"Our parents love seeing their kids throughout the day on the Parent App."

Neena Locke
Childcare Director

How to Handle the Growing Pains of Child Care

December 5, 2019

When I first started as a director, our after school program had 20 kids. After just two years, I grew the program to almost 170 kids. That's 8x growth. Along the process, I realized why some leaders are satisfied with the operation they have; it's because running a growing program requires a lot of hard work.

Growing your childcare business is no small feat. Although growth may be your end goal, it does bring up many pains with it along the way. Leading a growing organization has a whole set of issues in itself and is difficult to manage at the start. 

Today, I'm going to share with you the growing pains I've experienced. Knowing what you are getting into as you take this leap of faith will be very helpful.


When Managing a growing childcare business, it is extremely important to hire awesome staff. Recruitment is no easy task, and I urge you to make time for it. Yes, it's time-consuming, and handling it in the midst of growth is hard. However, by building a highly productive team, you will significantly increase your chances of building a successful business. Create a fun work environment, so your employees enjoy coming in, and in turn, will perform better at their daily tasks.

Always Busy

You've never understood busy until now. No matter how much help you have from your team, your workload keeps building. You need to ensure you "Manage the busy" and stay productive. This includes things like having daily routines, delegating, and proper work-life balance. By doing this, you will avoid a burnout and allow yourself to focus on growing your center.

Staff Complaints

Being an employee at a fast-growing center can be challenging as well. The predictability you once had is no longer there. There will be a constant change of scenery with new colleagues, new children, and center improvements. Your processes may develop, and their roles may change. Just remember it's hard for them too.

Make encouragement and staff bonding a priority in this season. When you focus on building relationships and motivating your team, they will want to follow you wherever you go. Keep in mind, you may lose some along the way, Don't get distracted, focus on the ones that stick with you.

Being Overwhelmed

To say growth is overwhelming is an understatement. Whether you are the owner, director, or even a teacher at a center experiencing serious growth, you won't avoid the stress that comes along with it. Allow yourself to feel it, but don't be overcome by it. Take self-care to a whole new level and practice distressing techniques along the way. You got this!

Embrace Change

To bring your team and center to the next level, you will need to be willing to adapt and change. When faced with a potential need for change, you may think to yourself, "But we've always done it this way." Remember, just because you do something a certain way, it doesn't mean that it's the right way. You should always be reviewing your current methods and ask yourself, "Is there a better way?"By doing this, you allow your program to morph and adopt more efficient processes.

Final Notes:

Growth is hard but completely necessary for running a successful child care business. By knowing the pain points ahead of time and being prepared for them, you will set yourself up for success. Just remember, you may lose people along the way, and you may hit roadblocks. However, in the end, you'll have the team and center you've always dreamt of. Trust in your team, trust in yourself, and do it with passion. You're a leader for a reason, use your platform well. Now go out and crush it!

Other articles you may like

Want to see Sandbox in action?

We get it, choosing a new tool to help you run your childcare business is a big deal. Join a Sandbox expert on a live tour and get the answers you need.