You’ve probably heard something about childcare center management software, or daycare center software. Maybe you’ve seen them advertised. Maybe you’ve even tried a few out. But there’s a reason you are not fully convinced that you should hop on that bandwagon.
How do you know when it’s time to finally make the move? When will you feel ready to leave behind stacks of papers, post-it notes and multiple Excel sheets - or simply, chaos?
Childcare center software is quickly becoming a key part of the early childhood sector because it truly is more efficient and effective for all responsibilities and aspects of your childcare business.
I want to share some of the ways a childcare center management software can benefit you, your staff, your families, your children, and your overall business. I could be wrong, but I think you’ll be pretty convinced by the end.
Raise your hand if you pursued a job in childcare to do paperwork? How about manually managing ratios? Chasing down payments?
I’m going to take a wild guess that none of you raised your hands.
It seems that directors and early childhood education (ECE) staff are spending more time on paperwork, and less time doing what they are best at and what their real passion is - spending time with the children and providing quality care. This is not what you signed up for, and also this is not how it should be.
You are an expert in child development and that is how the majority of your day should be spent.
Some directors are nervous that childcare software will add more stress, and be more time consuming. But, when done right - and if it is the right management software for you - there’s no way that should be the case.
With digital attendance, automatic reporting, a less complex system for billing, easy online staff scheduling, customization and permission settings - all in one place - your admin workload - and stress - should definitely be going down.
Implementing a childcare management center should mean no more juggling spreadsheets, and no more long hours trying to manually manage ratios and all other ECE requirements that need to be met.
What childcare software features should I look for?
It’s easy to feel like you’re just randomly guessing what to do to increase your occupancy and maximize your revenue. Try some flyers here. Maybe cut a bit of spending over there.
Knowing your occupancy and availability is crucial for making informed business decisions. But managing this through spreadsheets and loose paper can be such a hassle - and honestly, it’s pretty easy to make some mistakes here and there when everything is in different places.
At best, trying to manage and track your occupancy without a childcare software program is time-consuming, and at worst, you could be making mistakes that lead you to make the wrong decisions when it matters.
With a daycare software, all the data is digital and in one place. Therefore, an intelligent system will do all the reporting, managing and tracking for you.
No more double data entry, no more pulling together multiple spreadsheets. Instead, you can produce reports instantly, and see occupancy, availability, and ratios in just a couple clicks.
Childcare management software makes it easier to decide when and where to save money and increase marketing to maximize occupancy.
What childcare software features should I look for?
How you communicate and collaborate with parents and families is essential to every child’s individual development, and your center’s success.
When families and ECE staff collaborate, children's environments blend better, which is better for their development process. What happens in one environment will influence behavior in the other environment. Communication will help all adults to better support the child and adjust learning and activities appropriately.
Also, quality relationships with families build a stronger community. Parents and carers will be more eager to participate, attend events, and share the positive impact you are having on their child(ren)’s early childhood development.
A childcare software brings all of your communication with parents into one place. With direct messaging, automatic reminders and notifications, it is easy for you to make sure any important information is shared.
And, not only does it organize child information, but it also makes sharing every child’s development and learning progress so much easier. You can share daily activity logs (diaper changes, naps, meals) and also share pictures or observations from specific moments throughout the day. This will instantly make parents feel more a part of their child’s learning journey.
Extra bonus too! - It will make pick-up and drop-off a little less chaotic, since most of the families' questions will be answered about how their child’s day went!
Also, a little brag about Famly. Famly is especially helpful with improving your communication with families and parents, because all messages and posts can be translated into 133 different languages. So, no matter what the family’s preferred language is, Famly removes all language barriers. Also, our entire platform is available in both English and Spanish.
What childcare software features should I look for?
What folder was that spreadsheet in? Where did we put those papers? Which sticky note did I write it on? And what was that password again?
In ECE, there are a lot of policies and requirements that you need to meet, which means there is a lot of tracking and managing you have to do. So, you are likely balancing a bunch of paperwork or different online tools, trying to manage and have a clear overview of all the necessary information.
Childcare management software will help you to keep everything in one place. Attendance, staff schedules, ratios, finances, communication, and so much more. One password, one place, no paper, no fuss. You’ll know exactly where you need to go to get any sort of information because there’s only one place it could be.
Full-time, part-time, substitutes, vacations, sick, the list goes on. Managing so many different types of schedules is no easy task. But, it is absolutely necessary to make sure every classroom is always in ratio.
Yet again, childcare software is all about streamlining the way you work to save you time - simply, do what you are already doing more effectively and more efficiently.
With software, you will easily see a clear overview of attendance for both children and staff, and ratios by classroom which will be automated and updated throughout the day.
No more frantically trying to remember which staff comes on which days or trying to remember if you already scheduled a sub to cover a staff’s holiday. Plan staff schedules as far in advance as you want.
Also, other features will make you feel more connected to your staff. With specific customizations and permissions, you can share files, share calendars, direct message or send group messages. No more needing to track down each staff member in the hallway or during their breaks to repeat the same reminder over and over - do it right from your desk.
No one wants to, or plans to work once they’re home and the work day is over. But the truth is, things come up and sometimes you need to log in. When this happens, there’s nothing worse than leaving that one folder on your desk, or needing that spreadsheet that you only have access to on your work computer.
Also, during the work day, there are a million things to do, and you are pulled into many different conversations. A teacher may ask you who is picking up Tommy today, and at that moment, you may not remember - which is okay. Instead of having to go back to your desk to check, you can pull it up on your tablet or mobile device in that instant. Then, you don’t have to add another thing to your to-do list - that question is solved and answered there and then.
Your whole day is a lot easier if you can get the information you need whenever you need to. That might be on your phone, a tablet or a computer, and it might be while you’re out and about, at the preschool, or at home.
Some software allows you to customize permissions and control who has access, so you can be sure that people can’t access things when you don’t want them to. As directors, managers and owners, you can access any information at any time, which is convenient and time-saving.
You probably noticed a common theme of saving time in all the above points. But, a childcare software will save you so much time, it is worth highlighting it even more.
Time matters, and you don’t have a lot of free time when working in childcare. You have to juggle spending time with the children, training and overseeing your staff, completing administrative tasks, responding to families, submitting everything necessary to meet state requirements…the list goes on.
As you’ve read, software digitizes, automates, and streamlines so many of your day-to-day tasks. It also provides you with data, overviews and insights so you can clearly comprehend all the data.
Instead of spending all your time on must-dos, you can actually spend some time and energy on things that excite you and remind you of why you got into ECE in the first place. You know, those ideas you have to improve and grow your business, rather than just helping to keep your head above water.
I want to expand on that last bullet point, and brag a bit about why I think Famly is the best childcare management software for your center…
Usually the most intimidating, and the most time-consuming, part of switching from pen and paper, or from one software, to another childcare software is learning how to use it.
Your staff may not be super “tech-savy” or may be intimidated by technology, or already accustomed to certain softwares and not motivated to learn another one. We get it. But, at Famly, we are really proud of how user-friendly, and how easy it is to learn. Plus, we also guarantee as much 1-on-1 support, and staff training, as you need.
Please note: here at Famly we love sharing creative activities for you to try with the children at your setting, but you know them best. Take the time to consider adaptions you might need to make so these activities are accessible and developmentally appropriate for the children you work with. Just as you ordinarily would, conduct risk assessments for your children and your setting before undertaking new activities, and ensure you and your staff are following your own health and safety guidelines.