ABC's and 123's:

A Blog by Action for Children

Gratitude on a Shoestring Budget


In the bustling world of child care, where every day is filled with the laughter and stress of teaching young minds, the dedication and hard work of your team are the heart and soul of your business. While you may wish to shower your employees with lavish gifts and extravagant gestures of appreciation, the reality of operating on a tight budget means creativity and thoughtfulness are your greatest assets when it comes to showing gratitude. Consider the following when you want to express appreciation to your employees: 

Image Credit: Action for Children
  1. Handwritten Notes: A simple handwritten note can go a long way in making your employees feel valued and appreciated. Take the time to write personalized notes expressing your gratitude for their hard work, dedication, and positive impact on their children and families you serve. Hand-deliver these notes or leave them in a designated location for employees to discover at the end of their shift. 
  1. Recognition Boards or Walls: Create a recognition board or wall in a common area of your child care center where you can publicly acknowledge and celebrate the contributions and achievements of your employees. Considering changing out the featured employee on a regular basis and highlight specific actions or qualities that make the employee special. Encourage parents and children to contribute notes, pictures, or comments as well! 
Image Credit: Action for Children
  1. Professional Development Opportunities: Invest in the professional growth and development of your team by offering training, workshops, or online courses relevant to their work. Seek out free or low-cost resources available through community organizations like Action for Children, online platforms like OCCRRA, or local colleges. 
  1. Flexible Scheduling and Time Off: Consider offering flexible scheduling options or additional time off as a gesture of appreciation for your employees’ hard work and dedication. Allow employees to swap shifts, adjust schedules to accommodate personal commitments, or provide occasional “wellness days.” Flexibility and work-life balance are invaluable perks that can boost morale and loyalty. 
Image Credit: Action for Children
  1. Host a Potluck or Picnic: Organize a potluck lunch or picnic for your team as a fun but budget-friendly way to show appreciation and encourage a feeling of community. Invite employees to bring their favorite dishes to share, and provide drinks, utensils, your own dish, and a fun atmosphere! Use this opportunity to express gratitude for their hard work and dedication. 
  1. Personalized Awards: Design and print personalized certificates or awards to recognize milestones, achievements, or acts of kindness among your staff. Encourage other staff members, parents, and children to nominate an employee every month with categories such as “Superstar Storyteller,” “Team Player of the Month,” or “Creative Genius.” Present the certificates during staff meetings or gatherings to celebrate the unique talents and contributions of each employee. 

Showing employees your appreciation doesn’t have to break the bank. By embracing creativity, thoughtfulness, and genuine gratitude, you can create meaningful and memorable experiences that make your team feel valued and appreciated. The truest form of appreciation is not measured in money spent, but in the sincerity of your words and actions. 

Author: Madeleine Bray, The BOSS at Action for Children HR & Compliance Coach 
The BOSS services are provided by Action for Children and funded by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, and Action for Children’s generous donors. Explore The BOSS services. 

Action for Children is the local child care resource and referral agency for central Ohio, and is committed to assuring quality early learning experiences for all children. Our services focus on transforming the lives of children by supporting the everyday heroes who most influence our children’s early growth; care givers, educators, parents, and guardians. Learn More.

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