Do you know if parents in your program are happy with the care you are providing?
Are there things you could do to improve your program that would keep or attract parents?
One way not to be surprised is to collect information through a parent evaluation.
Parent evaluations can be used to help you stay on top of your game. They can identify things you are doing right – so you can continue to do them. Or, they can identify things you might want to improve – so you don’t lose a parent.
Most providers have a good sense of how parents feel about their program by talking with them at drop off and pick up times. You can ask parents on a regular basis. “Are you happy with how I am caring of your child?” or “Is there anything you’d like me to do differently?”
But some parents may not feel comfortable responding verbally to direct questions. Therefore, I would recommend giving parents a written evaluation form at least once a year to help you monitor their level of satisfaction with your program.
A simple evaluation form would include:
1) What do you like best about how I provide care for your child?
2) What do you wish I would do differently about providing care for your child?
3) Please list any suggestions that would help me to do a better job.
4) Would you recommend me to other parents? Why or why not?
5) Additional comments
6) Parent name and date (optional)
You can pass out an evaluation form at the anniversary date of a parent’s enrollment, at the end of December, when the parent gives you notice, or anytime.
Don’t be afraid to ask parents to fill out an evaluation form. In all likelihood, you will receive extremely positive comments!
When parents give you positive feedback, ask if you can use their comments as a reference with prospective parents. Post their feedback on your website, Facebook page, or scrapbook that you show prospective parents.
If a parent is asking for something unreasonable (“I wish you were open at 4am.” Or “I want you to give my child a bath when he first arrives in the morning.”), you can politely tell the parent you can’t comply with their request.
If a parent makes a suggestion you think is reasonable, adopt it, and thank the parent! Making improvements in your program will help you keep current families and attract new ones.
First Children’s Finance has a downloadable parent evaluation form.
What has been your experience with parent evaluations?
Tom Copeland – www.tomcopelandblog.com
Image credit: depts.washington.edu
For more information, see my book Family Child Care Contracts & Policies.