The summer is a fabulous time to got outdoors with children, and of course to have a well-deserved rest! You might think it's a quiet time in terms of childcare needs, but there's a lot you can be doing to boost your business and prepare in plenty of time for September, when many families will be looking for new childcare settings for their children.
Offer a Summer Holiday Club - these can turn into longer-term placements too!
Many families need childcare over the 6 week school holiday period, and offering a summer club can be a great way to build relationships with families which may then turn into longer-term wraparound care contracts Find out how to offer a Summer Club here, and use the professionally designed marketing materials to promote your services over the holidays.
2. Take bright pictures of your setting and show off a wide range of activities on your profile
The summer is a photogenic time of year! Use the sunny days to take attractive pictures of your setting when it's looking its best. Photos taken in natural light will look much better on your profile than photos taken in the dark with a flash on. They'll make a big difference to making your profile really appealing for prospective families. Also think about how you can showcase a broad range of activities, especially lots of outdoor play this summer. Can you include photos of water play, ice play, seaside trips, or shadow play? Now's the time to whet parents' appetite for a wide range of creative activities on offer in your setting.
3. Get out in your community and make your summer activities really visible to potential local clients
This is a great time to get outdoors and give parents a taster of the wonderful experiences you offer children in your care. Here are some ideas for how you can celebrate the great service you offer with your local community:
Make a window display of children's art to make your setting standout to passersby
Take your activities outside to a public space to show off the brilliant and creative experiences children in your setting have access to. Bring your flyers so anyone who is curious about what's going on can find out more about your childcare services. How about a Summer Sports Day in the playground? Or a Teddy Bears' Picnic in the park? Or even arrange for the children to perform a community concert of favourite songs and nursery rhymes or playing home-made instruments.
Make a collection of Summer postcards. Get your children to make and decorate postcards of the fun activities they've been up to and share pictures of these on your social media to showcase the great fun and learning that happens in your nursery. Then post these to children's families as a surprise... they'll love to receive them in the post!
4. Show families that you're planning ahead to support children to go back to school/start school in September
Plan activities to help children transitioning to school, and share your tips with families on your social media. This will show families that you're committed to supporting their child for the changes brought by the new term. For example, try teaching the children techniques to be more independent and prepare for school:
You could try putting stickers in children's shoes to help them know right from left
Practise the 'Montessori coat flip' to support independent dressing
Playing 'school', turn-taking games, or lots of role play to help them get ready for school
5. Let parents know your availability for wraparound care early on
Don't leave it until late August to let people know you're available in September! It's a good idea to start marketing any availability you have for supporting school drop-offs and pick-ups in September as soon as you can, as many families will want to line up their September childcare in July before they go on holiday with their children. Take a look here at the various ways you can promote your availability to families well before the start of the new term.
6. Gather lots of parent testimonials - their feedback is gold-dust!
You've worked hard to build up your contracts and establish good relationships with your existing families, so the summer is a great time to gather reviews about your service and share these far and wide! Any parents looking for childcare for September will love to see that your service is tried, tested and trusted amongst families in your community. Have a look here for tips on how to collect strong reviews, and how to make the most of them to attract new families.
7. Take time to focus on your professional development, and share what you're learning with families
There are plenty of inspiring courses in the Training section of your app, covering topics like 'Big Ideas in Early Education', 'Playful Learning', 'SEND', and 'Preparing for the Revised EYFS'. They've been chunked into bitesize units of 20-30 minutes, so whether you're on a beach, bus or sofa at home, you can dip into some learning and reflect on your practice. It's a great idea to share your reflections on what you learn, so families can see that you're an educator who is committed to ongoing learning and providing the best education for their child.
8. Rest is rocket fuel! Make sure you take time to recharge your own batteries and take a breather
You can see September as a launchpad for a fresh start of new adventures, challenges and learning... but you'll need to rest, refuel, spend time with your family, and focus on your own wellbeing over the summer too! Put your feet up - you certainly deserve it. Take some time to pause and get perspective on the year gone by. Sometimes we all need a break before we can think clearly and make plans for the future. This will help you to set goals and intentions for your childminding business for the new year. What's gone well? What have been the highlights for you? What would you like to achieve next year?