Creative Ways to Thank Staff

Program staff is Child Care’s most valuable resource!  Recognizing staff dedication, efforts, and good work, will go far in building moral. Rewards need not be costly – but should be timely, sincere and creative. The following ideas are sure to increase enthusiasm and commitment!

1. Say “Please” and “Thank you” in general communication. Be specific and sincere in showing appreciation.

2. Smile and look happy to see your staff.

3. Design a “Caregiver/Teacher of the Month” recognition program.

4. Give staff members performance based award certificates.

5. Start a program wide newsletter (written by administration office) noting various sites activity successes, idea implementation,  and staff achievement. This would be in addition to general monthly information.

6. Routinely send sincere “Thank you” cards.

7. Send timely E-mail notes of gratitude.

8. Each week or month, recognize one employee for an aspect of job performance. During their week, take all opportunities  to give positive reinforcement.

9. **If policy allows, offer a “comp” day for outstanding effort and performance.

10. **If policy allows, permit a staff member to leave work early.

11. Recognize a program’s successful “Activity of the Month”; acknowledge the activity based on its uniqueness, child involvement, community service, etc. If possible have staff present it at a meeting or hand-out with description, graphics, and directions.

12. Rewards and Gift Certificate Ideas:

  • Magazine subscription to a favorite professional resource.
  • Tickets to employee’s favorite sporting event.
  • Movie theater or stage performance; often community theaters will have affordable tickets.
  • Restaurant certificates.
  • A manicure, pedicure or massage.
  • Flowers
  • A special book based on member’s desired programming interests.
  • A book store gift certificate.

13.  Send a note saying, “Thank you for being such a lifesaver this week!”  Include some life-saver candy with it.

14. When a staff member is successful in some aspect of school-age care, give them the opportunity to teach it to others at an in-service or meeting.

15. Deliver ice-cream treats to program staff and children in recognition of quality programming or program growth.

16.  Find out what special supply, game, or activity material a site would like. Surprise them with it—  where it does not come out of their budget!


  • CHOCOLATE KISSES to remind you that someone cares!
  • STARBURSTS to give you a burst of energy on the days you’re low!
  • A LIFESAVER in return for all the times you’ve rescued us!
  • STICK OF GUM  because you to stick with it
  • A CANDLE  to give you light when you feel burned out
  • CONFETTI  to celebrate the good times
  • SMARTIES  to help you on days when you don’t feel so smart
  • SNICKERS  because you often see the funny side …
  • A ROSE  to remind you to take time to smell the flowers
  • A PENNY  with thanks for sharing your thoughts
  • MOUNDS for the mounds of information you share.
  • CRAYON to color your day bright and beautiful.
  • PEANUTS to be a little nutty sometimes and have a good laugh.
  • PUZZEL PIECE- – Without you, things wouldn’t be complete.
  • BAND-AID  for when things get a little rough.
  • ASPIRIN: When all else fails, take 2 and find a quiet corner.
  • HUGS & KISSES to keep you going.
  • MARBLES to replace those you might lose from time to time.
  • SPONGE to soak up the overflow, when your brain is too full to hold any more.
  • CUP for when yours is overflowing
  • A BAG  to help you keep it all together
  • And most importantly, SMILES to pass on…

All you need is to put a few of each in a small baggie…tie it up with a pretty ribbon… attach a note…and deliver. Unexpected surprises are always nice!  Something like this however, is fun the first time–use suggestions one to sixteen more often than this idea…

Don”t forget to thank program secretaries, administrative assistants, and trainers.
Be consistent!  When special “monthly” recognition is implemented, celebration of rituals,
should routinely be held to sustain enthusiasm and high morale.

**Confirm that this is in compliance with EEOL and Fair Labor Standards.


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