A Guide to Types of Fees at Childcare Centers

Different types of fees at your childcare center are all necessary parts of running a childcare business. While childcare is an essential and rewarding career, it doesn’t happen for free. You and your staff need to get paid. 

That said, childcare fees are not greedy or “bad.” They’re simply a way to account for additional services you provide for the families who entrust their children to your care. Fees can also incentivize positive behaviors among your parent customers, such as picking their kids up on time and paying their childcare tuition before the due date.

Keep reading to better understand the different types of fees at childcare centers, and how you can set up a fee structure that suits your business. 

A Primer on Fees at Childcare Centers

Before enforcing childcare center fees, you need a way to communicate the costs and reasoning to parents. The most important thing to have in place is some kind of childcare payment policy. This is an official agreement that parents sign, stating they understand the pricing structure and fees, along with the potential consequences of unpaid childcare bills. 

In general, make sure you’re clear, transparent, and fair about childcare fees. Don’t charge unnecessary, unexpected fees that aren’t in the payment policy. Be sure to communicate ahead of time if any policy terms are going to change, so parents aren’t taken by surprise. 

Fees = An Ethical Part of a Childcare Business Model

Remember, fees are a normal, ethical part of doing business. As a childcare provider, you need to make a profit so you can continue offering the best services possible. Fees cover all the extra time, resources, premium services, and even little inconveniences that add up to cost money. 

Childcare fees also allow you to pay your employees fairly and on time. They ensure you’ll be able to afford the right amount of childcare supplies, cover rent and maintenance costs, and maintain a responsible business budget.

7 Types of Fees for Childcare Businesses

When establishing your childcare or daycare fee structure, here are the top items to consider. Every childcare business is different, but these are the most common fees exchanged between parents and teachers. 

1. Tuition Fees

Tuition is the amount of money a family pays for ongoing childcare. Fees vary depending on the frequency of childcare (such as daily, hourly, weekly, etc.), the child’s age, and enrollment availability. You can set tuition per hour, as a package plan, or customize it per family based on their needs. Typically, tuition is charged monthly and delivered by invoice to parents. 

2. Late Payment Fees

When parents don’t pay tuition on time, childcare centers charge late payment fees. For example, this might be a $45 fine for every week the bill is late. The fee incentivizes on-time payments so parents don’t have to pay extra. Late payment fees also make up for the financial nuisance of waiting on expected tuition to go through. Be clear about late fees and due dates in your payment policy.

3. Late Pickup & Early Drop-Off Fees

One of the most common fees in childcare is the pickup/drop-off fee. Parents are busy; it’s normal for them to need early or late childcare sometimes. However, this isn’t always the most convenient situation for your business, especially with set operating hours. Many childcare centers charge something like $20 for every 30 minutes a parent utilizes excess childcare.

4. Onboarding Fees

Also called a registration fee, onboarding fees help you cover costs and materials for new students. This fee may also include things such as family welcome packets, parent handbooks, branded T-shirts, and adding new contacts to your childcare management software. Include this fee in the initial tuition payment upon enrollment.

5. Meals and Snack Fees

Some childcare centers include snacks in tuition; others offer them at an additional cost. Some families prefer to pack a lunch for their child to bring to daycare; others find it helpful to pay a childcare provider to prepare kid-friendly snacks. Calculate the costs of food, determine whether you want to offer it as an add-on, and keep track of which families pay for meals.

6. After-Hour Care Fees

Childcare and daycare centers often charge premiums for families who want early morning, evening, or even holiday childcare. Since these times are outside of typical care hours, parents can expect to pay higher hourly fees plus any other additional costs required. It’ll be helpful to establish these premium prices beforehand, and make parents aware of their options. 

7. Other Service Fees

Transportation, unscheduled “drop-in” care, and special activities such as field trips all cost money. Clearly outline any other possible fees under additional services in your payment policy so parents are charged fairly.

Daily Connect: A Complete Childcare Billing Solution

No matter what types of childcare fees you charge, it’s crucial that you have a way to easily collect and organize all payments. Childcare billing software is one of the best things you can use for your business, especially when it comes with features that streamline your billing processes. 

At Daily Connect, we help childcare centers manage their everyday operations better. With our new parent billing features, you get all the support and digital insights you need to take control of billing, invoices, and fees. These features include:

  • Automated invoicing — instantly schedule invoices, reminders, and late notices 
  • Multiple payment options — receive ACH transfer, credit/debit card, cash, or check
  • Split payment options — allow families to split their childcare bills
  • Organized reporting dashboard — view all unpaid, paid, unprocessed, and late bills next to parents’ contact information 
  • Subsidy and scholarship logs — remember special funds and financial aid customers
  • Fields for additional fees — keep track of every additional fee, fully customizable for your childcare center

In addition to our newest billing features, you get all the other benefits of the Daily Connect app for childcare and daycare management. Keep track of business performance, child attendance, learning assessments, parent-teacher communication, and more. Digitally organize important documents such as incident reports, daily checklists, and childcare licensure renewals.

If you’re ready to make your childcare fees and overall business structure easier and more streamlined, the Daily Connect app is for you. Click here to get started with a free trial of all these features today. 

Daily Connect Launches Revamped Parent Billing Tools

At Daily Connect, we’re all about finding new ways to make our users’ lives easier. One way we’re doing that is through the introduction of our completely redesigned parent billing solution. 

These new tools, which are being rolled out to all Professional+ users over the next few weeks, make it easier for childcare providers to send invoices and collect payments from the families they work with. 

With advanced features including automation tools and reporting dashboards, Daily Connect’s new parent billing solution gives childcare center owners and operators the flexibility to build a payment program that works for their business. 

Read on as we explore some of the key features added in this update.

Key Features of The Daily Connect Parent Billing Platform

Parent Billing integrates directly with your existing Daily Connect account, meaning administrators can manage invoicing and payments from exactly the same app they already use to manage attendance, scheduling, parent messaging, and more. 

