Daycare Business Plan

Daycare Business Plan

How to Create a Daycare Business Plan

High-quality child care services are in high demand right now. Opening up a daycare is a great way to test your entrepreneurial skills and serve local families in the process. But just like any other venture, you need to have a solid business plan in place well before opening your doors to the public.

Thankfully, you don’t need an MBA to run a successful business—just some careful planning and a lot of patience. We’ve put together some tips on creating a daycare business plan that will help get your center off the ground.

Who Should Have a Child Care Business Plan?

Unless you’re planning on starting the next Amazon or Nike, your business plan can be relatively simple. Business plans are simply to help you solidify your goals, and to create a roadmap on how you’re going to achieve those goals for your new business.

Our business plan roadmap tips will be most helpful to those starting brand new daycares, but the topics we touch on can be helpful for other types of child care businesses. This includes centers who have been operating for a while but need to rethink their business strategy, preschools, or people who want to invest in a daycare franchise.

Before we get down to business, let’s remember that your daycare business plan doesn’t have to be the most professional-looking document in the world. They are mainly for you to help wrap your head around everything you need to do before opening. As long as the business plan is helpful for you, it’s doing its job.

 

 

Business Description

The first part of your business plan should be to nail down the description of your business. Seems easy, but it takes a lot of introspection. This is where you will talk about your motivation for opening a daycare, a mission statement, and any goals you have for your new business. Is there a number of customers you want to hit your first year? What will motivate you to keep going when enrollments take a dive? Putting these things on paper will help make your business more tangible, and help guide your more granular business decisions going forward.

Daycare Licensing and Accreditation

Before getting too far into your research, you need to check what the daycare licensing and accreditation rules are in your state. This will set rules for your business such as the amount of children you’re legally allowed to care of, the required ratio of child-to-staff, and staff training requirements. Accreditations also show parents that your daycare meets certain quality, safety, and academic standards.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) are the most common accreditation organizations in the U.S. Once you have a better understanding of what standards are set for daycares in your state, you use that as a guide for other parts of your business plan like pricing, staff needs, and health and safety measures.

Market Analysis

The next part of your child care business plan is to do some research on the daycare market. You probably already know that starting a business is always hard, but what does the daycare industry as a whole look like? What is it projected to look like in the next few years? Right now in the middle of a global pandemic, child care centers are struggling to stay open—but they’re still an absolute necessity for many families. What does that mean for opening a daycare center right now? The market research guide from the U.S. Small Business Administration is a great place to start. You’ll want to look at factors like:

Pricing. What enrollment rates and pricing models are common for daycares in your area?
Location. Will you be competing with a lot of other child care centers in your preferred neighborhood?
Demand. Are there lots of young families in your area? Or are you living in a child care desert?
Economic Indicators. What does the average income and employment rate look like in the community?

 

Competitor Analysis

Part of your market analysis will be to do some research on your competition. Daycare services across the country are in high demand, but does your preferred neighborhood already have a successful center you’ll have to compete with? Do some research on the other child care centers in your preferred area of operation (and maybe a little further) to see who you’ll be up against.

You’ll want to look at their pricing model, the services they offer, and anything else that makes them stand out. Maybe you’ll find a service they’re not offering that you can use to your advantage in your own center. You’ll also want to look at the demographics in your preferred area of operation. What’s the median income bracket? Are there a lot of young families close by? Are your competitors offering services you can’t yet compete with yet?

 

Location

You have two main options for where to set up your daycare center: inside your home or renting out a space. Which one you decide to do will depend mainly on your business goals, but here are some other factors to consider:

Cost. Renting out a daycare facility will cost more than simply setting up shop at home.
Commute. You’ll save time and money from not having to commute to work every day.
Home life. It’s difficult for home-run daycares to separate home life and work life. It can also be a strain on other members of your family.
Size. Home daycares limit how many kids you are legally allowed to care for, which limits your revenue.
Taxes. You may receive more tax benefits from combining your workplace with your home.

