Using a childcare software application helps you run your business toward success. It can improve the daily operation of your childcare center, encourage a better quality of care, enhance interpersonal communication, and skyrocket learning outcomes. If you’re trying to find the right childcare app, here’s how.
What is a Childcare Management Software App?
Childcare management software is a set of digital programs that combine administrative, financial, and managerial support to childcare providers and daycares. It’s a streamlined database that saves time, gets you organized, and keeps important records of all things related to your childcare business.
Many childcare software solutions operate in a consolidated app that teachers and parents can use with ease. Some of the benefits of using a childcare app include:
- Improves communication between staff
- Increases trust in parent-teacher relationships
- Saves time during operation hours
- Automates scheduling, emailing, and billing
- Organizes essential documents
- Promotes consitent curriculum and learning
Overall, a good app gives childcare directors and their teams a chance to spend more time with the kids so they don’t have to worry about paper forms or desktop scheduling all day long. You likely already know you need a childcare app— here’s how to find the one that’s best for you.
What to Consider in a Childcare App
When conducting your search, there are a few questions you can start with:
- What are the immediate needs in your childcare business?
- Does the app have the right features?
- Will other teachers and staff need access to the app?
- How easy is the app to use?
- What is your budget for a childcare app?
- Does the app support your education model and learning framework?
- Does the app have positive reviews from other childcare providers?
- How customizable is the app?
- What level of parent-teacher communication does the app provide?
- Will you need a free trial?
Dive into each of these questions further in the next 10 sections.
1. Childcare App Criteria: What Your Childcare Needs
First, get clear on what your childcare business needs an app for. Are you switching to a childcare software for the first time or transferring from a previous software? For what purpose will you be relying on the app the most? For example, do you need an app to track learning outcomes, or do you need something more robust that can manage your payments as well as site-wide communication?
Laying out the criteria your ideal childcare app must meet will help you vet the best options and make the right decision. It’s important to assess beforehand so you can properly judge which features and functions will be worthwhile.
2. Childcare App Features
Search each childcare app’s website and study the features available. Some might have the right level of usability you’re looking for (such as an app for large preschool centers), but lack the right functions (such as parent messaging or cloud storage).
Many childcare apps may have similar features. But now is your chance to consider what user interface (UI) you prefer to use those features in. It’s a good idea to look at app screenshots, read the company blog, and preview examples of how the app works.
3. Teacher and Staff Access to the Childcare App
Does your staff need to access the childcare app? Whether it be checking daily attendance or sending DMs (direct messages) between parents and teachers, a childcare app can bring your team together for the better.
Instead of communicating by walkie-talkie and rushing from classroom to classroom, in-app information sharing features can save everyone time and liability. Allowing staff access can enable team members to share signatures, worksheets, weekly snack plans, and anything else necessary to the day-to-day functions of your childcare center.
4. Ease of Use
Not everyone who runs a childcare center is tech-savvy enough to learn a variety of complex software systems. Managing your daycare should be simple; using an app throughout your daycare center should be helpful, not a headache.
Figure out how easy it is to use each childcare app. Some of these brands might be versatile for all levels or they may contain interfaces that take a little more detailed understanding of tech.
5. Childcare Software Budget and Pricing
Factoring your budget into your search for the perfect childcare app will prepare you to cover expenses and get the biggest bang for your buck.
Some childcare software apps offer different subscription plans and pricing tiers. A good suggestion is to create a shortlist of your favorite childcare apps based on features, pricing, reviews, and free trial opportunities. From there, you can investigate further or test out each app before you buy.
Another thing to note about pricing is whether or not the app requires contracts or charges extra fees. To keep it straightforward, go with an app that is upfront about pricing and has a fixed monthly or enrollment-based price.
6. Childcare Curriculum and Learning Support
Educating the kids in your care is a top priority. Finding an app that offers learning support and curriculum storage is a major component of this app search. Do you need help keeping track of the learning and assessments in your classroom? A childcare app can help you do that.
7. Daycare App Reviews
What are other childcare providers saying about the apps you’re considering? Before you make a final decision, read various app reviews. To see a good example of childcare software reviews, click here.
8. App Customization for Your Business
Especially if your childcare staff is more technically inclined, consider an option that allows customization. This includes creating your own in-app report forms, learning framework checklists, parent email lists, payment processes, and more. If you have something specific you need in a potential childcare app, talk to the customer service team and ask.
9. Parent-Teacher Communication
There’s always room for improvement when it comes to parent-teacher communication in childcare. Not all daycare apps include a communication feature, so decide in the beginning whether or not this is a deal-breaker for you.
It’s a good idea to decide on an app that includes parent-teacher emailing, photo/video sharing, or direct messaging. That way, your business has a record of all online communication between parents, including required documents, incident reports, and payment inquiries.
10. Free Trial of the Childcare App
It’s rare for childcare software apps to offer a no-commitment free trial, but some do. If you can, prioritize an app that offers a free trial before committing to one for an extended period of time. This lets you and your team get a real feel for what you like and dislike about the app, and gives you insight on whether or not it’s the right choice for you.
Choosing the Right App for Your Childcare Business
It can take time to research all the childcare software apps available today, but hopefully, these tips help you find the best one for your business. Remember: choosing the right app depends on what matters most to you and what will work for your childcare center.
To meet all the considerations listed in this article, look to Daily Connect: a childcare software for at-home daycares and established childcare centers. You can get started with a free trial today.