The powerful new features include:

New Payment Options

With customizable payment options, administrators can choose to have parents pay however is most suitable for them. This includes:

  • Multiple Payment Methods: accept payments via credit/debit card, ACH transfer, cash, or check. Parents can pay directly from their Daily Connect app, or via a link sent to them in their email invoice.
  • Split Payments: parents can split their childcare bill in any way they like, with multiple people able to contribute towards tuition payments. 
  • Support for Subsidies and Scholarships: easily reconcile your subsidy invoices and payments right from the Daily Connect platform. 
  • Credits and Discounts: add credits and discounts to parent invoices to make sure the correct amount is always displayed. 
  • Additional Charges: add all relevant charges, including tuition, meal plans, after-care, onboarding fees, field trips, and more. 

All of these new features are in addition to the existing Parent Billing features on the platform, which enable childcare providers to email parents invoices and seamlessly collect payments online. 

It’s your payments, your way – making life easier for you and your families. 

Automated Parent Billing for Childcare Centers

Chasing payments is time-consuming and frustrating. But with Daily Connect’s new automation features, that frustration will soon be a thing of the past. Features include:

  • Auto-Pay: parents can set up auto-pay to ensure you always get paid on time. 
  • Recurring Invoices: send automatically repeating invoices at the end of each billing cycle, cutting down on the amount of time staff need to spend manually calculating and sending invoices.
  • Late Fees: automatically add a late fee to invoices when parents miss a payment deadline. 
  • Notifications: you’ll receive a notification when parents pay their bill, meaning you always know when money is coming in. 

Together, these new features will save you and your staff countless hours every month, freeing you up to spend more time on the parts of your business you enjoy the most: being with the children. 

Reporting Tools

Understand how your childcare business is performing with reporting tools and real-time dashboard features built directly into the Daily Connect app:

  • End-of-Year Reports: quickly understand how your business performed over the past year with powerful reporting tools that help you identify new opportunities for growth. There are reporting tools for parents to see what they spent too.
  • Real-Time Dashboard: access a live payment dashboard in the Daily Connect app that clearly displays completed, pending, and upcoming payments, so you can understand your business’s financial position at a moment’s notice. 

Make use of these reports for your own analysis, or share them with your accountant or business manager – they’re there to help you be more successful. 

Clear, Low Transaction Fees

These new payment features will be rolled out to all Professional+ accounts over the next few weeks. 

Your monthly subscription rate will remain the same, but there will be transaction fees applied to every payment you collect. You can decide whether to pay these yourself or transfer the cost to your customers. 

There are no set-up fees, recurring monthly fees, or contracts: the only fees associated with using our new Parent Billing tools are the transaction fees outlined below. 

Transaction fees are calculated as follows:

Credit/Debit Card Payments

Each payment will be assessed a 2.9% transaction fee. Here is an example. 

For a $250.00 weekly invoice you send to a parent, there would be a transaction fee of $7.25 ($250.00 x 2.9%). As the childcare provider, you have two options:

  1. Make customers responsible for this fee. When the customer pays their invoice, they would see the charge of $250.00, plus a $7.25 transaction fee. Their total would be $257.25, and you would receive $250.00.
  1. Pay this fee yourself. When the customer pays their invoice, they would see the charge of $250.00. They would pay $250.00 and you would receive $242.75.

ACH Transfers

Each payment will be charged a $0.99 transaction fee. Here is an example of how this works using the same example $250 payment as above.

For a $250.00 weekly invoice you send to a parent, there would be a transaction fee of $0.99. As the childcare provider, you have two options:

  1. Make customers responsible for this fee. When the customer pays their invoice, they would see the charge of $250.00, plus a $0.99 transaction fee. Their total would be $250.99, and you would receive $250.00.
  1. Pay this fee yourself. When the customer pays their invoice, they would see the charge of $250.00. They would pay $250.00 and you would receive $249.01.

Cash or Check: there are no fees associated with offline payments including cash and check payments. 

Start Using Our All-New Parent Billing Features Today

We’re excited to roll these features out to all Professional+ subscribers over the coming weeks. You’ll receive an email and an in-app notification when these features are activated on your account. 

If you have any questions about how to use these features, don’t hesitate to visit our Help Center or contact our Customer Support team. Together, we’re excited to continue innovating new ways to help you build a better, more successful business.

How to Create Payment Policies For A Childcare Business

While childcare is an essential profession in society, it isn’t a charity. At the end of the day, you and your staff have families to feed and lives to live. You all need to get paid for your hard work and service. 

It’s common practice for childcare providers to have a payment policies to make sure parents pay for childcare on time. If you’re wondering what makes a good childcare payment policy or how to improve your existing one, keep reading. Here are the top things to include in a payment policy, plus several ways you can encourage parents to pay on time. 

What is a Payment Policy for Childcare?

Payment policies outline how, when, and what methods customers can use to make payments responsibly. As a consensual agreement, a payment policy can also put legal protections in place for everyone involved, from customers to business owners. The bottom line is that payment policies help you, and by extension your staff, get paid on time.

Childcare payment policies, often thoroughly explained in the parent handbook, cover all the details parents need to understand how to pay for childcare services. Whether it be tuition amounts, late fees, add-on services, billing, or online payments, your payment policy should inform customers of their financial expectations and options. 

What to Include in a Childcare Payment Policy

While policies can be customized for your childcare center, there are several things every childcare provider should include in their payment policy. 

Tuition Fees

The first and most important item on the list for your payment policy is childcare tuition. This is how your business makes money. Tuition is the set fee that covers the cost of childcare. Whether parents enroll their children for daily care or only twice a week, they should be aware of the tuition owed.

Late Fees and Penalties 

Childcare centers often charge late fees for invoices that are paid past the due date. Late fees motivate parents to make payments on time so they don’t have to incur higher childcare bills. Late fees also help your business recover from the inconvenience of late payments. A late fee can be anything from a $45 flat fee or a $10-per-day charge for every day the bill is late. 

Other Fee Agreements

Other fees that may be part of your childcare business include meals, after-hours childcare, enrollment fees, drop-in childcare, field trips, and merchandise. Every childcare center is different: some may include all items in the parent invoice while others may prefer to collect payments on demand. Include these fees, descriptions, amounts, and payment method options in your policy. 

Invoice Delivery

Before you get paid, you need to send out invoices to all of your childcare customers. Many childcare centers send invoices via email, postal delivery, or in person. Invoices list all items that parents are being charged for, such as tuition, late fees, snack fees, and more. Decide how you’ll deliver invoices, and set consistent dates for delivery — as well as reminders.