Cost

Now is the time when you need to be brutally honest with yourself about your finances. Your child care business plan needs to include a section about how it will be financially run:

Are you expecting to receive or apply for any outside funding like grants, community assistance, or donations?
What types of insurance will you need as a small business and employer?
What taxes will you need to pay as a small business?
What tax benefits can you receive?
What one-time startup costs do you have to cover before opening?

After you figure out your one-time and recurring expenses, you’ll start to get a better picture of what your pricing structure should look like.

Pricing Structure

Part of your financial analysis should include your daycare’s pricing structure for customers. How much you charge for your services will depend on a number of factors. You’ll need to take into account the cost of operating and maintaining your business, the pricing of other daycare services in the area, and what the market can reasonably afford. You can get more information about the average annual and monthly cost of child care in your state at the Economic Policy Institute.

Included in your pricing structure strategy should be how often you’ll be billing customers. Make sure you keep a regular schedule with an automatic billing system to help your own bookkeeping and to make it easy for families to pay you on time.

Taxes

Don’t forget to look into the tax benefits you can receive for running your own business. Especially if you’re operating your daycare from your own home, you can often write-off business expenses like food, internet, and even portions of your mortgage. You’ll want to keep a detailed log of all personal and business expenses, and maybe even talk to a tax professional to make sure you’re safe from a legal perspective, and getting the most out of your tax benefits.

Staffing

If you’re planning on opening a daycare inside your own home with just a handful of children to care for, you probably don’t need to hire a staff. But if you are opening a full daycare facility, you’ll need reinforcements. Hiring qualified employees takes a lot of time. You want to make sure they’re (of course) good with kids, have the proper child care certifications, and have a child care philosophy that aligns with you and your center. Along with their base salary, you need to figure out how often you’ll pay staff, any benefits you’ll offer, and how to decide work schedules.

Marketing

You can’t expect people to automatically start enrolling as soon as you open your doors. In order for parents around the community to hear about you and want to sign up, you need a solid marketing plan. At the very least, part of your business plan needs to touch on how you’re going to approach these parts of marketing your daycare:

Social media. Instagram and Facebook will be your best bets for connecting with young families. Make sure to allot some time every week (or every day if you can swing it) to promote your center on social media.
Networking. Connecting face-to-face with parents is crucial for daycares. See what events are happening in your local community and be there to get the word out.
Online ads. You’ll want to set aside part of your marketing budget on social media ads and Google ads. This will bring more people to your business and (hopefully) sign up.
Website. Every business today needs a professional website. You’ll most likely need to hire a web designer/developer to create your site. Take a look at other daycare websites to see what you want yours to look like.

The Bottom Line

Putting together your daycare business plan before you start buying toys in bulk and stocking up on Clorox wipes will make your day-to-day work run smoother. That way, you’ll be able to focus more of your time on the children—and isn’t that why you want to open a daycare in the first place?

Once you have your child care business plan fleshed out, you want to make sure the everyday operations will run smoothly for you, your staff, and your customers. Smartcare’s child care administration software makes running a daycare simple. Learn more about our services by scheduling a demo or calling our customer service team today.

 

Why Childcare Centers Lose Revenue – and How to Fix it

Why Childcare Centers Lose Revenue – and How to Fix it

Managing a childcare business is a unique role that means you have a lot on your plate. You know that staying on top of your parent payments is crucial, but it can fall to the wayside as you focus on the day to day tasks that keep you busy. For this reason, many childcare businesses struggle to track their parent payments – and this can make it hard to pinpoint where the losses are coming from.

Making sure that parents are making payments is key, so that you can spend less time pouring over records, following up with parents that are late and trying to identify where your money is going. We’ve compiled a quick list below to help centers like yours gain your time back and more importantly- stop losing money!

Make Paying Easy

Most of us don’t carry checkbooks in our purses or pockets anymore. If a business is only accepting cash or check, it becomes an obstacle to pay for that service, and much more likely to be forgotten.

