Question; Why do you need a child care waiting list?

This is an actual question about child care waiting list I received from one of my great readers;

"I am really kicking off with booking new families, but now I have families who are interested or contacted me back too late after the initial interview and lost their potential spot. How do I go about creating a child care waiting list? And how should I go about informing the families of it? Thanks! I love your website! ~Jasmine"

ANSWER: Hi Jasmine, Congratulations to you with your new and successful child care home! Thanks for your kind words about our website- people like you are the reason we created it to help you along the way. I also want to thank you for submitting your questions about creating a child care waiting list. It is awesome that you are in a position already to have one.

There are several reasons why you need one and ways to create one:

First of all here are just a few reasons-

Why you need a child care waiting list:

1. You may have a family that loses their job unexpectedly and you have a “back up plan”.

2. A family may get transferred to a different location and have to move… again your back up plan.

3. As sad as this can be, kids do get older and go off to preschool or school. Having your child care waiting list can be helpful in filling this/these spots.

4. You may have a child that has behavioral issues such as; biting, hitting, excessive crying, screaming, unruliness, (you get the idea) that you need to terminate.

5. You may have parents that neglect to pay you- You certainly will want to have a child care waiting list to replace them!

6. You and the parents don’t have a good relationship. Some times this could be difference in opinions in discipline, how you handle things, your philosophies, etc. and you are unable to communicate as you’d like.

7. You may suspect some type of abuse in a child.

8. You may have a situation where you are fearful of a parent or their family members that could jeopardize your business.

9. The parents’ divorce and there is a custody fight and you’re caught in the middle.

10. A child or family member may become chronically ill and you are unable to provide continual sick care.

counting out money

11. You may have more infants than you can handle and you had a call for a 2 year old.

12. You have too many part time children and the calls coming in are for full time- by taking more full time you could take less children.

13. Your current childrens’ schedules are cutting into your family time and the new calls fit your time frame better.

14. Someone wants to pay you more than what your rate is! (That would be cool!)

Those are just a few of the many reasons that you need a child care waiting list. It is important that you spend some time learning about how to conduct Parent Interviews before you begin this child care waiting list.

Now, here are several ways you could create one:

Creating a child care list:;

1. Keep a notebook labeled “Waiting List” near your phone (or where your phone base is so you know where it is- I have 2 phones and they are never in the same place twice!). Attach a pen to it so you are ready if someone calls.

2. When you receive a day care call, even if you are full, have a friendly chat with the person as you would if you had an opening.

Ask them these questions:

  • What is the age of child or children?
  • What is the child/children’s name?

  • What hours do they need childcare?

  • What days of the week do they need childcare?

  • When is their starting date?

  • What are the names of the parents/ guardians?

  • Where do the parent/s work and how long have they worked there?

  • Is the child currently in daycare or have they ever been?

  • Can I put you on my child care waiting list – (things can change in a blink of an eye--- be prepared!!)

  • What is your phone number?

  • What is the best time to reach you and is there an alternate number for you or someone else that you can contact?

3. Be sure to Put the Date of the call in your child care waiting list notebook.

4. Highlight the ones that you wished you could’ve taken… you’ll get a good idea of this from your chatting with them on the phone. And I would also place a star next to their name. First come first serve isn’t necessarily a good thing in our business. I would call the starred people first. I like to “star” people that are referrals from people I trust. baby with headphones 5. Let them know that they are free to call you back (if you want them to) in a month to check with you.

6. Tell them you will call them back immediately if a position opens up. Then don’t be afraid to do so! They most likely have found alternate care, but it might not be what they were looking for or a good fit for their child. Sometimes it could be a relative that is providing temporary care… you just don’t know. If they have found care and are happy, let them know you think that is wonderful (we all want what’s best for kids!) Next, be sure to thank them again for considering you and let them know you had a spot open up. They may know someone who needs care.

I typically keep my child care waiting list for 6-8 months. During that time you may find that they will call you back to check your status. I recently had one family call me once a week to see if I could take their child. They were a referral from one of my families and their child care provider was retiring. It just so happened that I had 4 kids move within a month of each other (unexpectedly) and it sure was easy to give them a call- we had already had a good relationship building. They started the next week!

Hope this helps Jasmine-

Continued success to you and your business!


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