Photograph 068 by Ashley Schweitzer found on

How to Manage Your Center Waiting List

If your daycare has a current waiting list, congratulations! A full waiting list is a sign of a successful childcare center, effective marketing and an excellent reputation. But those parents on your center waiting list could be waiting weeks or even months until a free spot opens up in your center. Over this period of time, they could be searching for an alternative care provider, change their mind or simply forget that your care center even exists.

So, how do you keep your facility top of mind and maintain their interest? Here’s a look at some of the top ways to ensure the members of your waiting list stay engaged and keep looking forward to the opportunity to register their child.

1. Keep Your Daycare Waiting List Up to Date

As a childcare provider, you’ll want to ensure that your waiting list is well-maintained so you’re staying in touch with the right parents. Create a system for recording names and contact information of parents in one central location. Whether you opt for old-fashioned paper records, an Excel spreadsheet or waiting list software, make sure that you remove inactive customers that have moved on, and update the information of existing contacts as their needs change.

2. Collect Relevant Data

When a parent joins your center waiting list, take the time to collect information that will help you prioritize your list and manage it efficiently. Aside from basic contact information (name, address, email, phone,) record data about their child, his or her age, any special needs, their requested care schedule and any other important remarks. This will help you later on when spaces open up and you need to prioritize your list.

3. Keep it Organized

In general, most child care centers offer openings in programs for children within specific age ranges. After collecting data from prospective parents, sort your daycare waiting list by age to better match open spaces to the children and parents who require a spot.

4. Stay in Touch

It is absolutely vital to keep your center waiting list up to date by establishing an email newsletter to give them the information they need and keep them interested. You may opt to call or email every family on your waitlist at regular intervals to touch base and review their center requirements. Regular contact will help them feel valued and solidify you as their number one choice should a spot become available.

5. Set Deadlines

When a space does become available, you must provide a deadline to prospective families so you aren’t left hanging wondering whether or not they will take it. Follow up with a phone call or email shortly after you inform them of the opening, letting them know the date you need to hear back by before you move on to the next name on the list. In general, a week is a reasonable guideline to give parents time to make a decision.

For more advice on how to manage the day to day operations of your child care center, keep visiting the HiMama Blog. We’ll keep you up to date on the latest software, tools and tips to maintain your daycare waiting list and provide the best possible experience for your parents and their children.


  • amal says:

    can i manage a waitlist using your software or i should buy a seperate software for waitlist

  • Angie says:

    Thank you for this post.
    Would have been amazing to have templates of messages for the following: staying in touch, setting deadlines.
    What are the best messages to send?
    Thank you