Payment Timelines

Be clear about how frequently parents are expected to pay their childcare bills. For example, will they be expected to pay tuition weekly, monthly, or quarterly? What day of the week or month are bills due? Do you expect parents to pay by a specific time of day, such as by 6:00 pm on Fridays? Be as detailed as possible to make sure parents understand their payment obligations.

Payment Methods

Once parents know how much they owe, when they’re expected to pay, and the potential consequences of late payments, they need to know how they can pay you. Your parent handbook should clearly outline:

  • Acceptable payment methods (credit/debit card, cash, check, ACH bank transfer)
  • Any processing fees that may apply
  • Links and instructions for online payments
  • Details on what happens if a payment is denied or returned, such as a bounced check

Make sure parents know about their available recurring payment options, as well. Many parents today prefer to pay online. 

Childcare Financial Assistance 

If your childcare business works with financial assistance programs, you may want to include a section explaining this process in your payment policy. It may also be helpful to share financial assistance resources, links, or hotlines in the parent handbook for anyone who may need that option. 

Childcare Termination Clause 

It’s valid to include terms for childcare termination in your payment policy. For example, a “three strikes” rule may state that if a parent or guardian fails to pay tuition for three billing cycles in a row, their child will be removed from care. 

This clause can also explain steps to avoid termination of childcare, such as arranging parent-teacher meetings to discuss temporary financial struggles. Encourage understanding and communication with parents, but also have firm boundaries so your business is not taken advantage of. 

Review Policies With New Customers

Even if you create the best payment policy in the industry, parents still need to read it. The reality is that some parents don’t read the full agreement. Make an effort to spend some time with each new family and clearly explain the payment policy. Even if it’s just ten minutes during enrollment, verbally communicating the most important policy points can make a big difference.

Support Parent Billing and Childcare Payments With Daily Connect

As a leading childcare management app, Daily Connect supports childcare providers with all the tools they need to manage payments. From helping you create a thorough childcare billing strategy to managing invoices and late fees, our new parent billing features support childcare centers every step of the way.

Here’s what you can expect with the Daily Connect app:

  • Collect different types of payment from parents
  • Choose a multi-payment option (50/50 between parents or guardians)
  • Track business performance year-round
  • White label the app to represent your brand
  • Reduce late payments with conveniently scheduled recurring payment options
  • Automate billing and late fee reminders so parents never forget a payment
  • Enjoy the Daily Connect dashboard to track payments and financial reports in one place

Whether you’re currently wanting to improve your childcare payment policy or you simply want to ensure it’s followed effectively, the Daily Connect app is your solution. 

Get started with Daily Connect and enjoy our all-new parent billing and childcare management features. To see how it works, reach out for your free trial today.

11 Ways to Be a Better Babysitter

As the African proverb goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” In our modern society of nuclear families and busy schedules, babysitters and nannies help their communities experience this timeless village analogy. 

In many ways, babysitting is a rewarding and promising career. Many families could not thrive without the invaluable support of their babysitter. Some sitters work their way from minimum wage side gigs to full-time, 6-figure nanny careers. Others grow into established childcare professionals, from opening their own businesses to becoming influential teachers.

Whether you want to become a nanny or are considering raising your rates in the future, you should know what makes a great babysitter. Keep reading to learn how to be a better babysitter, and why it matters.

Why Should Babysitters Aim to Get Better?

As a babysitter, you’re as multifaceted and unique as the families you serve. There are no two babysitters who are the same, and there is no such thing as a perfect babysitter. Your goal is to be the best babysitter that suits the lifestyle, expectations, and childcare needs of the family. 

Here’s why improving yourself as a babysitter matters:

  • Experienced, highly-skilled babysitters earn more money.
  • If you’re great at your job, you’ll get word-of-mouth referrals from parents.
  • As a babysitter, you play a crucial role in child development! This is an honorable role that you should strive to be the best at.
  • Whether you’re a parent or want to be one someday, babysitting familiarizes you with what children need to grow and learn.
  • There are many types of babysitters and nannies. From traveling au pairs to live-in nannies to temporary babysitters, the more skills you develop means you’ll have more qualifications for your preferred job. 

That being said, there are several qualities and skills that most parents look for in a babysitter or nanny. As with any other service-based job, there’s always room for improvement (and higher pay).

11 Ways Babysitters Can Improve Their Services

As someone interested in childcare, you might already have personality traits that make a great babysitter: compassion, gentleness, discipline, responsibility, and light-heartedness. Soft skills are important, but hard skills and communication are equally vital to improving your service. Here are some tips.

1. Develop a Mindset of Service 

To be a better babysitter, let go of the stereotypical anecdote where a grumpy 16-year-old neighbor has to take care of a few bratty kids. Babysitting and nannying are responsible service jobs. You are serving families and contributing to society by allowing parents to work, get stuff done, and even take some much-needed time off. 

While some people may raise an eyebrow or question why you chose a babysitting career, remember: you are getting paid to help raise a generation. Adopt a positive mindset and a “can do” attitude, then show up with confidence.

2. Prioritize Education

Education is crucial for yourself and the children you care for. You should:

  • Continue to learn and take classes on child development and child psychology. 
  • Constantly observe the latest trends in education and child entertainment. 
  • Create a log of fun ideas, learning activities, age-appropriate books, and safe experiences you can provide.
  • Organize educational activities in a curriculum planning app if your role involves tutoring, teaching, or homeschooling.

Remember, the best teachers are learners. The best babysitters value teaching and learning. 

3. Be Clear About Expectations

Discuss expectations upfront with parents. Be sure you know your own expectations from the beginning. How many children can you watch at once? Will you cook, clean, and change diapers? Are you willing to be a mommy’s helper early in the morning? What do the parents expect from you, and how will you know if they’re pleased or disappointed? 

Be clear about expectations on all sides, even with kids who can understand rules and tasks. You can always start with strong boundaries and then relax them a bit as earned. Beginning with zero boundaries and then trying to enforce new ones can be difficult. 

4. Improve Your Communication

How can you communicate better with parents? Aside from daily summaries and incident reports, some parents love to get little updates via photo or text. Childcare-parent messaging apps are useful if you want to securely share videos of the kids throughout the week, and easily keep all your clients’ conversations in a professional app. 