Accepting credit or debit cards in house seems like a good move. However, that means you or your staff is taking the time to physically swipe cards and parents have to be present to pay (and again, may forget if they are rushing in our out).

The best solution is to allow parents to pay from anywhere. Using a management software that has an app for parents means that parents can manage their own payment information and make a payment from anywhere.

This reduces the pain points mentioned above, and you’ll get bonus points from the parents who will be happiest with a solution that is easiest for them.

Enforce Late Payment Penalties

No one likes late fees. Parents don’t like to pay them, and Directors and Owners don’t love giving them. However, enforcing them sets a boundary for your parents and lets them know that not paying a bill isn’t acceptable.

Additionally, if using a system to accept parent payments, it’s worth checking out one that has an automatic late fee feature. This helps to take some of the responsibility off your plate. Let your parents know if they are more than 24 hours late (or whatever time frame you allow), that a late fee will automatically be added to their bill and processed when they pay.

Setting that expectation up front means your parents won’t be surprised by late fees and you’ll feel less guilty implementing and enforcing them.

Require or Incentivize for Auto-payment

Allowing parents to autopay has become a necessity. Not only does that mean regular, recurring revenue for your center (with no follow up required on your part!), but it’s also the easiest solution for the parent. Many adults prefer to pay most bills by autopay, so they know they aren’t late and are on top of all of their bills.

Consider requiring autopay enrollment for all parents or offering an incentive to parents who set it up. We’ve seen centers do a small discount on tuition for parents enrolling in autopay or a small increase in tuition for parents who don’t enroll in autopay. You’ll know what will work best for your parents.

Once you’ve set up a system to manage your parent payments, along with automatic late payment fees and most of your parents are on autopay, you should be able to sit back and relax knowing that no revenue is getting lost in the cracks.

 

The Ultimate Guide for Childcare Businesses: Accepting Electronic Payments

The Ultimate Guide for Childcare Businesses: Accepting Electronic Payments

It’s not uncommon for many childcare businesses to accept only checks and cash. With so many childcare-specific problems to solve on a daily basis, it’s incredibly easy to procrastinate on the bigger picture items. While some centers have progressed a bit and might have a credit card reader in their center, which is a great step toward convenience for the parents, that may not help the director much at all. Additionally, as the millennial generation becomes the majority of the “parent” demographic, they expect to pay for childcare as they do everything else: on their phone.

 

Having payment system that is integrated into your family data means that you spend less time doing administrative work and spend more time with your teachers and students.

 

It’s truly a win-win for everyone. It may seem overwhelming to analyze your options, decide on a solution and switch all of your existing families to a new process. Change can be difficult, especially when you have tens or hundreds of parents to get on board.

 

In this guide you’ll learn why in this day and age, electronic payments are not just a feature that’s nice to offer, but a must-have. Then, we will dig into how to find the best solution for you and how to implement the change for existing and new parents.

 

 

Why should I accept electronic payments?

 

 

Save Time

 

As a childcare director or owner, you spend a lot of time doing a variety of things in your center. We’ve found that the largest amount of time is usually spent staying on top of billing parents and accepting payments. Your business has to accept payment to run, so this is a top priority out of necessity.

 

There are childcare management solutions out there that allow parents to pay via a mobile app, update their payment method, view their bill and access their statement history. This amounts to hours each week that you can spend elsewhere, growing your business and making it run efficiently, instead of focusing on these day-to-day tasks that can weigh you down.

 

Ensure Accuracy

 

Eliminating a human hand from the mix means that you’ll be reducing the risk for human error.

 

Let’s face it: everyone makes mistakes and each mistake is time (and potentially money) directly out of your pocket.

 

Using a system that can generate a recurring invoice each period, automatically charge the parent’s card or bank account, and adjust the balance accordingly, means less math for you.

 

A great system should also allow you to credit or adjust bills as needed or even split bills between divorced parents or automatically adjust a bill for a child who receives a state subsidy. All you should need to do is run reports to check or view data when you need to see it; not spend hours daily checking your own work.

