A home daycare center is a business that’s crucial to your community, supporting parents, families, and children. But it’s not an easy business to run: there’s a lot to keep track of, from childcare regulations to managing things like parent billing and enrollment. Today, there are digital tools that many established childcare centers rely on to assist their overall operations, parent communication, and business growth. Now, at-home childcare providers have access to these same tools, and can use them in the same way to help them make the most of their small business.
Childcare is always in high demand, and where there is scarce or unaffordable care in a town or city, at-home daycare is a welcome alternative. Some families even prefer at-home daycare to larger childcare centers, valuing the closer, more personal relationships that they, and their children, build with their childcare provider. In fact, close to 30% of infants and toddlers receive childcare from at-home caregivers, nearly half of which are made up of paid home daycare providers.
If you’re thinking about starting an at-home daycare or if you’re looking to improve how you keep track of the one you already run, here are six ways affordable childcare software can help.
1. Track Attendance and Daily Routines
Once you have children enrolled in your home daycare program, you need to stay on top of their logistics and day-to-day routines. As a licensed daycare center, you’re responsible for the supervision, safety, and activities of the kids in your care.
Childcare software mitigates the stress of misplacing attendance sheets and activity logs. With a childcare app, keeping track of who arrives and leaves throughout the day is as easy as tapping a button on a screen. These software platforms will log the timestamps, attendance reports, name, and sometimes even a picture of each child. It will update live whenever their parents check them in or out.
Logging daily routines or events is another helpful feature. You can make a note when each child:
- Bottle feeds
- Eats snack
- Completes a milestone
- Uses the bathroom
- Gets hurt
- And more
Keeping track of how a child is doing with daily routines and activities also makes it easier for you to update parents on their child’s progress, strengthening the relationship between you and your customers.
2. Improve Parent Communication
A top priority of families who send their kids to daycare is receiving detailed communication from teachers. Childcare apps like Daily Connect let childcare providers and parents directly message one another within the app, encouraging responsible dialogue and daily reports.
Parents may appreciate the option to use an app for managing their childcare scheduling, documentation, and communication. Having access to a digital tool also reassures parents you’re a professional who invests in ways to make your business more effective.
With technology today, video clip sharing is a social norm. This can also delight parents while their child is in your care. Send videos or photos of memorable moments from the day, or document minor concerns like a child’s injury or challenging behavior.
3. Abide by Early Childhood Education Standards
Learning and socialization are major parts of early childhood development. Your daycare is a place where children get to experience new things that add to their growth. The best at-home daycares will follow established Early Childhood Education (ECE) standards for preschool.
Childcare apps are designed to support state standards and help you execute learning frameworks. Documenting the requirements for your daycare and including developmental milestones in your lesson plans help you be the leader that parents are paying you for. It also helps the children learn at a healthy pace.
Following ECE standards and detailing learning assessments within the app can also save you trouble if you ever get audited. With all your license forms, regulations, and guideline documents in one place, you’ll have the information you need to run your business properly while keeping local regulators happy.
4. Organize Lesson Plans and Activities
When planning, you no longer need to search your computer for last month’s lessons or confuse the playtime activities you had planned for next week. With daycare software, you can upload calendars and lesson plans in one place. This helps you and any assistant teachers remain organized and on task.
By logging lesson plans and activities digitally, you can always go back and update the curriculum in the future. You can also review each child’s learning assessments over the year, determining which developmental areas you should focus on with each child.
By looking back at your curriculum at the end of the year, you might notice topics you missed. When planning next year’s curriculum, you can use the data provided by childcare software to get a clear picture of what needs to be improved.
5. Encourage Health and Safety
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, society has had to adjust its health and safety precautions. In large and small gatherings, such as daycare, mandates continue to change.
When you have to log or report illness symptoms or positive coronavirus tests, using an app that supports you and your home daycare is a huge help. Request temperature reports or family surveys to be aware of any time there’s a sign of an outbreak in your class. Notify parents all at once with group emails directly from the app, if necessary.
Childcare software tools give families the options for contactless sign-in, which is another solution for improving health and safety in your business. Parents and guardians have peace of mind with touchless tools for drop-off and pick-up.
6. Manage Your Childcare Business Finances
Another significant benefit of using childcare software for your at-home daycare is the ability to easily keep track of all the billing and payment processing required to run your business. Parents can set up automatic payments for tuition. You can instantly receive notices of late payments. Billing reminders can save you from ongoing financial frustration.
When you’re able to log all of the billing and payment info from your home daycare, everything is in one place when tax season arrives. You can record expenses, income, and deductibles so your books stay clean. If you have an accountant, they can access everything they need.
Daily Connect provides daycare providers with a range of parent billing services, including invoicing, online payments, and a simple dashboard that helps you manage the financial side of your childcare business. You can learn more about Daily Connect’s parent billing features in this post.
Making the Switch to At-Home Childcare Software
If you’re ready to reap all the benefits of a new childcare software, it’s time to invest in your business and the families you support. Outdated computer software and free childcare apps can provide the most basic features, but there are affordable ways to take your daycare operation and administration tasks to the next level.
For a small monthly subscription, Daily Connect provides at-home childcare leaders with the tools they need so that their daycare can thrive. While other childcare apps cost upwards of $15.00 per month on average, Daily Connect’s premium software starts from only $4.99/mo and includes a free trial period so you can determine whether it’s the right fit for you.
To get more features when you switch to the full digital childcare app, sign up for Daily Connect today.