How to respond to negative reviews to protect your childcare center's reputation

Mukta Bulsara

Mukta Bulsara

Published 27th March 2023

Receiving bad reviews is inevitable. How you respond to negative reviews of your preschool is a skill that can be learned.

Taking care of children is a big responsibility in the sensitive childcare sector. As a caregiver, parents trust you with their most precious possession, so they might have high expectations. However, a single negative incident can have a lasting impact on your online reputation. 

When you receive a bad review for your preschool or daycare, you have a few options. First, you may  become defensive and retaliate against the reviewer, Second, you may ignore the review and carry on with your usual operations. However, neither of these approaches will help you achieve your goals. This article will guide you through the complexities of handling negative reviews in a strategic manner.

Table of Contents

Top 5 reasons for bad reviews for preschools

Based on several studies it has been found that below are the most common reasons why customers leave a bad review for childcare centers – 

  • Poor Communication: Parents may feel that they are not getting enough information or attention about their child’s progress, behavior, or activities at the center. 

                         Read More: Importance of effective teacher-parent communication

  • Hygiene and cleanliness: Lack of attention towards the personal hygiene of the children or the common spaces can be a huge put-off for parents
  • Safety Concerns: Parents want to ensure that their children are safe and secure while at the center. Any incidents of accidents, injuries, or security lapses can result in negative reviews.
  • Inadequate Staff: If there are not enough staff members or if the staff is not qualified or trained to handle children’s needs, it can result in negative reviews.
  • Billing and payment issues: Any confusion or errors related to billing and payment can lead to negative reviews from parents.

In the childcare business, certain areas can become problematic and attract negative attention. It is ideal to prevent such situations from occurring, but in case of a negative review, it is crucial to respond appropriately and empathetically. Remember, your reputation is at stake.

Responding to negative preschool reviews

When responding to a negative review for your preschool or daycare, it’s important to have a strategy in place to ensure that you address the customer’s concerns while also protecting your reputation. Here are some tips for responding to bad online reviews:

Calm down: It’s natural to feel defensive when you receive a bad review, but it’s important to stay professional in your response even if the customer’s review is rude or unfair.

Respond promptly: When you receive a negative review, respond quickly. This shows that you take feedback seriously and are committed to resolving issues.

Acknowledge the reviewer’s experience: Your customers’ experiences are real for them to take the effort of leaving feedback. Acknowledge their experience. Thank the reviewer for sharing their experience. This shows that you’re empathetic to their concerns.

Apologize, if necessary: Even if it’s not your fault, it is important to apologize for the negative experience the customer had. This helps diffuse the situation. For general feedback, you can acknowledge the issue. Let them know how you plan to tackle it. 

Enquire about the issue: Take the time to understand their concerns and ask follow-up questions. You can also take the conversation offline. Inquire about the case internally before entering into a conversation with your customer. This will help your customer feel heard and make them more willing to listen to your side of the story.

Address the issue: Take action! If it’s your fault, take responsibility and offer a solution. If it’s a misunderstanding, explain your side of the story in a calm and factual manner. Provide evidence to support your position without getting defensive or confrontational. Always end the communication on a positive note.

Consider getting the negative review of your preschool removed: If you receive an outright malicious review without a solid base, try to get it removed. Platforms like Google and Facebook offer support to remove false reviews.

Response to a negative review of preschool by parent [Example]

Here’s an example of a bad review posted online and one of the ways you can respond:


“I had a terrible experience with this daycare. The staff was unprofessional and unresponsive to my concerns. My child was not properly cared for and came home with injuries on multiple occasions. I would never recommend this place to anyone.”


Dear [Reviewer name],

My name is [name] and I am the [role] at [school name]. I am so sorry for the experience you had with our daycare center. Please know that we are committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment for all children in our care, and we take your feedback very seriously.

I have already had a discussion with my team to investigate how and why this happened. We are known for our personal connection with all our families and therefore this matter is very important to us. 

I’d like to speak with you further about your concerns and work together to find a solution. Please reach out to us at your earliest convenience at [contact/email] so that we can discuss this further. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.” 

Your ready-to-use response templates - Download now!

Tools and strategies to monitor & control your childcare center’s online image

Your school’s online reputation plays a vital role in attracting new students and retaining current ones. Implementing best practices can minimize negative reviews, but it’s essential to proactively monitor and manage your online image. Utilizing simple tools can help you regularly check your online health to ensure a positive online perception.

Read More: Lead CRM for automated enrollment management

Best practices to follow to avoid a bad review

  • Communicate regularly and effectively: Regular and clear communication can prevent any misunderstandings or dissatisfaction from reaching a point of outburst. Take and give regular feedback in person, and follow up on concerns raised by parents days after they have been resolved.
  • Invite positive reviews from loyal parents: Ask for video testimonials and reviews on multiple platforms. An emotionally invested parent will be glad to leave great reviews.
  • Maintain an active social media presence on platforms like Facebook: Showcase the human side of your school by sharing ongoing activities, learning philosophies, teacher interviews, etc. Be your biggest cheerleader.
  • Maintain your presence on multiple review sites: Respond promptly to positive and negative feedback. This shows that you are committed to improving the quality of your services. 
  • Have a clear policy in place for handling negative reviews: Ensure that all staff members know the steps to respond to a negative review and the stance that your childcare center takes on important issues. This helps to keep communication uniform and build trust.
  • Train your staff on soft skills, health, and safety: Ensure that your staff is qualified to provide high-quality care, educate children effectively, and keep them safe. With well-trained staff, you can avoid negative reviews that could damage your reputation.
  • Consider investing in childcare management software like Illumine to streamline your school’s operations. By reducing errors and saving time, Illumine can help you stay on top of incidents and provide better care for your students.

Discover how Illumine’s Billing Automation simplifies and accelerates payment collection, and explore its other features

Some tools that will keep you up to date with the buzz going around about your preschool:

Google Alerts (FREE):

This tool sends email alerts whenever new content is published on Google that matches your specified keywords, such as your school’s name or relevant topics. This can help you keep track of new reviews and mentions of your school online.

Social Searcher (FREE plan available):

Social Searcher is another tool with a free plan which allows you to search for mentions of your school’s name or relevant keywords on multiple social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. The tool also allows you to filter results by location, sentiment, and language.

Mention: (FREE plan available)

This tool offers a free plan that allows you to monitor up to 250 mentions per month across social media, blogs, and news sites. You can set up alerts for your school’s name and relevant keywords to stay on top of any reviews or mentions.

Turning a negative preschool review into an opportunity for growth

Negative reviews can be disheartening for childcare centers, but they don’t have to spell disaster. Instead, they can offer a chance for growth if handled properly. Taking a proactive approach to managing online reviews and responding positively to criticism can help build trust with customers. To achieve this, childcare businesses should address issues promptly and effectively, offering solutions and resolving problems as soon as possible. 

It’s also essential to prevent negative reviews by monitoring feedback regularly, encouraging positive reviews, and promptly addressing concerns. Discover how Illumine app can help you manage all your school’s operations, giving you more time to focus on providing excellent childcare and education.

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