According to the Department of Education, 85% of 2-,3- and 4-year-olds received their funded early education in settings rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ in 2015. Although there’s clearly an impressive number of highly rated provisions to choose from, it’s always a disappointment when a show round goes well and you don’t hear back from parents. So what’s really going on?

1) They don’t know enough about your setting

Trust plays an important part in someone choosing you as their childcare provider. To build trust with new parents, they need to have plenty of opportunities to interact with and find out more about your business. Give them different means of being able to find out more, for instance by visiting your childcare website and having your prospectus and business card to take home with them.

2) You didn’t ask for their business

If you’d visited two identical nurseries and only one of them had followed up with a courtesy call... who would you choose to register your child with? Although you may feel uncomfortable calling parents to find out where they are in their decision-making process, you can reframe the conversation by saying something like: “Hi, I’m just calling to find out if you have any further questions following our meeting. Is there anything else I can do to help you at all?”

3) They’re worried about who will be looking after their child

Offering parents the chance to have a home visit from the child’s future key person is a great way to address their worries. Not only will home visits allow parents to get to know more about your member of staff, but it’s also a great opportunity for that key person to find out more about the child in their home environment.

4) They’re just not ready to make a decision yet

If yours is the first setting that parents have been shown around, then it may take some time to make up their minds about who to place their child with. However, there’s no harm in asking parents how many places they intend to look around, as this will give you a good idea of who you’re up against and how long they might take to make their final choice.

5) They’re worried about their child settling in

If you have a flexible ‘settling in’ policy, this can really help ease parents’ concerns. As part of a child’s introduction to your setting, you could offer trial sessions with no pressure on parents to register if it doesn’t work out. You could also give out 'All about me' sheets for parents to fill in about their child’s likes and dislikes; this will demonstrate your commitment to making the transition period as stress-free as possible.

Are you struggling to fill places at the moment? Find out more about how having a childcare website can help you!

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