5. Be Organized and Prepared 

Staying organized makes your job easier, relieves parents of excess tasks, and encourages kids to stay on track with their daily routines. Here are some aspects of babysitting you can organize better:

  • Your work schedule(s) and availability 
  • Child schedules and appointments
  • Learning supplies and materials you need to bring
  • Household supplies and materials parents need to restock
  • Activity agendas 
  • Lesson plans
  • 5-10 minute warnings for activity changes 
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency phone numbers

More importantly, organizing helps you stay prepared for unexpected situations. Injuries, safety risks, conflict, bad behavior, and miscommunication are all normal parts of babysitting. Remain aware of your surroundings and pay attention to the kids no matter what. 

6. Keep Records of Daily Activities 

In addition to staying organized, the best babysitters keep notes of significant events that occur each day. This can include child achievements, behavioral issues, meals and snacks, nap times, potty training wins and misses, injuries, learning activities, and more. Keep a journal or digital log so you never forget to inform parents of details they want to know. 

7. Get Rid of Unnecessary Distractions

If you want to be a good babysitter or nanny, you need to be aware of the things that distract you from doing your best. 

  • Are you tempted to scroll through your phone during mealtime? 
  • Do you get easily frustrated when a child talks back to you? 
  • Are you waiting for the day to end instead of staying in the present moment?

Work to eliminate distractions and improve your focus. Limit your phone notifications and usage, remember to not take a child’s behavior personally, and aim to engage and attend to the kids first.

8. Welcome Feedback and Criticism

Every job comes with feedback and sometimes criticism. As someone who’s providing care and quality time to children, parents may sometimes have different ideals and expectations than you. Stay open to suggestions, strive to understand parents’ expectations, and always take criticism as an opportunity to grow.

9. Honor Boundaries 

Every family has different values, discipline methods, priorities, and lifestyle habits. Children grow and learn best when there’s consistency and structure, so maintain the family’s wishes and boundaries. This includes:

  • Daily routines and schedules
  • Nutritional preferences
  • Rules and consequences
  • Screen time limits
  • Acceptable toys
  • Chores
  • Playtime with neighbors and friends 

Also, if there are any extra household tasks you’re responsible for, always do your best job at those as well. 

10. Let Yourself Have Fun

The best babysitters know how to have fun while maintaining a safe, structured environment. Let yourself be silly, laugh, and be active with the kids — all children need to enjoy and explore positive experiences! Having fun also encourages you to stay sane and feel rewarded on the job. And let’s face it: nobody wants a babysitter who’s boring and serious all the time. 

11. Automate Your Admin Tasks

Whether you babysit for one family or have multiple households on rotation each week, every babysitter or nanny role comes with some administrative tasks. From scheduling and transportation to parent communication, automated babysitting apps can help you save time. These software tools help you focus on what matters most: spending time with the children.

Daily Connect: The Ultimate Babysitting App

Set yourself up for success to be the best babysitter you can be by using a digital management tool. The Daily Connect app helps you implement all these skills and everyday actions into your service so you can improve, stay organized, communicate better, and get paid more.

See how the Daily Connect Babysitter app works. Click here to begin a free trial today.

17 Montessori Preschool Activities

The Montessori education model favors hands-on, self-directed learning because of the many ways it enhances each child’s natural learning. Through play, group activities, and everyday tasks, Montessori preschool students discover their capabilities, which nurtures a lifelong love of learning.

If you run a Montessori preschool or daycare, here are some Montessori preschool activity ideas to use in your classroom. 

Individualized Montessori Preschooler Activities

Self-guided learning requires solo activities where children can engage, play, and complete interesting tasks that don’t require a group effort. These activities are popular among Montessori classrooms today, helping children develop confidence and real-world skills.

1. Cleaning Toys

One of the main key learning areas of a Montessori classroom is practical life skills. To help kids learn the basics of caring for their belongings, a great activity to try is “cleaning the toys.” Set up a station with a bucket of mild soap and water, a pitcher, a sponge, and a washcloth. Allow children to clean their favorite set of toys, helping when you see a need for assistance. 

2. Pour and Scoop

Pouring and scooping is a natural, tactile activity young children practice. In a Montessori setting, you can apply this motion to nearly any subject: math, art, sensorial learning, and more. Set up a station with a tray, scooper, cup, and the materials to pour. These can include beads, sand, seeds, small toys, rice, liquids, or buttons. 

3. Snack Helper

Another practical life skills activity is to make snack helpers a regular part of the daily routine. Create a rotating schedule of students who will help prepare snacks. While the rest of the class is involved in their activities, the assigned student(s) can help the teacher prepare or hand out food. This teaches responsibility, etiquette, and service. 

4. Button Frames

This activity involves fabric attached to wooden frames. Holes are sewn into the fabric so students can practice buttoning and unbuttoning the cloth. This helps them learn dressing, hand-eye coordination, and motor skills.

5. Puzzle Maps

Puzzle maps of all shapes and sizes are essential for Montessori classrooms. They not only introduce children to geography but also give kids an activity that encourages fine motor skills and organization. 

6. Memory Cards

Memory cards, also called classification cards, are popular Montessori preschool activity options. Kids learn to find, name, and remember specific objects in their immediate environment. Many times, teachers pair these memory cards with physical objects, such as toys, kitchen items, and pictures. 

7. Sound and Letter Tracing 

Similar to letter tracing, sound tracing is a great activity for kids to learn the basics of spelling and language. Children trace letters outlined on paper displayed with objects they can recognize, such as “A for apple.” While they trace, they sound out the object.

8. Float and Sink

One learning objective of Montessori preschool is to help students distinguish between opposites. Float and sink activities present students with the opportunity to learn about weight and volume, then make predictions. Prepare a jar of water and multiple small objects. Students guess which objects will sink or float, then test them out for themselves. 

Montessori Preschool Activities for Groups

Group activities help children learn social-emotional skills, conflict resolution, spatial awareness, and community collaboration. Here are some excellent group activities for preschoolers.

1. Name Games

The Name Game encourages memory, social play, and respect for others. Sit every student in a circle, and present each student’s name to the class. Then, everyone sits with their eyes closed, and the teacher silently selects someone as “it.” That student goes and taps every student on the shoulder one by one until someone guesses the correct name of the child who’s “it.” 

