Low-Cost Ways to Motivate Child Care Staff


Finding new ways to motivate your child care center staff can be difficult, especially when on a limited budget. We want to share some low-cost, yet effective ways to motivate staff members at your child care center. 

The number one thing to remember when trying to motivate teachers and administrative staff is to always make them feel valued. A simple way to let them know is by telling them. This may sound like common knowledge, but this great motivator is often overlooked. Let your teachers and other staff members know how much they mean to you with a simple thank you. Telling your staff how much they mean to you is free for you and priceless for morale.

On that same note, listening to employees is equally, if not more important. Child care center staff know the children, parents, and the day-to-day routine better than anyone and they may have great ideas on helping children learn, ideas to make the day run more efficiently, etc. Also, listening at the appropriate time can be key to building trust and loyalty. Sometimes staff members may not have someone to turn to in a time of need and being there for them will encourage them to reciprocate that support to the center.

Another motivational tool that many child care center directors don’t use to its greatest potential is personal growth opportunities. Most states require child care center staff attend a certain number of credit hours per year, but incentivizing these opportunities for staff makes them feel like better team members and can improve your overall child care program. Low-cost, effective ways to incentivize your teachers can vary from center to center but offering them a couple hours off work in addition to learning can help boost their self-esteem and make them want to give back all they can.

Pay attention to what excites the staff in your child care center. This is similar to listening to your staff, but notice what really gets them excited. Many times your teachers will give you clues on what motivates them. And sometimes, the best motivation is not from an owner or director, but may come from peer-to-peer motivation.

There are many ways child care centers currently motivate staff at little to no cost to the center. What are ways that you’ve found that work well in your center? Please share in the comments below.