Tips to manage your daycare’s waiting list

1. CONTACT INFORMATION:

The very first step that needs to be taken for building a list of potential families who are interested in enrolling their children at your daycare is that you must get their contact information (child's name, mother & father phone and email.) Ask parents to fill out a waiting list form whether they are calling you to get information about your daycare and to learn about what programs you are offering, whether they are sending a message through your website or coming in for a tour of your child care center. You need to collect student information for the future so when you have openings for one of your programs you will be able to fill up all the spots available for enrollment. What to ask for in your waiting list form? Parents contact information, date care needed, whether there are siblings attending and desired days to attend the child care. You can also download our free waiting list form on the “ Free Daycare Forms” blog page and easily use it to create your own.

2. KEEP A RECORD:

Asking for contact information from parents is an easy first step, knowing how to collect and being able to organize is it is another step. Make sure that you keep the waiting list of parents interested to enroll in your daycare organized. Make sure to keep your record in neat order. Keep it simple and to render that you may either use an old fashioned way and keep a computer spreadsheet or be more innovative and use a software management system. Using a software management that is designed specifically for daycares will most likely make your job a lot easier for several reasons. First of all you will have contact information of all potential parents data secure and organized, you can easily track when there is an opening and may notify the next family in line without having to go through the entire list which means you have less chance of missing priorities in line.

3. BE HONEST AND CLEAR:

Waiting in line is maybe one of the most frustrating things when you know what you want and just have to wait patiently for your chance. It gets even more stressing when you are in line waiting for care and need for your child. You look for the best and most suitable program for your child and you learn that you need to wait for an unclear amount of time. Child care owners and directors play an important role in this process. In order to make this long and frustrating wait easier for parents you should watch out for your communication. Here is what you should be careful about; start by being clear about what they should be expecting (estimated amount of waiting time) and inform them briefly on how you run the process, try to be informative when they contact you and also you may once a while send them an email to keep them updated.

4. EXPLAIN YOUR PROCEDURE:

Inform parents about how the process runs at your daycare and all they need to know regarding getting placed in the waitlist. Send parents a waitlist process letter. What to include in this letter? Clearly explain the procedure (like the database you are using for the waitlist or how the next child is selected) and list all of the paperwork that needs to be completed by parents. Such as; the application fee, information about how enrollment priority works and list the criteria you look for when accepting priority enrollments. Criteria’s such as; siblings of children already enrolled at the daycare, children of staff and teachers, children from surrounding area.

Also parents might want to know how or when their waitlist application is canceled. You must clearly state what is required when there is space available for their child and what happens if they do not respond when they get the spot for their kid or what if they want to enroll their child not at the time space is given to them but a couple weeks or months after or similar situations when the family is not ready or has special circumstances.

5. WHAT PROVIDERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT KEEPING A WAITLIST:

  • Use a software program to efficiently keep your daycare business running.
  • Review your waitlist process occasionally
  • Try out new tech tools that might help you with your waitlist
  • Contact parents and keep them updated about their application
  • Do not inform them about their exact number on the waitlist
  • Always be clear and informative
  • Ask parents if they are still interested or not
  • Update them if there is any change in your procedure