2. Mystery Bag

The Mystery Bag game is great for sensory play and memory. The teacher places everyday objects into the bag, such as nail clippers, a brush, and small toys. Each student takes a turn reaching into the bag without looking and has to try to identify the objects in the bag using only touch. 

3. Nature Study

Another great sensory activity is Nature Study. Gather several items from nature, such as fallen leaves, twigs, flowers, pebbles, or feathers. Giving each child a magnifying glass, have them take turns looking at different objects and describing to their classmates what they see or think about it. 

4. Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are always fun, educational group activities. Create themed scavenger hunts, such as finding specific colors, shapes, and object uses (cleaning, cooking, etc.). You can also set up an outdoor scavenger hunt identifying items of each season or vegetables in the garden.

5. Play Pretend (Role Playing)

Group role-playing or “playing pretend” is an essential part of early childhood education. These group activities can be guided, or you can give more creative freedom to children in what roles they want to imagine. Fun ideas include dinosaurs, popular animated characters, animals, and “playing house.”

6. Feather Race

Feather races allow children to observe speed, weight, and time. It also encourages them to be present as they interact with a group and a shared object. Demonstrate how feathers fall, float, and react to air by blowing. Give each student a feather and a partner, then have them race the other teams’ feathers across the class.

7. Put Our Work Away

Clean-up time is a necessary part of any preschool classroom. It also makes a helpful Montessori preschool group activity. Challenge kids to see who can pick up the most number of items for a prize. Instruct the class to pick up five items and put them where they belong, supervising them to offer guidance. 

8. Opposite Game

The Opposite Game is similar to Simon Says. Children simply do the opposite of what the teacher instructs them to do. For example, you can say, “Stomp your feet hard!” and children must lightly tap their feet. Or you can instruct the class, “Say ‘purple’ in a very loud voice,” which means the group will whisper ‘purple’ quietly. 

9. Culture Show and Tell

As a circle activity, gather the class and do some show and tell. Prepare some common items from different cultures, and welcome the children to raise their hands to explain what it is. This encourages learning of cultural diversity, and students feel excited to explain the items from their cultures to different students. 

More Activity Ideas With Montessori Lesson Plans

To help you better organize activities and lesson plans for your classroom, a Montessori childcare software is a great solution.

With the Daily Connect app, you get more than 270 lesson plans created specifically for Montessori preschool teachers. Each lesson plan includes:

  • Activity descriptions for teachers and staff
  • List of materials required for each activity
  • Learning objectives and targeted Montessori learning centers for each activity 
  • Learning outcomes for success
  • Video explanation for each activity

In addition to these helpful lesson plans, the Daily Connect Montessori app provides teachers with the digital tools they need to improve every aspect of their classroom. 

  • Teachers and staff can record every child’s learning assessment directly in the app.
  • Teachers can upload pictures, record special moments, and attach notes to securely share with parents. 
  • Set up invoices and online billing for parents.
  • Track learning assessments for students and the whole class.
  • Manage check-in and attendance digitally, with ease.

To learn more about Daily Connect for your Montessori preschool, contact us today for a free demo of how the app works. 

April 2023: New Daily Connect Feature Round-Up

Spring has arrived, and so have new features on Daily Connect!

We’re excited to continue releasing new features that make life easier for childcare center directors, preschool teachers, in-home daycare providers, and others. This month, we’re releasing three new features that make for easier record-keeping and planning for childcare providers all over the world. 

Read on to learn more about the new features we released. Got an idea for a new feature that would make a big difference to your childcare center? Get in touch today: many of our most popular features come from requests from our customers! Email the team at support@dailyconnect.com with your ideas. 

Customization of Incident Reports

Incident reports play an important role in documenting the bumps and scrapes that happen at daycare businesses. Kids can be careless: they might run into each other, trip over, or have some other type of accident – it happens all the time! 

Recording these incidents not only keeps your business protected, but also means you can share information about exactly what happened with families. In some states and countries, childcare providers are required to document every incident and collect parent signatures to comply with licensing requirements. 

You can now customize incident reports and create custom fields that you need to be included on the incident report. Here are a few examples of custom fields that you can add:

  • Nature of injury
  • Description of injury
  • Where it happened
  • Actions taken by staff
  • Treatment applied
  • Witness
  • And more….

In addition to this, staff members and parents can both sign the incident report to show that they have reviewed the document. 

Incident Reports can be customized under Settings > Customize Labels > Incident Reports

Customization of Schedule Options

With the growing popularity of remote work, some parents no longer need full-time daycare for their children, instead only sending their kids to you for a few days a week. 

That means you have to think a little harder about scheduling to understand which children will be in attendance, and on what days.

To make that process easier for you, we’ve made it possible for you to customize the scheduling options that are listed on the child’s schedule page (under Settings > Customize Labels > Schedule). 

Instead of adding a whole day, you can now add Morning, Afternoon, Short Day, or None as attendance options. 

This feature is only available for Professional+ subscriptions. 

Child Documents and Notes

Last month, we announced the release of new features to store child and family information on a central child profile page. 

This month, we’re adding the ability to upload documents to each child’s profile, such as enrollment forms or any information filled out on paper forms. Teachers and administrators can also add extra notes. 

Both documents and notes are only visible to the staff of your childcare center, and cannot be viewed by families. 

This feature is only available for Professional+ subscriptions. 

Start Using These New Features Today

These features have been activated for all eligible Daily Connect accounts. If you experience any difficulty learning how to use them, visit our Help Center or contact the team. 

Got an idea for an improvement or new feature that you’d like to see in Daily Connect? We’d love to hear about it: contact us at support@dailyconnect.com to share your idea!

How to Start an In-Home Daycare Business

Starting a home daycare business can be an extremely rewarding career move. If you love taking care of children and have the space to run a daycare from your home, there’s a good chance your business will be in high demand. Independent daycare jobs can pay well, especially if you know how to set up the business side of things correctly.

Whether you want to start a small in-home daycare, a scalable childcare business, or a Montessori daycare within your home, keep reading. Here’s how to start an in-home daycare business.

1. Create a Plan

In a perfect world, you’d be able to open your doors to the families in your community and start making a living doing what you love right away. But it takes time and lots of planning to effectively open up a home daycare center

To start, you’ll need to form a plan for every major aspect of your daycare business. Here’s what that entails. 

