Business development

10 ways to strengthen parent partnerships with a daycare communication app

The right tech tools can make communication and collaboration easier than ever
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February 22, 2024
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In a rush? Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Partnerships between families and early childhood educators are vital to successful early development. But, we understand that maintaining consistent communication can be challenging when you already have a million other tasks to do each day. 
  • With a daycare communication app, you won’t believe how easy communication can be, how much the overall sense of community will improve, and also, how satisfied the parents will also be. 
  • Learn 10 specific ways how using a daycare app to communicate with parents and families will benefit your center by building stronger partnerships, a stronger community, and overall, providing a higher quality of care.

*Please note that the term parent refers to any family member, carer or primary caregiver of a child.

In early childhood education, parent-teacher communication and family engagement can sometimes feel like just buzzwords, or things that sound good on paper. But actually, both are imperative in early development - and something so critical shouldn’t feel like it’s hard to maintain or causes more stress in your day.

For lots of early educators, it’s just about getting a bit of help from the right tools. I'm here to tell you that strong parent partnerships and family involvement will be easier than you could have ever imagined with a daycare communication app. 

Before we continue, let's talk about why it's important for parents to be involved in their child's early education.

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Why value family involvement and parent partnerships?

  • You are both working towards the same goal - helping each child grow and develop. You should be partnering and working together to create consistency because it will help create a more seamless development across environments for the little ones.
  • Building trust between all the caregivers in young children’s lives is important for successful development. Consistent, clear lines of communication provides transparency, and builds trust, in the parent-teacher relationship.
  • It helps parents appreciate all your hard work and expertise. When parents know how you are spending time with their children, they can respect all the wonderful skilled work that you do as an early educator, and as someone who is significantly contributing to their little one’s successful development. 
  • It’s good for your business! Happy parents means more referrals and positive word-of-mouth, which means more prospects and applicants for your childcare center. 

Now then, the big question — what’s the best way to make communication with parents and carers more accessible, seamless and intuitive - so that you can build those partnerships that are so important?

If you look throughout the childcare sector, the answer’s clear: a childcare app that has communication features. 

Let me run through some of the main reasons why, and how, a childcare communication app (such as Famly) can boost family partnerships at your center.

How a preschool communication app strengthens family and parent partnerships

1. Cloud-based software with a mobile app, so you can communicate at any time

When upwards of 97 percent of adults in the US own a smartphone, using apps is the most direct, streamlined way to connect. With a preschool communication app, caregivers are notified instantly, no matter where they are.

And that connection goes both ways. Parents can reach you easily as well if they have any immediate questions or concerns. 

Having easy, accessible parent communications via smartphones means nobody has to adjust their habits just to keep in touch. 

But - we know that sometimes always being reachable is not a great thing, because we know you have other things you need to do with your day (like interacting with the children!) 

Simply, with a daycare communication app, you can always be in-the-know and reachable, but you can still respond when it makes most sense for you. No more waiting to respond until you are at your computer, or wondering if you need to leave your meeting and answer the phone call or let it go to voicemail. Both you and the parents can check the subject line to determine if it is urgent and requires immediate attention and a quick response, or can be responded to later. 

Put simply, it all boils down to accessibility.  A preschool communication app gives you valuable flexibility with your communications, and helps you accommodate every family — and this gesture can go a long way in building up trust, good relationships, and making sure parents keep their child enrolled at your center.

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2. Search and find important information in a flash

Can’t find that note from your last meeting with Sarah’s parents? Struggling to remember whether you let Jacob’s grandmother know about the trip next week?

Not a problem. When you’re using a daycare communication app, you can easily pull up old messages and conversations. You can stay on top of everything you’ve sent out, and what has been sent to you by scrolling through the conversation, or type a keyword in the search bar. 

Having a childcare app that lets you access past and current communication not only makes your life easier, but it strengthens the bond between you and the parents. No more forgetting or mixing up which parent told you what. This promotes accessible and open communication which helps build trust and form more fulfilling relationships with parents.  

You can also see when a parent has read a message, which can help avoid frustrations and miscommunications. You will know to expect Julie’s mom to ask you some questions about the event next week since you can see she hasn’t yet read your post about it in the app.  

3. It’s all in one place

This follows up on the last point — keeping all your communication with parents in one place makes everything a whole lot easier.

When you’re trying to communicate and coordinate across a variety of platforms - a WhatsApp group chat, email chains, a Facebook group and paper handouts - it’s easy for key details to slip through the cracks. 

A childcare app gathers all that into a simple one-stop shop, ensuring everything you need is already automatically organized and right there at your fingertips.

At her preschool in North Carolina, Director Shelley Beckman was juggling the various ways that teachers were communicating with their students’ families. One classroom preferred Facebook, one preferred email, and so-on. Now that she started using Famly, it is all in one place and so much easier to track. Hear more about Shelley’s experience with Famly here.

This also works both ways. You just need one portal to get in touch, and parents know there’s just one place they need to check for every message. Anything related to their children’s daycare is all in one app. No more checking Facebook for one announcement, but checking email for the newsletter, or remembering what was said in conversations at pick-up or drop-off.

Further, parents and staff members also like having it all in one place - all in one app - because it is familiar. It functions similarly to other social media platforms, so it can feel intuitive and comfortable. But also, for those who do not consider themselves tech-savvy, the right app is one that is still user-friendly and easy to pick up

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4. Save hours with group messaging and automatic reminders

If you’re new to childcare software and apps, you might be concerned that these new platforms are going to be a hassle to learn and take up extra time in your day. But that simply isn’t the case - or at least it doesn’t have to be.

