A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Skidaddles childcare growing its reach throughout Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio after its start in Florence

By Laura Kroeger
Special to the NKyTribune

Skidaddles Drop-in Anytime Childcare, America’s whole new concept for the modern family’s childcare needs, is expanding throughout Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio.

The hallmark of Skidaddles is that it is designed to accommodate the busy schedule of today’s family. The centers are open from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is the only operation of its kind to offer flexible, top-quality, fun and educational childcare for the choice of an occasional few hours, full time or Friday and Saturday evenings for parents’ date nights when hours extend to 11 p.m. or midnight.

Skidaddles also operates a summer camp, preschool and before and after school programs.

“We constantly hear from our parents about how they have friends in other cities begging for a flexible -schedule childcare facility where they can feel comfortable bringing their children at a moment’s notice,” explains Skidaddles Founder and President Tiffany Sams. “We also hear from parents that their children love learning and playing so much that they ask to be brought back time and again.”

Tiffany Sams and friend

Sams, the mother of three daughters, personally experienced the absence of flexible childcare when she struggled to find fun but safe, quality care to run errands or work part-time. Friends echoed the same frustrations. 

So a decade ago the business-oriented entrepreneur started her own comprehensive Skidaddles operation, first in Florence and then in the rapidly-growing Mason, OH area.

A one-time registration fees enables a parent to drop off a child anytime to enjoy Skidaddles’ award winning services… Unlike other centers, it is designed for parents’ schedules and their convenience, the perfect solution for parents who work at home, need alone time or have long work hours. Sams intentionally set the weekday hours to extend until 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday and until 11 p.m. or midnight on Fridays and Saturdays depending on location to accommodate today’s parent.

Using a discovery-based learning experience allows children to move through specially-designed learning centers at their own pace. Many staff members are degreed teachers. All employees must have previously worked with children, take first aid courses and pass an extensive background check.

When ballet dancer-turned healthcare executive Liz Stephens and her husband had their son, the first-time parents believed the best route was to hire a nanny.

“We quickly discovered that was not going to work,” she recalls. “I searched everywhere and found Skidaddles. We first tried a few hours for a date night. I was impressed that they started taking children at 18 months and when I dropped in, I was greeted with a smile, a warm, engaging staff, a clean, open layout, and creative activities planned through the month for every age group. They even called me to give periodic reports on how he was settling in. Their follow-through is amazing.  Wow, did I make the right decision.”

Click image to go to the web site

Click image to go to the web site

Now, at 3½ the toddler is integrating into the preschool program.

“They give him individualized care. He is so happy and has lots of friends. I feel like the staff is an extension of my family,” Stephens says.

Sams reviewed hundreds of stories like Liz’s and decided to franchise.  Franchisees will receive unlimited support calls, weekly meetings and training as well as accounting, human resources and overall business support. Custom-designed marketing pieces, curriculum, ready-made calendars of activities and theme days are provided. A typical week could offer a Harry Potter Day, Fun with Slime, Holiday Crafts and Superhero Day.

Skidaddles will also assist franchisees with site selection including appropriate locations, design, construction and furnishing for a state-of-the-art center that meets the demands of the 21st Century family. They will also use their expertise to provide detailed operating procedures, licensing compliance and how to hire, train and retain staff.

Staff member Chelsey McNair was new to town with no local childcare support system. She started her Skidaddles experience as a stay-at-home mom who wanted her 18-month-old to have occasional interaction with other kids and adults.

McNair was so enamored with the friendliness and quality, that she parlayed her volunteer work with children into a position with the Skidaddles organization, handling marketing and administrative duties.

“I actually get out of bed and say, ‘I get to work with kids today.” That’s how exciting it is to be with a cutting edge organization that is going to bring learning, creativity and a love of children to other cities in the region.”

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