Parents can get upset about a variety of issues (raising tuition, injury, etc.) and knowing the best ways to handle situations before they escalate is important. As a child care center owner or director, you walk a fine line between keeping parents happy and keeping your staff happy. It’s always a good idea to hear both sides of the story before jumping to conclusions.
After hearing both sides of the story from staff and teachers, be sure to follow up with documentation. This is important for everyone involved to make sure that the situation has been properly handled. A great tip is to have all parties involved sign the documentation to make sure the incident was accurately written and store the paperwork for a few years in case it needs to be readdressed. This makes each party involved feel accurately heard and can prevent the situation from escalating down the road.
Another great way to make parents feel heard when they are upset is to repeat the problem back to them so they know you are focusing on the problem. Ask parents what they would like the solution to be and see if you can make that happen. Many times, parents are happy with just being heard, but if you can make their solution to the problem happen, they will leave even happier. If you cannot use the solution they are looking for, come to an agreement. Compromise is the name of the game when solving problems. Remember, there may be more than one right answer.
Lastly, if an agreement cannot be met, think about next steps. Would it be beneficial for that family to leave your center? What implications will that have? Could this action inspire other families to leave? In the end, keeping families happy and enrolled is your main goal, but sometimes, it may be best to let a family go to prevent more issues that may upset more families.