Checklist: How to Handle a Bad Review of Your Preschool or Daycare

How to Handle a Bad Review of Your Preschool or Daycare

Published Date: 04/19/21

A Bad Review Doesn't Have to Ruin Your Childcare Center

You’ve done everything right. You’ve bent over backwards for an overly-demanding parent. But there's always one who's never happy. As the saying goes, you can’t please ‘em all. But what do you do when one of those parents takes to the internet and leaves bad reviews for your business?


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Your initial desire is probably to write a scathing response defending yourself and calling the reviewer a liar. While it might be the truth and make you feel better in the moment, it will do much more harm than good in the long run. So, what should you do?


Check out our checklist to ensure you're taking care of a bad review in the right way.


What you should always do after receiving a bad review of your preschool or daycare

There are certain actions you should always take when you receive a bad review of your childcare center.


Ask loyal parents for good reviews

There’s no shame in asking for the parents who love you to leave you positive reviews on various sites. Parents are busy and leaving reviews may not be top-of-mind, but prompt them through your newsletter and when you speak to them. Having many outstanding reviews counters one bad review and reassures families looking that you’re a quality provider. Google rankings take into account your reviews so the more positive reviews you have, the higher you’ll rank.


Register on business directories

Registering on business directories like Paper Pinecone also help with your Google ranking and helps negate the effect of bad reviews. According to SEO experts, online citations, which is what your listings in online directories are called, make up 7% of your Google ranking. When you rank highly on Google, negative reviews get pushed to the bottom.


Register on more review sites

The impact of one bad review is mitigated when you have many positive reviews across multiple websites.


Create online profiles

Beyond citations and review sites, having profiles on sites like Quora and answering questions well will also boost your Google ranking and send negative reviews down the ladder.  


register on paper pinecone to help mitigate the impact of a bad review



Other ways to handle a bad review of your preschool

Increasing your positive reviews and boosting your Google ranking should be your first step in handling bad reviews of your preschool or daycare. In addition, you have options to address the specific review and reviewer.


Respond publicly

If you decide to respond to the negative review you must choose your words carefully. Again, acknowledge their complaint and do not get into the he said/she said nitty gritty.

A sample response might be, “Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns. We strive to provide a loving, warm, healthy environment for all of the families in our care. We also encourage all of our families to provide feedback while they’re with us so we can continually improve upon our services. We will be discussing your feedback internally and addressing appropriately, if needed.”

A response as such tells other families reading it that you’re mature, professional, and can take constructive criticism. It also shows that you actively listen to the families you serve and take dissatisfaction seriously.


Respond privately

You can reach out to the reviewer to gather more details as to why they posted their bad review. Childcare is a customer service business and without customers, you have no business, so apologize for their negative experience, even if you think it’s not your fault.

Use reflective listening to demonstrate that you heard the reviewer’s concerns. Acknowledge how they feel and be empathetic – put yourself in their shoes.  

Invite the reviewer to provide constructive feedback via a meeting or phone call. Doing so ensures the parent feels valued and you may learn that their concerns are valid. And remember, perception is reality, so there may be something that they felt wasn’t right that you thought was okay. If you’ve handled their concerns, ask them to remove the review.


Ignore a bad review of your preschool

This is probably the hardest approach to take, but sometimes the right one. All businesses get negative reviews at one time or another. Read it, try to see it from their perspective, address concerns internally if needed, and move on.


Try to get the review removed

Trying to get a review removed isn’t easy, as review sites like Yelp clearly state that they have no liability for published reviews and don’t involve themselves in disputes. However, certain circumstances may make the negative review a violation of the site’s terms, and therefore, give them cause to remove it. Those circumstances may include defamation or character assassination and reviews for services not provided. If someone’s left you a bad review and you’ve never spoken to them, bring it to the site’s attention.


Send a cease & desist letter

If your preschool is being legitimately defamed in a negative review, you may want to send a cease & desist letter. You can consider it defamation or character assassination if the parent is making allegations, like abuse or neglect, that never occurred. A parent writing, “Mary is a jerk,” is not character assassination or defamation. A parent writing, “Mary is abusive to children,” is (assuming the allegations are untrue).

While not commonly known, a cease & desist letter does not have to come from an attorney or be notarized. It’s not a legal document in any form. However, the reviewer may not know that and be frightened enough to take the review down. Be prepared to take further action if the parent doesn’t remove the review and be prepared for the receiver to post your letter online publicly, so ensure it’s professional.

If the reviewer does not take the review down you may want to pursue legal action and get a cease & desist order through a court. That is something you should consult your attorney over.


Checklist to Handle a Bad Review of Your Preschool

checklist to handle a bad review of your preschool




Try to stay ahead of negative reviews of your preschool by providing open lines of communications with the families you serve and addressing concerns swiftly and adequately. If you do get a bad review, work on improving your Google rankings by asking families for positive reviews and building online citations. Determine the approach for addressing the particular review on a case-by-case basis.


By Crystal Teegarden

image0.jpegCrystal is a gentle parenting mama who loves reading, cooking, and exploring new trails with her husband and son. She is from Los Angeles but currently lives in Portland, OR where she is eating all the vegan food.


Paper Pinecone is the #1 most trusted childcare directory. Childcare providers list free so parents can find the best daycare and preschools in their area.


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