It’s an interesting time to own a daycare facility. The U.S. childcare market is valued at more than $70 billion and is projected to soar to $189 billion by 2027. As more working parents get called back into the office, they’re not leaning on family members or hiring nannies – more than half (58%) are relying on childcare centers. This means more than 6 million parents across the United States shuttle their kids to and from daycare every workday.

Throughout the U.S. and Canada, half of all daycare facilities are over 80% enrolled. For daycare operators, this good news comes with a caveat – an uptick in enrollment means more revenue, but also the need for more staff members.

Since 2020, daycare workers have been particularly hard to find and retain. The childcare market has lost about 88,000 workers – or 8% of the childcare workforce – in the past three years, according to the Center for American Progress. Many of these workers have moved on to higher-paying jobs. As a result, 40% of daycare centers are understaffed.

On the other side of the daycare fence are the parents. Like daycare proprietors, they’re experiencing some challenges. They need a place for their kids during the day, but they’re paying eye-wateringly high amounts to send their children to daycare. In most states, daycare tuition comes with a higher price tag than college tuition. In Washington, D.C., for example, infant care costs $24,000 a year – more than four times as much as a year of public college.

More than half of working moms and dads (59%) struggle to pay for childcare, and 72% feel daycare has become more expensive post-pandemic. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines “affordable childcare” as costing no more than 7% of household income. Yet two-income American households with kids spend at least 10%, on average, of their total income on childcare.

Parents are feeling the strain and need childcare assistance. Daycare facilities need workers to enroll more children. How to address both issues?

Through promotional campaigns, daycare centers can spread awareness in their local communities about enrollment openings, events and discounts. Some daycares have waitlists stretching 6-12 months, which may lead working moms and dads to look elsewhere. Promos can help busy daycares stay top of mind while parents wait for an open spot.

To build the team they need, daycare facilities can also use promo to recruit educators, aides and other childcare professionals. Once they’re on board, daycare directors can give logoed gifts to show appreciation for the vital and challenging work their employees perform.

Building a flourishing daycare business isn’t exactly child’s play, but it’s made easier with a little help from promo.

Top 3 Concerns For Daycare Centers

A survey from Procare Solutions finds that daycare center operators are most concerned about:

  1. Hiring and retaining staff 67%
  2. Registering and enrolling families 37%
  3. Creating curriculum and activities 20%

How Parents Pick Daycares

When choosing childcare, the 2023 KinderCare Confidence Report finds that working parents first look for:

  1. Safety 50%
  2. Reliability 49%
  3. Health protocols 38%
  4. Emotional curriculum 37%
  5. Functional curriculum 35%
  6. Inclusion practices 30%

Invest In Caregivers With Promo

Daycare workers perform some of the most thankless but tremendously valuable jobs. They act as first responders, janitors, entertainers and more, all while making sure the children in their care are safe and happy.

Childcare professionals earn a median hourly wage of about $13, compared to the average of $22 per hour for all occupations. About one in five early childhood educators earn $20,000 or less each year. While daycare centers may not be able to offer higher wages, they can show their appreciation with promo. Staffers can use items like branded totes and tumblers at work, while gifts like logoed candles and slippers encourage caregivers to relax when they’re at home.

Connecting With Would-Be Working Moms

About 20% of stay-at-home moms would work if they had better access to childcare – and if they could afford that care. The cost of childcare has led to a 13% decline in moms participating in the workforce, according to a survey by the Center for American Progress. Daycare facilities can use promo to reach these mothers and highlight offerings like Mother’s Day Out programs and after-school care options. Branded items from fridge magnets to cinch bags keep a daycare’s name visible as moms go about their day.

Promoting Quality Care

Not all daycare facilities provide the same kind of care. In fact, less than 10% of childcare programs in the U.S. are considered “high quality.” Children who attend these programs tend to rank higher on tests of memory, language and other skills than those who attend lower-quality programs or stay home. Daycare facilities can use promo when communicating advantages like smaller adult-to-child ratios or better trained childcare providers.

Parents Feel The Pressure

Almost all (90%) of respondents in a 2023 report said they made at least one change to afford childcare last year, including:

  1. Finding a more affordable childcare provider 31%
  2. Relying on family/friends to help with childcare 27%
  3. Moving closer to family 20%
  4. Working multiple jobs 19%

Brighten these parents’ days with promo. At daycare drop-off, surprise moms and dads with branded tumblers they can use on their morning commute. Or, treat them to logoed picture frames with a photo of their kids working on a project. A small promo gift to commemorate Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or just because can go a long way in nurturing relationships with parents.

Campaign Collateral

Welcome new families to a daycare program with the classic, Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. This board book for babies can be customized with a one-color imprint or belly band wrap.
The Book Company / PPAI 218850, S5

A stuffed animal like the 10-inch Extra Soft Bear helps kids feel comfy and safe away from home. Plus, a promo like this can last for years. Studies have shown that nearly half of Americans still have a plush toy from their childhood. Add accessories like a logoed T-shirt or ribbon.
Curto Toys / PPAI 217086, S4

Daycares can become part of weekend life at home with the Silk Touch Baby Bib. This machine-washable bib features full-color dye sublimation. It’s designed with a soft, poly-velour front and a hook-and-loop closure.
Ariel Premium Supply / PPAI 161650, S11

Help out busy parents with the Hand Sanitizer with Carabiner. It’s always handy when attached to a diaper bag or purse. Choose from a variety of carabiner and moisture bead colors.
SnugZ USA / PPAI 112982, S11

Treat families to a sweet surprise with the Window Box Gourmet Cookie. Each box includes a fresh-baked sugar or chocolate chip cookie, along with the daycare center’s logo.
Midnite Snax / PPAI 113793, S3 

Ideal for daycare staff members and parents, the Glacier Peak Biggie keeps drinks hot or cold for hours. This double wall stainless steel tumbler features a clear acrylic lid that allows for open-hole sipping or reusable-straw sipping.
HPG / PPAI 110772, S11 

It’s fun to tote an extra change of clothes or class projects in the Paws N Claws Sport Pack. Pick from more than three dozen options, including dragon (shown), unicorn and triceratops.
IMAGEN Brands / PPAI 114197, S10

Sellers is a California-based freelance writer and former associate editor at PPAI.