Childcare management platforms like Famly make it easy to send out group messages by children’s classrooms or age groups, so you can reach the right family members in just a few clicks. You don’t have to make individual phone calls, or triple-check that you got every email included on the mailing list. 

Plus, with the possibility to send out automatic messages and reminders (for example, a payment is due), that’s another way that a daycare communication app can save you from having to make individual phone calls and emails – which again means you’re saving hours each week!

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5. Save face-to-face time with parents for what really matters

ECE staff may stress about the amount of genuine time they get with family members, and that’s understandable. With so many daily responsibilities, it can be hard to find time for one-on-one, unhurried conversations with parents. And let’s not even begin to mention how chaotic pick-up and drop-off can be!

By using a daycare app to communicate with parents, you have more bandwidth to use your in-person interactions for building up personal relationships and focusing on what is more meaningful. 

Instead of trying to hand off permission slips at the end of the day, you’ve got more space to talk about key moments and milestones in a child’s day, or ask how things are going back home. This is all possible because you were able to get all the necessary daily communications and practical updates out via the communication app.

You can also use the direct messaging features in the childcare app to easily communicate and plan an in-person parent-teacher meeting, if you feel you need more time to talk about their child’s classroom behavior and development.

With a preschool communication app, you are more able to prioritize interactions that foster partnerships.  ‍

6. Let parents be involved in their child's development, even from afar

For parents, one of the most valuable features of a childcare app is the ability for parents to get glimpses of their child’s time at childcare – and not just with written updates and explanations, but with photos and videos. 

With a child care app, family members don’t have to worry about missing out on cute moments or big development milestones. Whether it’s a messy applesauce snack time, or building a record-high block tower, these moments are special to the parents at your program. Who wouldn’t love to just pop in online to see what their little ones are up to during the day? 

Compared to a weekly newsletter with maybe a few pictures of the class, a daycare communication app really allows parents to feel more involved and present in their child’s day and connects them more to your childcare program. In the end, this can also boost your retention rate, and even score you more enrollment applications via positive referrals.‍

With an app and management software like Famly, staff will quickly realize how easy it is to post these updates, and realize it will just be another seamless part of their day-to-day. At Famly, we make sure all of our features support staff so that they can do what they are best at, and not take them away from the kiddos. 

7. Enhance child development by knowing more about their home life

So, we’ve said that one of the benefits of in-app communication is easier and more consistent two-way communication between families and ECE staff. But the reason that matters is, of course, for the children.

Better and more frequent communication with parents helps staff get a better idea of the children’s home life. This helps staff have a clearer understanding of their preferences, their individual needs, and the best way to make them comfortable so they can learn to the best of their abilities. 

For example, it would be helpful to know if Annie is really close to her grandparents who came to visit, and now she is sad that they left. Or, if Annie is expecting a new baby sister. Or, if they are moving to a new house, and so on. Now a teacher will have more context if Annie begins acting out in an unexpected way. 

Even more, since a childcare app helps parents better understand what’s happening at the daycare center, they can have a better idea of how to contribute to their children’s development at home. 

By allowing the children’s development to be an ongoing conversation, rather than just the occasional meetings, it will help extend the learning outside of the classroom. This will create a more seamless collaboration, instead of a child developing in two distinct learning environments - childcare and home.

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‍‍8. Clear communication, no matter what language is spoken at home

It’s one thing to feel like communication with families is efficient, consistent and open. But, we can’t forget about language barriers. No matter how great you are at upkeeping communication, it doesn’t mean anything if the families don’t fully understand.

Some preschool communication apps have live translation, which makes it so all messages can be translated to the staff and families’ preferred language. 

In fact, at Famly, we wholeheartedly believe in the importance of parent partnerships  and collaboration in early childhood development, and therefore we are so proud that our communication features can be translated into over 130 languages. We also can provide our entire platform in Spanish!

‍‍9. Help your staff feel more confident when communicating with families

In addition to my humble brag about Famly’s ability to offer live translations in over a hundred languages, this leads perfectly into another opportunity to brag about Famly as the best daycare communication app. 

WIth Famly’s newest feature, Sidekick Writing Assistant, every written message or post by you or your staff will be grammatically correct. Also, you can choose out of 4 different tones - for example, friendlier or more professional or conversational. 

This can help your staff feel more confident in their communication, and also it saves time! No more triple checking that the message makes sense, or that every word is spelled correctly. Just another way that Famly promotes more interpersonal time with the little ones, and less time looking at a screen. 

10. Promote parent feedback

Although it’s tough to address all comments and concerns, it’s important to provide parents with the opportunity to give feedback. It’s simple to let them feel heard, and it goes a long way in strengthening your relationship. 

And using a daycare communication app is a fantastic way to make that happen. Whether it’s with instant messages, automatic reminders, in-app news feeds, or daily updates and photos, taking it online makes giving and receiving feedback that much easier - and as we said above, you can always go back through the chat history, or address questions and concerns when you have the time to spend on an appropriate response. 

Ultimately, a preschool communication app creates stronger, long-term family and parent partnerships 

A great benefit to easier communication with parents is that it’s that much easier for them to become a part of - and feel like an important member of - your center’s community.

Traditional forms of communication, like general newsletters, are a good start. But when more and more parents have grown up with smartphones their whole lives, they’re also expecting the more regular, personalized and instant messaging that you can only provide through a preschool communication app.

In combination with face-to-face time, you can end up building the strongest parent partnerships possible and promoting high family involvement. Their support and participation can make it easier to plan parent events, have enough chaperones for class trips, and they can play a big role in spreading the word about your center via word-of-mouth in their neighborhoods. 

Yep, all of these benefits with a daycare app for communication with parents!

The big ideas

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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.

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