 

Parents Expect It

 

Millennials are now the main demographic having children and searching for childcare. This group has had technology for their entire adult life and spends hours each day on their mobile phone. According to Pew Research Center, 93% of Millennials own a smart phone. Gen Z, the generation behind them is the first generation who has grown up with social media.

 

These groups are used to convenience. Everything from groceries to furniture is purchased with the click of a button. Your business is no exception. If you don’t accept mobile payments, but your competition does, as long as the quality of your services is deemed equivalent, they will win that match up. Meet parents needs by adopting the technology and beat their expectations with amazing service and education for their children (which you’ll be able to focus on now, with all the time you’re saving!)

 

How do I start accepting electronic payments?

 

Find a Solution

 

There are quite a few software solutions out there to help you manage your center. Of course, at Smartcare, we are a bit bias about our technology, but you should find the one that meets your needs. All of the options out there should offer you a demo to begin.

 

A software demo is your chance to scrutinize the solution being offered to make sure it does what you need.

 

Make sure you ask the right questions during your demo, depending on your needs. Here are some ideas, based on needs we hear:

 

  • Does the technology support your billing frequency? (weekly, monthly, biweekly)
  • Does it accept both credit cards and ACH? Do you have to accept both if you don’t want to?
  • Can parents manage their own payment methods?
  • Can parents access their invoices on their own?
  • Can parents enroll in autopay?
  • Can you set up automatic late fees or other fees?
  • How long will it take you to get set up?
  • Are you under a contract?
  • Do they offer a free trial?
  • If you need to charge any fees, accept deposits, etc. make sure the software has a solution for that

 

If you center has any unique situations, make sure to walk through it with your sales consultant. You don’t want to purchase technology that doesn’t solve your problem or makes more work for you.

 

 

Email Existing Parents

 

Once you’ve set up your new software, start by moving existing parents over to the new process. Depending on the size of your center, you might start with a small group (like a class or two) and keep going from there.

 

Email is a nice way to communicate this change to your parents for a couple of reasons. First, you can outline the benefits of the new solution for them:

  • Access your invoices
  • Manage your own payment method
  • View your bill
  • Enroll in autopay

 

Secondly, you can also link to the app that they need to download. As most parents will be reading your email on a mobile device, this allows them to click through and download the app right from their phone.

 

Starting with your existing parents (and potentially a small group of them), is a perfect way to introduce this change as they will be more forgiving as you learn the new software than brand-new parents, who haven’t yet made a judgement call on your business.

 

Keep in mind that any new software will have a learning curve, so while it might be tempting to rip the Band-Aid off and move everyone at once, a tiered approach like this will allow you to make sure you’ve selected the right technology and work out any kinks until you’re running smoothly.

 

Enroll New Parents

 

Focusing on new parents should be your second goal, after you’ve gotten most existing parents using your new software. Here’s where we are going to be just a little self-indulgent. Smartcare offers an online enrollment tool that makes this process incredibly easy. Send a link to parents and they can:

 

  • Enter all of their child’s information
  • Add pick up and emergency contacts
  • Add medical information and allergies
  • Enter a payment method
  • Pay any deposits needed
  • Enroll in autopay

 

This means from the minute a parent knows they want to enroll; their billing is set up with zero effort on your part.

 

Making sure that you have a seamless solution for newly enrolled parents means that you aren’t just saving time with the daily billing and payment tasks, but also on the enrollment end as well.

 

Promote Autopay

 

Now that you’ve got most parents set up and have a process to capture payment method during enrollment, you should optimize the software you chose and make sure you are getting the most payments at the earliest time possible.

 

By promoting an autopay feature you will receive parent’s payments on time and have happier parents because the process is easy and will result in less risk for late fees on their end.