Daycare Name

You’ll need to establish a business name. Ideally, choose a name that stands out, is easy to remember, and describes a little bit of your unique childcare approach. 

Cost of Services

How much will you charge for daycare? If you have no idea where to start gauging your prices, take a look at some local childcare centers and compare pricing. Ask families and friends what they’d pay for at-home daycare. Read up on the industry. And, of course, factor in your business finance needs for operating a daycare.

Daycare Budget

There are legitimate business costs involved in starting a home daycare. Before you offer childcare to the public, you need to know your daycare budget. This includes operating costs, projected revenue, expenses, emergency funds, and more. How will you fund your home daycare? Are you prepared for the financial obligations? 

Work-Life Balance

Lastly, be honest about your ability to maintain a healthy balance between work and life. You need to prepare some clear boundaries and stick to them. Is there a designated area of your home for daycare? Will your own kids be present during work hours? How will you manage organizing, meal preparation, and cleaning for both work and home? There’s a lot to consider.

2. Know the Requirements 

As with any other childcare business, there are federal, state, and county at-home daycare requirements you must follow. Unless you’re simply nannying or babysitting, you legally cannot operate a daycare without a license.

There are important licensure requirements that childcare providers must obtain and renew. A license holds you (the owner) and employees accountable for the children in your care. It also prevents irresponsible action and protects you from legal trouble. Similarly, daycare insurance protects you from potential crime, liability issues, and property damage.

Another requirement to know about is capacity. How many children can you care for at one time? More importantly, what are the local and state laws regarding at-home childcare numbers? Look into resources from www.childcare.gov and select your state to learn about the legal requirements and limitations. It’s also wise to contact a legal expert directly. 

3. Prepare Your Home for Daycare

You’ll need to gather everything you need to set up your home as a daycare. This includes equipment, supplies, and learning materials. It also includes safety, family-friendly decor, and a welcoming atmosphere.

Make sure everyone in your home is in support of you running a daycare business from the home. The last thing you need is conflict from the people you share a living space and home workspace with. Use common sense. If there are roommates or family members who might not accommodate a safe space for children, consider other childcare business options

Additionally, make sure you childproof your home to protect the young children who will be in your care. It’s also suggested that you have enough space for a designated childcare area so children can focus on learning free of distractions.

Read More: Safeguarding Your Home Daycare: What Experts Have to Say

4. Legitimize Your Daycare Business

There are a few things to cover when it comes to the business side of childcare:

  • Pricing
  • Marketing
  • Parent communication
  • Billing and invoicing

Once you know the cost of your services, you can decide on what type of business model you want to run. This includes the daycare schedule, billing methods, payment due dates, and childcare curriculum. It also includes your teaching philosophy, childcare niche, and customer turnover processes. 

Are you going to publicly market your daycare? If so, how? Most home daycare providers start gaining customers through word-of-mouth referrals or through families they know in the community. Later on, you can consider childcare marketing, local promotion, and SEO.

Another important aspect of the business is professional communication with your customers. Parent communication can make or break a successful daycare business, so set yourself up for the best outcome by getting clear on these expectations. Many childcare providers use a secure daycare management app that includes parent-teacher messaging. 

5. Don’t Overcomplicate Your Home Daycare Business

There are a lot of steps to starting a home daycare business. It can sometimes get overwhelming. But one thing you don’t want to do is overcomplicate the business so much that you fail to start. 

You absolutely need the right licensing, funding, equipment, and supplies to start offering childcare. However, you don’t need extra fancy details to officially open and run a successful daycare. Don’t worry about having an expensive childcare website, social media following, or perfect five-year goal in order. Start with the foundations. You can always grow and improve.

6. Stay Organized and Grow Your At-Home Daycare

Once you start a daycare business from home, you might be surprised at how fulfilling the entrepreneurial side of it is. With the right environment, a solid plan, and a wholehearted commitment to serving your customers, it’s likely that you’ll attract more business over time.

Whether you scale your daycare business or simply need help staying organized, a childcare management platform is an ideal solution. It helps you manage the important things:

  • Daily activities
  • Parent communication
  • Parent billing
  • Health and safety logs
  • Learning assessments
  • Sign-in and attendance

Daily Connect, the most comprehensive childcare software on the market, helps new daycare providers set themselves up for success. Recognized by Capterra as the Best Value Childcare Software 2022, it’s the most affordable and accessible solution on the market today.

Start your free trial of Daily Connect in-home daycare software today to see how it can help you organize and scale your business.

How to Make a Budget for Your Daycare Business

Whether you run a daycare business at your home or you’re starting up a new childcare center, one of the most important aspects of success is a reliable budget. Without knowing the numbers in your business, it’s nearly impossible to scale — much less remain organized in so many important tasks.

Maybe you’re wondering why your daycare business is struggling to gain traction. Or maybe you want to make sure your new childcare business will make a predictable profit in the first year of operation. No matter the case, you need a plan. 

Here’s how to make a budget for your daycare business.

What is a Budget?

A budget is a financial spending plan that helps you organize and allocate your money in order to achieve specific goals. Personal budgets prevent you from overspending by listing out your monthly spending obligations such as rent, food, entertainment, luxury items, savings, and home maintenance. 

A business budget is similar to a personal budget but instead focuses on professional objectives. Your childcare business budget might include revenue goals, marketing campaigns, payroll, preparing for taxes, opening a second location, and more.

Creating a daycare business budget prepares you to effectively start your childcare business, attract customers, predict expenses, and utilize profit. Since every daycare center is different in both size and operation, you need to consider all the business factors unique to your daycare before finalizing your budget. 

Why Do Childcare Centers Need Budgets?

Like any other business, childcare centers and daycares need budgets to run smoothly. Your childcare business budget encourages you to continually make more money, even after the costs it takes to operate the business. 

A daycare budget also makes it possible for you to pay your hardworking employees. Without a budget, you wouldn’t be able to calculate a decent pay rate, much less financially strategize your hiring and promotion processes.

Equally as important, childcare center budgets accelerate your business growth. No business becomes successful by accident. It takes a lot of planning, strategic action, and hard work to achieve a significant profit. None of this would be possible without a valid budget, which reveals the exact numbers you’re working with.

