’t paying attention). A story that your staff member is telling you will Read More
Why “Staff Quitting” is So Devastating to Your Children
The 21st century has seen much lower unemployment rates, but that hasn’t really helped everyone that I have talked to lately. Conversation everywhere around me goes to not being able to hire and/or keep employees (and they don’t even say “good” employees). There seems to be this swinging door of Lisa Jones getting a job Read More
The Fabulous Functions of Staff Evaluations: Who Knew?
Do the words Staff Evaluations make your skin crawl? Is it because you are having it done on you? Or you are doing an evaluation of your staff member? Or you have to defend the evaluation done on you? Or you have to deliver the evaluation you did on your staff member? Pick any one. Read More
How Much Orientation is Enough – or Too Much?
We did a survey a while ago and had nearly 500 responses when we asked numerous questions about the amount of time devoted to staff training for new hires. (These were hours beyond state mandated time.) As you can guess, the answers ranged from zero to continuous. Many made comments after they typed in the Read More
How Do You Communicate with Your Child Care Staff?
Are you always wondering “Why doesn’t my staff listen to me?” or “Why didn’t she do it the way I told her to do it?” What would you say if you heard them say, “What does she expect of me?” or “Why does she want us to do it like this when it works better Read More
An End of the Year Child Care Survey
It’s hard to believe that we are closing in on another year. They go by so fast. Most of us try to take account of what we accomplished during those 365 days. Some of us make that list of what we did not yet accomplish. Regardless, there’s a lot of “List Development” going on in Read More
We Are Their Role Models
When you watch children playing in your center, are you pleased with what you see? When you LISTEN to the children, are you happy with what you hear? This has always been the most eye-opening experience of my professional life. How about for you? Watching children play and interact with other children is Read More
Have you given much thought lately to how people learn? Let’s look at an example: You are trying to teach a child to button, zip and tie when getting dressed. Three challenging tasks depending on a number of circumstances: Age Command of small motor skills Attention span Interest and motivation in achieving the Read More
I Know This is the Right Thing to Do
Do you think you would you feel better if you only had 5, or 10, or even just 20 decisions to make in a day? Me too. Reality check. It must be an “early dismissal” if we only have 20 decisions to make today, right? But, it’s probably not the fact that you’re Read More
Do As I Say, Not As I Do. Not!
Want to get your crew in line quickly? Just model the behavior you want. Sounds easy, right? We wish!!! Most of us have at one time or another given “mixed signals” to staff or family or friends. We say, “I want you to do this” and then we do just the opposite. Read More
The Spotlight is On You!
We’re not the kind of people who like a spotlight. Early childhood professionals tend to be more humble, behind the scenes, get the job done with little fanfare. We’re really focused on the children…helping them to be all that they can be. Reality is, you are in the spotlight when you are an Read More
The Ying & Yang of Empowering Child Care Staff
I’m a really strong advocate of empowering child care staff members. The more empowered your staff is, the more successful your business can be. But empowering child care staff is a bit tricky! You must empower enough – but not too much. You must direct the empowerment – and contain it. Read More
Me: Before, Now, and Coming Soon!
In every career we all go through stages. Before we began as child care professionals, we were wide-eyed, excited, full of fabulous ideas, and couldn’t wait to get to the center every day to work with the children. We had every intention of providing the very best care and education to the children Read More
Employing Highly Motivated Staff Who Are Truly My TEAM Members!
Employing Highly Motivated Child Care Staff Who Are Truly My TEAM Members! Just where are all the “workers”? Every industry is experiencing huge turn-overs and staff shortages, and yet I can name at least ten people (without even thinking hard) who say they are “looking for a job”. So, about the ones who Read More
Motivating YOU: One Success Will Automatically Lead to Two
I LOVE children. I LOVE teaching. I LOVE helping moms and dads become better parents. I love mentoring staff. So, why do I sometimes DREAD going to work in my child care center? Wait, wait. I know this answer! Is it because once you arrive at your center, you don’t get to Read More
My Life is Paperwork, and Oh Yeah, I Try to Talk to the Staff and Children When I Can
It’s really hard to believe that a child care director could really be expected to have so much paperwork to do that they barely have time to interact children or staff. But as many of you know, (I see your heads nodding) it’s true. Documentation rules the day. How has it come to Read More
Six Tools for Child Care Professionals to Improve Communication in Your Center
Six Tools for Child Care Professionals to Improve Communication in Your Center Are you wishing I was going to give you SIXTY communication tools, and not just six? I don’t blame you. Communication is always the number one problem …. well, probably in the world. But certainly in any business. Adults are the root Read More
Have You Ever Wondered How to Motivate Staff Members Who Don’t Want to Be Motivated?