We’ve seen centers get creative here. Maybe you simply send out an email blast occasionally, reminding parents to enroll in autopay, or maybe you offer incentives for enrolling. For example, you might give a small discount to parents to are enrolled in autopay, or maybe the reverse works better: if not enrolled in autopay by a specific date, then there will be a small price increase.

 

Parents will understand that if they don’t enroll in autopay, that means more work for you so typically, this approach makes sense and makes everyone happy.

 

Adopting the plan above is a surefire way to implement electronic payments for your center and make sure you find a great program to work with. If you aren’t already accepting electronic payments or using a childcare management software, hopefully this guide has helped you determine what to look for and understand how to make the change. It might seem like a big adjustment, but once you’ve made the jump you and your families will be grateful for the change.

Request a demo below to learn more about the Smartcare solution.

 

Safety Checklist For Daycares

Safety Checklist For Daycares

Parents and guardians expect daycare providers to make child safety a top priority. It takes more than having a basic first aid kit for the occasional bump and bruise to keep an entire classroom of children safe during the day. 

Our child care health and safety checklist will help you assure parents their children will be safe throughout the day in your care.

 

Location Security

When families drop off their children at your daycare, they need to be confident your center is safe and secure. You don’t need prison-level security, but you do need to have safety measures and systems in place so your building is safe for you, your staff, and the children. 

    • Position security cameras around your daycare center. One camera should face your parking lot, one needs to be facing the front desk, and other cameras should monitor areas inside the center. 
    • Put exterior-locking childproof locks on all doors and windows. 
    • Schedule regular building health and cleanliness inspections.
    • Create a sign-in and sign-out system for visitors and non-family members.
    • Clearly post your federal, state, or local child care center accreditations or certificates where parents and potential customers can see.  

Physical Safety

Children can get into all sorts of trouble during playtime. Your daycare center and playground needs to be as child-friendly as possible to keep them from getting harmed during the day. These safety measures should mostly be put in place before you open your facility, but regular upkeep or maintenance may be necessary. 

    • Regularly check playground equipment for splinters, protruding nails, rusty areas, or other parts that may need repair. 
    • Keep all unused electrical outlets covered with tamper resistant safety covers.
    • Put foam padding on hard floors and put down shock-absorbing material under any playground equipment. 
    • Cover any sharp corners with foam or other soft materials.
    • Keep all electrical cords out of reach of children and away from walking areas. 
    • Keep a gate at the top and bottom of staircases if you’re caring for babies and toddlers.
    • Make sure toys, furniture, and playground equipment are in good condition.
    • Regularly check your center for water damage, cracks and holes in the walls, mold, and pets. 

Emergency Preparedness

Your center needs to be prepared for any natural disaster or emergency situation that may occur during operating hours. How you should handle a power outage, data breach, or active shooter is different than how you should handle a fire, hurricane, or earthquake. Create a plan for each situation so you can keep your staff, yourself, and the children in your care safe no matter what happens. 

    • Keep designated emergency exits clear from toys, furniture, or other objects at all times.
    • Regularly test and replace fire extinguishers smoke detectors.
    • Regularly test carbon monoxide detectors.
    • Schedule regular emergency situation tests and ensure staff are aware of their role in an emergency.
    • Have a strong data security plan in place to keep people from stealing sensitive and personal customer information.
    • Place posters with emergency procedure information around the center. Include phone numbers for Poison Control, Child Protective Services, your local fire and police centers, and a map of the building with emergency exit locations. 
    • Share your emergency plans with parents and let them know what they should do in case of an emergency and how to contact you. 

Health Precautions

The individual health of the children in your classroom is also your responsibility as their daycare provider. Aside from keeping band-aids close at hand, there are other things you should do to make your daycare a safe place for the kids’ physical health. 

    • Keep a well-stocked first aid kit in every room— they should be easily accessible for employees and out of reach of children. 
    • Any over-the-counter medications should be in their original containers.
    • Any prescription medication parents give you for their child should be stored in their original bottle and inside a childproof container. The bottle should be labeled with the childs’ name, pharmacy name, instructions, dosage, and warnings.
    • Have a thorough daycare cleaning plan in place to slow the spread of illnesses. 
    • Make sure staff are aware of any children’ food allergies, and have an emergency EpiPen in case of an allergic reaction. 

