An open house offers an opportunity for people in the neighborhood to get acquainted with new small business owners. 

If you’re opening a daycare, this type of event can be crucial in helping you build credibility with families in your area. For parents, choosing the right childcare provider is an important decision. 

Your open house can help make the choice easier. 

This article will cover daycare open house ideas, including: 

  • Why you should host an open house for your daycare business
  • Planning your daycare open house
  • Hosting the event
  • How to follow up after the event

Increase enrollments and keep families informed with expert advice and all the tools you need, in one place.

Why you should host an open house for your daycare business

Leaving kids with a care provider is stressful for all parents and they often do extensive research before making their final choice. 

The open house for your daycare is an opportunity to introduce yourself, and your business, to families in your community.

Hosting an open house is a way for parents to get to know you in an informal setting. They can get a feel for your personality, tour your facility, and ask you to address any concerns they might have. It’s also a way for you to get to know families in your area to see if they are a good fit for your business model.

Planning your daycare open house

Choose your date with intent

Parents have hectic schedules with an abundance of conflict. When choosing your date, be mindful of events and activities that might interfere with your open house. Many parents will be busy on Friday nights, during the day, and on weekends. If you host your event on a weeknight, schedule it after work hours but not so late that parents miss their kids’ bedtime. Here are some tips to consider when choosing a date: 

  • Chose a date that’s a few months before your application deadline
  • Check the school district calendar for competing events
  • Consider competing holidays
  • Host multiple events to accommodate more schedules

Market the event

Your open house should be promoted widely and far enough in advance that people can plan it into their schedules. To attract more families, use a combination of print and digital advertising. If you’re brand new to the area, you might not have a mailing list yet. But you can send a message to past clients and ask them to share the invitation with people they know in your area. 

Reach more people in your area with targeted ads on Google and social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram. Facebook lets you target ads based on demographics and geographic area. Create a series of clever sponsored ads with copy that clearly communicates the point of your open house and what makes your daycare facility unique. Target them to families in your area. 

According to Hootsuite, Instagram is used by 1 billion people worldwide. Like its parent platform Facebook, Instagram lets you create targeted ads. You can create sponsored posts or stories that will display on the feeds of parents in your area. Try to make them look organic with visually appealing photos and copy that communicates your value. 

You can also create organic posts for free on your daycare’s social media feeds. Research daycare providers in the area to find popular posts and hashtags. You don’t want to copy the posts of your competitors, but this will give you a starting point for creating your own content and the hashtags that you can use to help people find you. 

Along with a digital strategy, you will also want to promote your business with print media. Create flyers and distribute them to local businesses in your area. Go to local coffee shops and bakeries and put your flyers up on the corkboard and put them up at the library and other public buildings. You can also make postcards and do a small mailer to people in the area. 

Clean up your space

At your open house, you will want to put your best foot forward for parents in the area. If they walk into a space that looks dirty or cluttered, they could be uneasy trusting you with their kids. Make sure that your daycare looks fun and inviting. It should be a place where people can see their kids having fun and learning throughout the day.

Invite your staff to the event

Make sure that parents have the chance to network with the people who will be caring for their kids. Staff the event with your teachers and room aids so parents can ask them questions and get to know them. There should be people at the door to greet parents as they enter and leave the event. 

Stock up on applications and marketing materials

Before the event, put together packets of materials to hand out to parents as they come to the open house. The packet should include a brochure with information about your daycare center, an FAQ page, a copy of the schedule and the curriculum, and contact information. It should also include the application. If people decide they want to enroll their kids during the event, they shouldn’t have to contact you to get an application. They should already leave with one. 

Hosting the event

Have kid-friendly activities ready

Some or all of the attendees to your open house will probably bring their kids with them. Set up stations with various quiet activities for the kids like books, games, or crafts projects. Keeping the kids busy and stimulated frees up parents to ask questions and get to know you. Your activities should represent those that you will offer to kids when they come to your daycare. Pick the best parts of your curriculum and set up small stations. 

daycare open house idea - set up a kid's play area
Having a designated space for kids to play in during your open house not only frees up parents to look around and speak with your staff but it also gives lets them see their children in your daycare.

Set up a welcome area

Since this event is structured to introduce your business to families in the area, set up a welcome area with a sign-in sheet. Then you can collect information to build your email list for the future. Your welcome area should be staffed with a few people to direct the flow of people going into and out of the open house. 

Offer refreshments

People like having snacks and small treats at a daycare open house. Meeting new people can be awkward and snack tables offer a place for people to congregate. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive. Setting up coffee and small snacks is enough. Healthy snacks are also good for hungry kids and can showcase what types of food you might offer during daycare. 

Create an inviting atmosphere

Before the event, you should have cleaned your daycare center and made it look fun and inviting for kids and parents. During the event, structure it in a way that makes it easy for people to meander through the center. Play some soft, cheery music in the background, but keep it low enough for people to talk. 

Give parents an incentive to sign up

The point of your daycare open house is to market your new business and get people to enroll their kids. At the open house offer a discount for your registration fee or waive it altogether. 

While you don’t want to pressure people to commit during the event, you should sign up as many families as you can. If they want to sign up at your event, give them a place in which they can do so. You should extend the discounted offer for a few weeks for parents who want to think it over. 

How to follow up after the event

After the event, you should follow up a week later with people who attended. You can send out an email blast to those who signed up for your mailing list and see if they have any additional questions. Also, send out a reminder about the open house special on registration fees and remind them when it expires. 

Open houses are the perfect marketing tool for service-oriented businesses, especially daycare centers. Parents want someone they trust with their children and an open house allows them to get to know you and the staff members who will ultimately be caring for their kids. You know you run a great daycare and hosting an open house will let parents know too!

Ultimately, an open house gives you the opportunity to start building relationships with families in the neighborhood so start planning your daycare open house today!

Want to learn more about how to market your daycare center? Read Constant Contact’s The Download: A Guide to Online Marketing for child care services.