On a scale of 1-10, how hard do you work to motivate your staff members? Sometimes a 10? Sometimes a 7? Sometimes a 2? Sometimes 15? Have you come to the conclusion that sometimes it doesn’t matter if it’s 150 – the employee just RESISTS all of your efforts? Ugh! So frustrating, right? I guess Read More
How Many Leadership Qualities Do I Need to Be an Incredible Leader of my Child Care Center?
It’s probably more than one. What if it’s 25? That’s a lot! How will I ever get that many? Maybe it’s only seven … or nine … or ten. Lots of people write about The 10 Leadership Qualities You Need to ….. So, is it 10? (So, this is your first Read More
Be All That They Can Be
As child care professionals, and teachers, our goal is to creatively craft information and experiences for our children. We must engage them, nurture them, assist them, motivate them, applaud them, and encourage them to grow, flourish, and become all that they can be. Tall order! But that is our passion. That is what we Read More
The Value of GREAT Communication in Your Child Care Center
Communication is the: Easiest component to mess up Most difficult component to do correctly Hardest component to fix Most necessary component in order to succeed. Communication is the foundation, the walls, the ceiling, the refrigerator and the couch of every relationship. Without great communication …. you’re in trouble! We all take communication for granted. We Read More
Starting Out Right with Parents in Your Child Care Center
The relationship between you and parents is a critical component of every center. I’m sure you have already experienced the good, the bad and the ugly of this fact. So, let me share a few thoughts about this relationship. Then, I’ll share some ideas to make it a great relationship. Notice that the title Read More
What Is the Gain from Employee Professional Development?
Let’s look at what the employees gain, and what you gain: Employees… A day away from regular duties and often a free lunch A day to really think about their job without having to also perform it. An opportunity to consider individual skills that they need to perform the job. Training in information and/or skills Read More
How Can You Determine if the Professional Development You Are Offering…Worked?
How Can You Determine if the Professional Development You Are Offering…Worked? At first glance, it seems that it is getting easier and easier to efficiently and even economically “train” people in our workforce. In addition to bringing in a firm to conduct on-site training, organizations can opt for staff to receive training at conferences Read More
Who Needs Professional Development and How Much Do They Need?
Is professional development only for professionals? I think the answer is YES. How do we define “professional”? I would define “professional” as anyone assigned to do a specific job that needs to be completed and done well. That really defines every job in my mind! Two important questions should come to every employer’s mind ANNUALLY: Read More
Success Strategies: Employee Incentives That Work
Great employees are the backbone of every great organization. We spend considerable amounts of time and money to attract and train people to become and remain “great employees”, but what incentive will it take to keep them? Is it money? Is it benefits? Is it the same for all? The following are the thoughts of Read More
Success Strategies: Benchmarking
Benchmarking: Where are You? Where do You Want to Be? How do You get “There”? Benchmarking. An overused term, or a label of accountability? In a time when each of us is expected to do more with less, it is no longer adequate to look at numbers as benchmarks. Boards, stockholders, and funders are asking Read More
Success Strategies: Risk Management Strategies
Each day seems to present more risk factors than we have ever had to consider in the past. As managers, we encounter risk in many areas: decisions about day-to-day business; growth plans for implementing new products or services; changes in policies or procedures; and even career decisions. To be a successful executive, one must be Read More
Success Strategies: Competitive Strategies Today
Competitive Strategies Today The Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, based at the Harvard Business School, defines competitive strategy as “how a company competes in a particular business (note: overall strategy for diversified firms is referred to as corporate strategy). Competitive strategy is concerned with how a company can gain a competitive advantage through a distinctive Read More
Success Strategies: Developing New Relationships with Decision-Makers
“It’s who you know that counts.” We hear this all the time…and many of us believe it to be true. Our success often hinges on the relationships we can build with decision-makers in our own company, in those we buy from or sell to, and in those who make policy decisions that affect our work. Read More
Success Strategies: Business Growth Strategies
Some say the economy is turning around and business should be improving. We asked several business owners what they would suggest as a growth strategy over the next few months to make an organization more visible, more appealing to current and potential customers. Here are their thoughts on business growth strategies: “Good economy or bad, Read More
Success Strategies: Successful Managers Discuss the Balancing Act of Work vs. Life
Successful business people become successful because they devote far more than 40 hours per week to their work. It is common for very successful people to work 60+ hours per week and volunteer on boards and committees an additional 5-10 hours per week. Whew! Where is their time for a personal life? How can they Read More
Success Strategies: Focusing on Your Own Professional Growth Strategies
We want to learn. We need to be current. We sure could use some good advice. With high demands to meet our competition in every area of business — sales, R&D, staffing, production, etc., how do we, as leaders, most effectively continue in our own professional development? This issue, we asked leaders, “How do you Read More
Envision Yourself As An Incredible Leader of Your Child Care Center: The Who, Why, What, How & When
Envision Yourself As An Incredible Leader of Your Child Care Center: The Who, Why, What, How & When Who? As a group, people who work in the child care arena are very loving, giving, humble, and hard working. Let’s say again, VERY hard working. You may be running a non-profit, a church related, a government Read More
Lost in the Shuffle: How Did This Happen?