From the moment a child steps foot on your daycare premises until they get picked up at the end of the day, their safety is your responsibility. You should revisit this daycare safety checklist on a regular basis to ensure you’re not forgetting any important safety measures. It not only keeps kids safe, it also gives parents peace of mind throughout the day, knowing their children are safe in your hands while they’re away.  

 

Separation Anxiety in Child Care

Separation Anxiety in Child Care

Tips For Teachers On Easing Your Preschooler’s Separation Anxiety

 

You know the phrase “distance makes the heart grow fonder”? It obviously didn’t factor in preschoolers with separation anxiety. For young children, distance from their parents at the start of a new school year often leads to bouts of kicking, screaming, and crying for them to return.

Starting a new routine like preschool can be a difficult and stressful situation for kids. Their entire lives are changing and they’re thrown into a room of strangers. No wonder so many kids (and their parents) struggle with separation anxiety.

As a teacher, you have the challenging task of helping your students conquer their separation anxiety. Your actions can help every child feel safer on their first day—and every day after.

It may take a while for your students to get used to the new environment and rhythm. Be prepared for the first day of class to be difficult and tear-filled for everyone involved. But once your students have figured how to cope with their emotions, the rest of the school year will be a happier place for the parents, the children, and yourself.

 

Child Separation Anxiety 101

It’s natural for children to feel scared and anxious when away from their parents. Children with separation anxiety worry excessively when separated from their parents for any amount of time. Their anxieties can manifest themselves in a variety of ways:

  • They refuse to leave their parent’s side or be away from them at all.
  • They become easily agitated and have temper tantrums.
  • They often complain about stomach aches, headaches, or other physical illnesses.
  • They are anxious or emotional whenever they’re not by their parents.
  • They worry excessively about losing their caregiver. This symptom could be more prominent this year from COVID-19 worries.

Children can experience separation anxiety for many reasons. Environmental factors like the illness or death of a parent, or a worldwide pandemic, can make children cling to something stable in their lives. A family history of anxiety or mental health issues can also contribute to an anxiety disorder. Some children’s personalities are also more sensitive to being away from their caregivers and can lead to separation anxiety.

Teacher walking with two students

There’s no straight answer on how long a student will have separation anxiety issues. It could be just for the first few days or weeks of class until they’re comfortable in their new routine. Their issues could be solved and then return after a family vacation. It could ebb and flow throughout the entire school year. Since there are many home factors that are out of your control as their teacher, it’s crucial for the relationship of both your students and their parents for you to be patient during this stressful time in their lives.

Separation Anxiety Tips for Teachers

Having an open house before school begins is a great way to meet and form relationships with your students and their parents. It also helps the children to meet you in a positive setting alongside their parents. This shows them you’re an adult they can trust. Ask their parents about any health issues you should know about, how their child expresses their feelings, or if they have a preferred emotional coping tactic. Let the students spend time in your classroom beforehand as well so they’re not coming in cold to a new setting on that first day.

Be sure at this time to acknowledge the parent’s feelings about leaving their kids. They could be anxious about the process. This may be the first time they’ve left their child for an extended amount of time, and preparing their child for preschool can be emotionally taxing. Help ease separation anxiety by answering all their questions and let them know how they can contact you should anything happen.

Creating a safe and fun classroom environment will go a long way in helping struggling students ease their separation anxiety. Allow children to bring a security blanket or toy with them if it makes them feel more comfortable. Hang photos of their family members around the classroom so they see a friendly and familiar face every day. Have them make an arts & crafts project to give to their parents at the end of the day. Making the classroom somewhere they want to come back to will help calm their anxieties.

Consider creating a visual daily schedule for students to follow—this helps children understand they didn’t get left behind by their parents and that they will see them again soon.

