Motivating Child Care Staff – It’s Really Pretty Easy!

motivating child care staff

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 ideas of how to keep their staff motivated, it’s often as easy as giving a few encouraging words during the day – every day. Think about how great you feel when you are recognized by a colleague or friend.  The smile on your face when someone compliments you just can’t be bought.

But don’t stop with one thank you. Create a culture of lots of positive words going back and forth throughout the center.  Encourage the children to thank and compliment one another.  Encourage your staff members to thank and compliment one another and to set the example of thanking the children for their good work.  Encourage everyone to show appreciation for all the good deeds that go on in the center each day.  It will be a happy place to be.


Thank you’s from you are only the beginning.  Let staff thank one another too!

For a really visible way of saying “thank you”, you might create a Whale Done poster.  Whale Done: The Power of Positive Relationships is a book by Ken Blanchard, Chuck Tompkins, and Thad Lacinak is an excellent, very easy to read book on using positive reinforcement to encourage desired behaviors. It was written after interviewing a whale trainer at Sea World.  All staff can write a post it note to or about another staff member saying something like “Melissa, Whale Done for handling Brian’s temper tantrum today!”  This gives a very visible, on-going “thank you” within your center.

To judge if this works, give each staff member a pack of post-it notes. You could even give different colors to sort of see which staff member(s) are most engaged in the activity.  Tell them about the plan to praise and thank fellow workers.  Give it a couple of days to catch on, and be sure to add some post-its yourself to get the ball rolling.  Watch for people to smile as they read, and even just pass the Whale Done poster.

Be sure not to miss the opportunity to really study the poster to survey what is going on in the center. Examine the types of things people are praising one another for, and analyze what is working well and where the voids are.



Check out our webinar on Motivating Staff.