Daycare and childcare center budgets guide you in nearly every business decision. You will turn to your budget over and over in every domain of business:

  • Licensure costs and renewals
  • Insurance
  • Equipment and supplies 
  • Employee pay
  • Marketing
  • Technology
  • Cleaning 
  • Health and hygiene 
  • Facility upkeep
  • Accounting 
  • Legal assistance 
  • Emergencies 
  • Teaching and training
  • Social activities
  • Entertainment
  • Other professional demands 

Every aspect of your daycare business has a cost, which is why a budget is so essential. Ultimately, it sets the foundation of your business from startup to success.

How to Make a Budget for My Childcare Business

Now that you know why a budget is so important for your daycare business, here are some crucial first steps toward creating (and following!) a financial plan.

Understand Your Revenue

Revenue is the amount of money earned from your entire daycare business before you consider any costs. Another term for this is “gross sales.” This includes money from:

  • Enrollment
  • Childcare tuition 
  • Core services
  • Fees
  • Grants
  • Optional “premium” services like food, early drop off, and more

In a daycare business budget, revenue is typically calculated on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. 

When starting a daycare business, monthly revenue might change as you get used to budgeting and managing everyday demands

However, you can predict monthly revenue by figuring out roughly how much each customer pays you, and multiplying that by your number of customers.

Childcare Center Business Expenses

Expenses are any costs you pay to operate your business. This includes licensure, rent, payroll, utilities, daycare snacks, learning supplies, maintenance fees, insurance, and more.

There are three main types of expenses to be aware of: startup, fixed, and variable. Be sure to go through all possible expenses and include these in your daycare budget.

  • Startup Costs include all the money required to start and open your daycare. Will you run your business at home or at a facility? Do you need to get trademarked? What furniture do you need to buy for your business? How much are the equipment and supplies for your daycare? Do you need funding, such as grants or loans? These are all important startup costs.
  • Fixed Expenses are any regularly recurring business costs such as rent, a mortgage, software subscriptions, insurance, and more. These expenses are predictable and steady, remaining the same from month to month (that’s why they’re called fixed expenses!).
  • Variable Expenses are business costs that vary from month to month. These include staff wages, bonuses, meals and snacks, utility bills, marketing expenses, facility maintenance, housekeeping supplies, legal fees, emergency costs, and other miscellaneous demands.

In your daycare budget, expenses are subtracted from your revenue. The purpose of this is to not only keep track of all the dollars in and out, but to also notice if there’s any overspending. After all, you’re not running your daycare business to lose money: you want to make a profit!  


In your daycare business, profit is the remaining money you keep after paying all business expenses and taxes. With this business profit, you need to be able to pay yourself, set aside enough money for future taxes, and build business savings, which is useful for emergencies and future growth. 

When you do your childcare accounting year after year, you can adjust operations, expenses, tuition costs, and service prices to strategize for growth. It’s extremely helpful to use some sort of digital accounting or budgeting system, as automating this in an organized way saves so much time. 

Childcare Software to Help With Your Business Budget

Whether you start a small daycare from your own home or you open a multi-location childcare center, having the right budget in place is key to your success. Many successful childcare owners today use childcare software to help stay on track with their daycare budget.

Not only can childcare software optimize your budget, but it can also streamline many other areas of your childcare business. From parent billing and invoicing to student learning and assessments, childcare apps make it easy to manage everything in one place.

Daily Connect, the most comprehensive childcare software, was recognized as the ‘Best Value Childcare Software 2022’ by Capterra. If you want to start your daycare center with the tools you need to thrive, Daily Connect is the most affordable solution on the market. 

Create, manage, and operate your daycare budget with Daily Connect. Try out our free trial today.

Daily Connect Launches Five New Features

At Daily Connect, we’re always talking to our users to learn more about the product improvements that would make Daily Connect an even better solution for their day-to-day childcare operations. 

We use this feedback to create meaningful new features that save our users time, create a better parent experience, and make life easier. 

This month, we’re excited to announce five new features:

  1. Children and Family Information
  2. Authorization Levels for Parents and Caregivers
  3. Weekly Schedules & Absence Tracking
  4. Attendance Forecasting
  5. Scheduled Classroom Changes

These changes are all live in the Daily Connect app now and users can begin using them from today. 

Curious about how to best use each of these features? Read on for a brief overview of each new tool. 

Children and Family Information

These new features make it easy for childcare centers and daycare owners to store all the information they need to have available on children and families in one central location. 

Users can now add the following information to a child’s profile:

  • Status: Active, Inactive, Removed, or Graduated
  • Full Legal Name
  • Address
  • Medications
  • Immunization History
  • Registered Pediatrician and other Physicians

These improvements to our record-keeping function help childcare providers better satisfy licensing requirements and other legal requirements put in place by local governments. 

What other information would you like to see in this section of Daily Connect? Reach out to the team today at support@dailyconnect.com to share your opinion!

Authorization Levels for Parents and Caregivers

The chances are it’s not the same person picking up the child every day from your care. Multiple people might be involved in a child’s care: Moms, Dads, Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, Nannies, and more. 

When you create multiple caregivers for each child, you can now specify each person’s relation to that child. Additionally, you can assign a level of permission to that individual’s account. The four available levels are:

  • View Child Information
  • Edit Child Profile
  • Authorized Pickup Person
  • Emergency Contact

Here are a couple of examples of how this might work in practice. 

  • A Grandparent can be authorized to view the child information, but cannot edit the child profile or pick up the child from childcare.
  • A parent carpools several children from their neighborhood to childcare and needs to be added as an authorized pickup person for another two children, but doesn’t need to be able to view or edit their child information. 

You can learn more about this feature here:

Weekly Schedules & Absence Tracking

You can now indicate the planned weekly schedule of a child. You can also easily record no shows and expected absences. This can be helpful to forecast attendance, and also to communicate planned absences with staff.  

It’s also possible to keep a record of when the child started childcare and when you expect them to graduate from your care.

You can learn more about these features by visiting these articles:

Attendance Forecasting

With Daily Connect’s new attendance forecasting tools, it’s now possible for your childcare center to predict what attendance will look like in the coming weeks and months. This can help directors make better decisions about staffing levels and generally be better prepared for what the future holds. 

