We know you didn't get into the child care field because of the paperwork.
Even so, it seems like the record-keeping, safety check-lists, and, yes--data analysis--never ends. What gives?
If this sounds like your experience, it might be time to implement child care management software into the day-to-day operations of your business. Why overwork and overstretch yourself when you can depend on a tool to take care of the grunt work?
You may not have realized how many functions the right child care management software could serve for you. Keep reading to learn the essential features of child care management software, and what it can do for your child care center.
Essential Features Of Child Care Management Software
The right software should provide a child care center or daycare the ability to improve in these four categories:
- Office Administration
- Staff Management
When managed correctly, the right tools can mean great things for your business. The child care management software market grew 6.2% percent in 2020 and is expected to keep growing. Let's take a look at the essential features.
Office administration needs are likely the first of many reasons to have child care management software in place. Without the proper tools for logistical organization, inefficiencies may develop that keep your business from growing. There are a number of administrative benefits to this kind of software.
1. Roster Management
While individualized metrics can (and should) be broken down for each child, it's great to have a birds-eye view of your class/group sizes, and how to best serve those groups. You may have certain care providers that are qualified for particular age groups or activities that are limited to class size. Keep tabs on the big picture, and know when to open your enrollment to more families.
Roster management tools can also be used by families to update child information. Details such as age, names, emergency contacts, and authorized guardians/sitters are important to have on file and can make or break a family's experience. Keep this information organized!
2. Parent Engagement
Marketing is a core piece of your business. As you highlight your services, keep current and potential parents engaged with targeted campaigns and messaging. Trust us; parents want to be involved from the beginning.
3. Tuition Management
While you're in it for the kids, you need to have a handle on the cash flow coming in. Without it, your center could face cuts or closures, and you will be unable to pay your amazing staff. When considering reasons to have child care management software, think about the challenging scenarios you can improve with the right tool:
- Automatic payment renewal
- Accept digital payment methods
- Send invoices and payment reminders
Child care management software can help make those challenging billing conversations a little bit easier (and a lot more organized).
4. Enrollment Forecasting
You want your company to grow. Forecasting tentative enrollment numbers can help you make some of the bigger decisions about staffing, supplies, scheduling, activities, and open locations.
5. Multi-Location Management
Keep your administrative tools consistent as you expand your business to additional locations. Child care management software can especially be helpful when you have staff that works across multiple locations.
Attendance is one of the most important metrics of your child care business. Tracking this is one of the essential features of great management software, as it will give you a clear picture of how your business is doing, and if it changes seasonally.
Additionally, attendance monitoring is just one of the many ways a child care center can work to keep resources stocked and to keep kids safe.
1. Digital Check-In and Drop-Off Forms
Parents always seem to be in a hurry. Using digital check-ins and digital drop-off forms can streamline the drop-off and pickup process and will help you remember to communicate important or time-sensitive information.
2. Security measures
As a child care provider, safety is the most important part of your job. Make sure all of the children are accounted for, and that they are being signed out by an authorized adult.
3. Attendance Reporting
Stop flipping through binders to figure out when a child was last present, or to track attendance during transportation. A few clicks through the software, and you have a full picture of a child's attendance.
Center analytics is quite possibly the least interesting part of your job. As a business owner, you need to have a clear picture of what's going on with your space, your staff, and, of course, the kids.
1. Daily Reports
Make your daily reports digital. When it comes to visualizing information, printing and filing your reporting isn't useful. See trends quickly and clearly when tracking day-to-day info on the web.
2. Staff and Room Reports
Your standard operating procedure (SOP) should require regular staff and room reporting. This reporting is beneficial for a few reasons:
- Thorough incident reporting for liability
- Staff training resources
- Tracking developmental milestones
- Licensing compliance
Once these reports are completed, staff and management should be able to upload or access them within the same platform.
3. Child Reports
Parents understand that they can't be next to their kids all day, every day. Even so, providing regular, individualized reports to them is a great way to keep families engaged while also protecting you in the event of an incident.
Managing adult staff is hard work. Spend more time managing the kids and communities that you serve. Child care management software can help achieve this balance.
1. Profile Management
Keep emergency contacts, employment agreements, and other staff documents in one centralized location. No more file folders!
2. Timecards and Payroll
Don't expect your staff to keep track of multiple systems for timecard and payroll tracking. Keeping paystubs, disbursement information, and hourly timecard tracking in the same place will ensure hours get approved and paid out on time.
Webinars and certification courses are great ways to keep employees engaged, and to ramp up the value of your learning space. Complete, track, and store continuing education and first aid courses within your child care management software.
Once you have your software up and running, give yourself some time to invest in additional resources. Though the essential features of child care management software will cover your administrative bases, we recommend annual audits on operating procedures and licensing violations to keep up to date.
Are you familiar with the most common licensing violations? Our experts have put together a checklist so you can remain compliant. Download the free checklist now.
Are you looking for more child care management information? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Child Care Management.
Our child care management system makes running your child care program simple and efficient. Get back to what's most important. You shouldn't have to spend more time on the administrative tasks than you do with children and staff.
Get the latest and greatest child care news and information today! Sign up for our newsletter...
Or schedule a demo with us to learn more about how our child care management system, Alliance Core, can streamline your administrative processes.
Do you run an early childhood association made up of child care providers? If so, check out our Ultimate Guide to Shared Service Alliance.
Header image courtesy of Jumpstory.