If a student is struggling to leave their parent at drop off, it’s helpful to have distractions on hand to ease separation anxiety. Toys can steer their attention away from their parents and help get them into the classroom. Let them know what activities they can look forward to—this will make it easier during drop off to get them excited for the day. Remember that your preschooler’s anxiety is a normal part of early childhood. How you, and their parents, handle separation anxiety will make a significant impact until the kids build trust that their parents will always come back at the end of the day.

Separation Anxiety Tips For Parents

As a parent, your behavior will impact how your little one feels about you leaving them for the day. This can be an emotional time for you, especially if this is the longest you’ve been away from your child before. But if you’re making a big fuss during drop off, your child will follow suit and become more anxious themselves. Keep a short and positive goodbye routine. Anything else will prolong your child’s anxiety and cement saying goodbye as a negative process.

Your child takes social cues from you. If they see that you’re nervous or scared for them to leave, it will be much more difficult for them to adjust and grow in this new environment. It’s important to keep a positive attitude and show them how exciting this new adventure will be.

It’s important to acknowledge your own emotions during this time—separation anxiety isn’t something that only children experience. You have a close and special bond with your child. It’s going to be difficult at first giving them space to grow and have new adventures without you.

If you’re feeling separation anxiety, there are things you can do to make this change easier. Now is the perfect time to connect with other parents who may be feeling the same way you are. A support group can help you overcome your anxieties and can be a welcome distraction. You may now have a lot more free time during the day—stay busy with fun activities you didn’t have time to do before. It will help the day pass quicker and help you feel fulfilled in other aspects of your life apart from parenthood.

How To Help Your Special Needs Student With Separation Anxiety

Special needs children will need a little extra TLC when starting preschool. Depending on the child and their level of functionality, they may struggle to understand why their parents are leaving and why their routine is being drastically changed.

It’s normal for special needs children to have difficulties communicating verbally. So when they get anxious from their caregiver leaving, they may react physically, yell, or cry to express their emotions. This can be stressful for everyone in the room. But patience, understanding, and lots of love are key to disarming the situation.

When meeting the parents of your special needs student, get as much background information as possible to avoid future issues:

  • Stress coping mechanisms. Do they become violent when they act out? What do you do at home when they have an episode? What do you use to help distract them?
  • Personality. Are they more shy and withdrawn? Or loud and energetic? Do they work well in group settings? Or will group activities stress them out and cause an episode?
  • Routine. Routine is important for special needs children. They like consistency and struggle when that routine changes. When do they usually eat? Do they have any food limitations or preferences? What books do they like to read? What activities do they like to do outside? 
  • Comfort items. Many children have a physical security blanket or toy that can help them feel safe and connected to what’s already known for them. Do you have an extra comfort item in case it gets lost? 

You may have to bring in an assistant or aid trained to work with special needs students. It can be easy to blame yourself and feel like you “failed” because you couldn’t handle the situation alone, but you haven’t. Students with special needs can often be physically and emotionally overwhelming. They can lash out at you and your other students when anxious. That extra set of hands and training will help you create a healthy learning environment for everyone in the classroom.

Separation Anxiety During COVID-19

woman helping a preschooler with a face mask

With the new school year about to start, you may have to face a larger amount of separation anxiety in their classrooms than usual. The last few months have been difficult for parents to navigate. And many children have become accustomed to staying inside and close to their caregiver for the majority of the day. It will naturally be jarring for them to suddenly change their home routine.

It’s especially important for you to be sensitive to both the children’s and parent’s health concerns during this time. Parents may be more concerned about safety guidelines like face masks and hand sanitizers around the classroom. Make sure you have a strong classroom cleaning plan to help keep the environment as healthy and virus-free as possible. Your students’ physical well-being is just as important as their emotional well-being. 

New experiences can be scary—separation anxiety is a common issue almost every teacher will deal with during their career. It’s a stressful time for the child and can be an emotional process for you. But the work you are doing is essential to their emotional growth and development.

 

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.