In a survey done in March by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), 30% of child care providers surveyed said they "would not survive closure of more than two weeks". Another 17% said they couldn't survive to close for ANY amount of time. The pandemic is a stress test of the entire system and, let's be honest; the system wasn't prepared. No matter what category you find your business in during these difficult times, some necessary steps can convert the challenge of COVID into an opportunity for growth.
First, stay focused on those you serve. Just like your business, parents are dealing with the stress of this moment. Financial difficulties, employment loss, health issues, and the general disruption of life are things that your families are coping with at the moment. How you handle their business can be positive in a moment of chaos. If it's billing flexibility, changes to schedules, or even just offering a listening ear, you can be the "normal" part of their lives in a very abnormal time. And that's even doubly true with the children you take in every day.
Everything that parents are feeling and dealing with filters down to the children. You play a pivotal role in their lives, a daily reassurance that life is still full of hope and that things will get better. Keeping your perspective focused on your children's well-being, both mental and physical, will make every day rewarding and meaningful for your clients and yourself. A parent knowing that you focused on their children is a parent who will maintain enrollment.
Second, look for growth opportunities. It might seem counterintuitive, but difficult situations can stir your creativity. No matter how dire prospects may seem, thinking outside of the box can open pathways you wouldn't consider otherwise. The pandemic has forced many to look into distance learning and remote instruction. Those might sound intimidating, but the reality is that with the computer you're reading this article on, you probably have the tools to begin such a program. Maybe now is the time to consider expanding what you're offering to your clients.
Third, find the help you need. The CARE Act, which passed into law earlier this year, provided the addition of 3.5 billion dollars for child care and child care centers. While the host of businesses in crisis has claimed much of that money, that is not the only option for your business. There are a host of small business loan programs with little to no interest rates offered by local Better Business Bureaus (BBB) and other similar associations. A simple internet search can put you in touch with a lifeline during this difficult time.
The key to getting through trying times is keeping a positive attitude, the very same lesson you teach children every day in your classrooms. By continuing your mind open to the possibilities of the moment, you can come out of this time with a flourishing business and the wealth of lessons learned.