The Attendance Forecast Report displays expected attendance. This prediction is calculated using each child’s weekly schedule, their start and end date, any upcoming scheduled absences, and scheduled classroom changes.  

To learn more about this feature, read this article:

Scheduled Classroom Changes

Over time, children will move between classrooms as they celebrate birthdays and grow older. 

But there’s no need for you to manually have to move a child every time they graduate to the next classroom. You can automate these classroom changes by setting rules based on each child’s age. For example, “When Jacob turns 3, move him from the Orange Classroom to the Apple Classroom”.

Alternatively, you can schedule classroom changes manually ahead of time. 

When a change is scheduled, the Daily Connect app will deliver a notification a week before the change to give staff a heads-up about the coming move. On the day the change goes into effect, you don’t have to do anything: the child is automatically moved into their new classroom.

This feature also works with our new Attendance Forecasting feature, helping teachers accurately plan for attendance in every single classroom. 

To learn more about Scheduled Classroom Changes, visit this page:

Start Using These New Daily Connect Features Today

All these new features are available to Professional+ subscriptions only. You can upgrade to a Professional+ subscription in the Settings > Billing/Subscription Plan page. If you already have a Premium+ plan, there is no charge to upgrade. 

If you have any ideas for new features like these that would make a big difference to how you use Daily Connect in your childcare environment, we’d love to hear them! All of our most popular features come from requests from our users. 

To share your thoughts, email the team at support@dailyconnect.com

How to Collect Payments for My Childcare Business

Whether you run a childcare business that’s a small, in-home daycare or a multi-location franchise, you and your employees deserve to get paid on time. It all comes down to one thing: parent billing

Regardless of the size, location, or type of childcare center you operate, making sure parents pay on time involves the same strategies. Curious about how you can make billing easier for your entire business? Keep reading to learn how to optimize your payment processes.

5 Ways to Collect Childcare Center Payments

Whether you prefer online options or in-person payments, set up a payment process that aligns with your childcare billing schedule

There are five main ways that childcare providers collect payments today. You may want to welcome all types of payment or encourage digital payments for ease in your business.

1. Cash

Cash is an easy way for some parents to pay for childcare. However, it’s not the most ideal option for your business. With cash payments, you must visit the bank to deposit the bills, which takes extra time and organization. Ultimately, cash is a valid form of payment but encourage parents to choose electronic options for convenience. 

2. Checks

Paper checks are typical methods of payment within childcare centers. Checks can be mailed or dropped off by parents in person when they see your childcare director. As with cash, handling checks requires a lot more organization and responsibility. Once you receive payment, it’s your job to make sure it gets to the bank on time and then wait for the funds to clear.

3. Debit/Credit Cards

Credit and debit cards are the preferred form of payment for many busy parents. 80% of adults prefer using cards over cash for financial transactions today. It’s easy for parents to pay with a card on-site while they’re picking up or dropping off their child. Plus, it quickly transfers funds to your business. Parents can also use cards for one-time or automated payments online.  

4. Autopay

Autopay is a great option for parents who want to ensure instant childcare bills get paid at the beginning of every billing cycle. They simply set up their payment details once and the bill processes automatically upon the due date. 

5. ACH Transfer

ACH bank transfer is another instant option for payment. Parents don’t have to opt-in for autopay with this option, but it allows payments to be completed in full. There’s less of a wait time for childcare businesses to receive funds since payments are usually transferred within hours or days. 

Using Online Parent Billing and Payment Software

Whether you collect all five methods of childcare payment or you want to prioritize online automation, using a parent billing software makes the process more effective and organized. If you want to accept any type of payment, anytime, anywhere, turn to a platform like Daily Connect. You can receive payments in person, over the phone, or even through mobile devices.

How to Handle Late Payments 

Late payments are a common occurrence in the childcare industry. Parents are busy and every family has different financial circumstances, so a few late payments are expected.

However, if late payments are a constant struggle at your childcare center, there are a few things you can do to encourage parents to pay on time

Most importantly, remember: having a billing software that keeps track of invoices, due dates, how much a parent owes, and late fees relieves you of constantly having to chase late payments. In the meantime, here are some ways to promote fewer late bills.

Update Childcare Center Policies

Parents have to agree to your childcare center’s policies before they can receive childcare. Make sure your parent handbook and policies clearly explain tuition due dates, payment methods, late fees, and other charges. Agreeing to these standards of late fees and other consequences, parents are more likely to pay on time. 

Set Up Automated Billing Reminders

If your email list is integrated with a parent billing app or childcare software, schedule automatic billing reminders for all families in your class. You can also create automatic reminders as app notifications or text messages so parents don’t forget the bill is due soon.

Send Due Date and Late Payment Notices

You can also set up automated emails to deliver urgent notices regarding childcare tuition. Instantly send invoices via email and automate follow-up reminders for deadlines and late payments. For example:

  • Send email reminders for unpaid invoices on the payment due date
  • Send email notices for day-late payments
  • Send email warnings for payments and late fees that are 3 or more days overdue 

With most childcare billing software, you can customize these automated reminders to suit your billing cycles.

Confronting Parents Who Repeatedly Pay Late

At every childcare business, there are a few families who constantly miss or avoid payments. Part of running a successful childcare center is knowing how to confront these customers with kindness while remaining firm on your pricing model.

If you need to have a difficult conversation with parents, remember to stay polite even in this frustrating situation. You can direct them to local or state resources for childcare financial relief, but in the end, it’s up to the parents to cover childcare. Explain that you want the best for their child, but that it takes a lot of resources to operate a busy childcare business. 

Your business is not a charity, and unfortunately — as stated in your tuition agreement and customer policies — termination of childcare services will occur if costs remain unpaid. 

Easily Collect and Manage Childcare Payments

As a childcare provider, you have an overwhelming amount of daily tasks to complete. You deserve to focus on what matters most in your business: the children. 

Instead of spending valuable time and energy trying to get paid every month, upgrade your parent billing and payment systems to work for you. With comprehensive childcare software, you can automate invoices, send instant email reminders, and collect secure daycare payments every time.

Our leading childcare management app, Daily Connect, integrates parent billing features while streamlining every other aspect of your childcare business. Get a free trial today to try it out for yourself!