In today’s world, safety and wellness are top priorities for families. The health, well-being, and safety of the entire family is at the forefront of every decision parents make for their children, including their extracurricular activities. Regardless of whether a child participated in an activity before the pandemic, there are still questions and concerns around whether their child will be safe. Your dance school is no exception for concerned parents, so it’s more important than ever to show them that your studio is a safe place not only when it comes to the health and physical well-being of their children, but their mental well-being also.
What does “safe” mean— & what does it look like?
Safety means a variety of things for parents, and each parent has their own definition of what safety means to them. They are asking themselves: Is my child safe from physical harm? Is my child comfortable and do they feel safe in the environment they are in? Is my child safe from illness? Am I putting my child’s health at risk by having them participate in an activity? How do I know my child is safe? What does safe look like?
If you ask 10 parents those questions you may get 10 different answers to each question. The important thing to remember is that it’s up to you and your team to make each parent and child feel safe and welcome, not only when they walk through the door, but also when you speak with them on the phone, communicate through email, or interact on social media. Selling safety and comfort to parents starts from the minute you have your first impression, regardless of the platform you are using to do it.
Most dance teachers and studio owners would tell you without a doubt that a child is safe in their dance classroom. The challenge is conveying that message to a parent so they are comfortable leaving their child, especially in today’s environment. It might seem like a big challenge to sell safety, but in the end you’re selling the same services you always have: You’re just amplifying what it means to be safe at dance.
Safety comes in many forms
You can make a financial investment to sell safety. Parents feel comfortable being able to watch classes through viewing windows, closed circuit TVs, or even a tech platform where they can watch classes on a mobile device. Investing in these platforms means you can allow parents to physically see that their child is safe in the classroom.
Those are great tools of course, but there are also other ways to make parents comfortable.
Taking these steps can ensure that parents feel safe bringing their child to dance class:
- Ask the child’s name when you are speaking with a parent on the phone and use it! This is the start of the relationship you want to build.
- When the child comes in for class, greet the children and parents at the door.
- Ask the child’s name, as well as the parent’s name, and make sure to address the child and the parent by name. Continue to build their confidence in your business.
- Get down on the child’s level, talk to them, and let them know you are happy to have them in class. This shows the parent you are taking the time to know their child and that you care about them.
- Talk with the students in class about non-dance related topics when appropriate. Ask them fun questions so you can get to know them better, such as, “What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?” or “What is your favorite color?” For older students you can ask something like, “What was the most fun thing you did over the weekend?”
- Utilize classroom assistants so they can help with the physical safety of the children.
- Keep open communication about your studio’s safety procedures.
Showing a parent that you’re interested in their child is reassuring and, in turn, equates to earning their trust. Parents feel safe knowing that they are trusting someone who knows and cares about their child and who goes the extra mile to serve them.
Selling safety doesn’t stop at enrollment
It’s important to remember that parents want their children to be
safe all year long, in all ways possible—whether we’re in a pandemic or not. They need to see that age-appropriate props are being used and that age-appropriate music is being played. You also want to be conscious of using age-appropriate curricula and choreography as well as costumes. Keeping kids safe and healthy goes beyond the obvious!
Continue to greet students at the door throughout the season. Talk to parents and assure them that their child is having fun and enjoying class. Let them know you enjoy seeing their child each week and are happy they have chosen dance as their extracurricular activity. It all comes back to building that relationship.