Is there a child who is lost in the shuffle in your child care program? You have a group of only six children, and there are two staff members to care for this group. It seems like one adult should be able to give lots of attention to three children during the day. But then Read More
Biting My Classmate: What Was I Thinking?
Why Children Bite Taken from the mind of any two year old, as he sinks his teeth into the arm of the little girl next to him … “What was I thinking when I bit her?” The injured girl starts screaming at an ear-piercing level. Adults start scurrying around, separating children, scolding me, and pulling Read More
What Motivates Parents to Want to Be Involved in Your Child Care Center?
Involving Parents in your Child Care Program If most parents had their choice, they would spend their child’s first five years taking them to the park, going to visit grandpa, making cookies, going to kiddie yoga, and teaching them to read. They wouldn’t spend what amounts to a house payment every month on child care. Read More
Every Child is Welcome?
Every Child is Welcome? Is your center open to any child whose parents can pay the tuition? Should it be? This is probably a question that you wrestle with often. Only you can make this decision. Many might think that this question is speaking to excluding “children with disabilities”. This could include physical, social, mental, Read More
Giving Parents a Voice in Your Child Care Center: The Pros and Cons
Running a child care center is a big responsibility. There are many state and local laws that govern your actions. There may be corporate policies as well. You have your own rules. Is there room for parent input? Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of including parents in your center activities. Read More
Employee Evaluations – Step by Step Success (Part 4 of 4)
Employee Evaluations – Step by Step Success for Child Care Directors (Part 4 of 4) Employee evaluation should be a valuable exercise for both employer and employee. Five key elements to successful employee evaluation include: Set the Expectation Evaluate Regularly Use Appropriate Communication Provide Training Exhibit a Positive Attitude This section (Part 4) will examine the final two Read More
Employee Evaluations – Step by Step Success (Part 3 of 4)
Employee Evaluations – Step by Step Success for Child Care Directors (Part 3 of 4) Employee evaluation should be a valuable exercise for both employer and employee. Five key elements to successful employee evaluation include: Set the Expectation Evaluate Regularly Use Appropriate Communication Provide Training Exhibit a Positive Attitude This section (Part 3) will examine the third, and Read More
Employee Evaluations – Step by Step Success (Part 2 of 4)
Employee Evaluations – Step by Step Success for Child Care Directors (Part 2 of 4) Employee evaluation should be a valuable exercise for both employer and employee. Five key elements to successful employee evaluation include: Set the Expectation Evaluate Regularly Use Appropriate Communication Provide Training Exhibit a Positive Attitude This section (Part 2) will examine the first Read More
Employee Evaluations – Step by Step Success (Part 1 of 4)
Employee Evaluations – Step by Step Success for Child Care Directors (Part 1 of 4) Do you hear the words “employee evaluation” and get a sick feeling in your stomach … even though you are the one doing the evaluation, not getting it? Most employers do. Evaluating an employee, and then sharing the evaluation with the employee, Read More
Motivating Child Care Staff – It’s Really Pretty Easy!
A Thank You Goes a Very Long Way when motivating child care staff! You just can’t argue that being a child care worker is very hard work. At the end of a day, it would be so nice to have someone tell you, “Thank you. Good job today!” When owners and managers are struggling for Read More
Not Just a Child Care Worker – Special Jobs for Special People
We typically hire several people and give them the same job title…for example, Child Care Worker. But does this mean that every one of these people should be doing the exact same tasks? Probably not. While all should be able to care for the children, each staff member has a special skill or talent Read More
Getting Parents to Pay Their Child Care Bill
Are You Having Problems with Parents Paying for Child Care? There are very few businesses that don’t have some problems with all of their customers paying on time. Sometimes it’s just a bad habit for people who not pay on time. However, more often the parent has a cash flow problem – maybe too many Read More
10 Steps to Finding and Hiring the Best Child Care Center Staff
10 Steps to Finding and Hiring the Best Child Care Center Staff Unfortunately, very hard work and pretty low pay are not terribly attractive to job seekers. On the other hand, caring for and working with young children does sound great! Hiring new child care center staff is unquestionably a difficult job. Hiring a new, hardworking, Read More