Parent-Teacher Relationships

3 Ways to Ensure Parents and Guardians Are Reading Health Notices and Policy Changes

Now more than ever parents need to stay up-to-date with your daycare center. Getting them the information is easy. Getting them to actually read it, though, tends to be much more difficult. Busy parents might grab the latest flyer from your entrance but forget about it by the time they get home. Staff can remind them, but with all the demands on their attention they can’t track which parent is reading the info and who still hasn’t.

So how do you make sure important information is getting to parents? The key is to increase parent engagement and know the best ways to reach them. Here are three strategies you can put into action right away to help ensure parents are reading important information sent by your daycare center.

How to Reach Parents So They Actually Read Your Notices

Ditch the Paper and Put Technology to Work

Paper is inconvenient. It’s also expensive. Printing notices costs your center paper and toner, and over time that can take a big bite out of your operating budget. It’s also not great for the eco-footprint of your childcare center. After all the effort of printing them, it’s very likely that more of your paper notices are getting lost than getting read. So eliminate the problem by replacing your paper newsletters with digital ones.

Digital newsletters, notices, and announcements are a much better way to communicate with parents and guardians. When you move to a digital platform, you make it easy to access, to share, and to update the newsletter at any time. You’ll also see a much higher engagement rate when it comes to parents actually getting the information.

The Best Part of Going Digital

  • Digital information is easy to update on a minute-by-minute basis if necessary. When illnesses break out, the local government calls for quarantine restrictions, or a natural disaster is happening, you need to keep parents informed. A digital format is a perfect way to do this so everyone has the latest information instantly. 

Meet Parents Where They Are At (Hint: It’s Their Smartphones)

Parents are busy. Really busy. So you need to give them information in the place they are most likely to see it. That’s on their smartphones. 81% of American adults now own a smartphone, a rise of nearly 50% in a decade. They’re spending more time on them, too, with the average adult spending about three and a half hours a day on their phones. If you are going to get information in front of a parent’s eyes, their smartphone is the place to do it. 

Thankfully, that’s easier than ever. You can post your health notices and policy changes on social media, send it in an email, or even do a text blast. Consider using push notifications through an app to the parent’s phone, too. Push notifications can give parents the necessary information or direct them where to go for more info right on the lock screen of their phone. So they don’t even have to open their phone to get vital information.

Branded apps for your daycare center can do a lot more, too, but simplifying parent communication is one of the big ones. 

The Best Part of Using Smartphones

  • Parents are looking at them anyway, so there is a much higher chance they’ll actually read your message. Encourage parents to follow you on your social media accounts and look at branded apps as a way to increase parent engagement. It’s often cheaper, easier, and more effective than other means of communication.  

Make It Easy to Access Anywhere

Parents are on the go, so they need to be able to access your communication anywhere. That’s easily done thanks to the internet. But you also need to make sure parents can easily find and read older notices they may have missed. Keeping a centralized library of notices online can be really helpful for both you and your parent community. This increases the chances that parents will read the information because they’ll know where to find it and can reference back to it if needed. When it’s convenient and easy, it’s more likely parents will have a look.

The Best Part of Using a Central Place for Information

  • A central place for information means there is no confusion about where to find it and no one misses out. For instance, if you are relying on social media, you might forget to make a post for your Instagram followers. They miss out on vital information while your Facebook fans are in the know. But if you require each parent to have your daycare’s app on their phone, the info is always there and accessible to everyone.

Other Top Tips to Get Your Daycare’s Notices Read

  • Get straight to the necessary information. Parents don’t have the time (or energy) to read lengthy notices. Give them the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the information in the first paragraph. That way they get the meat of the information right at the beginning, then you can go into detail for those who want to know more.
  • Don’t spam parents with info. While it’s good to maintain consistent communication, you don’t want to overwhelm them. They are busy enough (and interrupted enough) as it is. If they feel like your updates aren’t important, they will start to dismiss them without reading them. That results in giving you the opposite effect of your final goal of increasing engagement.
  • Follow up. While using tech to communicate with your parents is great, nothing beats an in-person follow-up. Chat with them at pick up and drop off times to make sure they’ve seen the important news. If they haven’t, you can gently direct them to the appropriate channels to get all the latest news.

Fostering parent engagement is key in many areas, including getting them to read the information you need them to have. A personalized daycare center app is a great way to reach parents and encourage them to stay up-to-date on policies and health notices. These apps can also make transfers more secure, your billing easier to manage, and records quicker to update. Learn more by scheduling a free consultation call with the Prime Child Care Software team today.

3 Reasons to Utilize a Dedicated Daycare Mobile App

Running a successful facility requires consistent and open lines of communication with parents. Let’s face it: parental involvement is a crucial component of a wholesome and holistic child care ecosystem. But, what happens when they ignore your attempts at communication? Will a dedicated daycare mobile app solve the problem?

According to research, the average American receives 126 important emails a day. Yet, they only send out around 34 emails during the span of 24 hours. That means they’re probably ignoring over 90 emails sitting in their inboxes. In traditional settings, child care facilities rely on strategies like newsletters, emails, and websites to reach parents. But, do they actually work?

The truth is: not really. Parents already get too many emails, text messages, and newsletters daily. And, despite using personalized subject lines and engaging CTAs (calls-to-action), you find it harder than ever to reach parents. In addition, consumers get over 6 billion “junk” emails each day. Even in professional settings, the majority of office workers completely ignore work emails. Plus, about 50% of them believe that receiving fewer emails would increase their overall satisfaction in life.

That said, what if there was a way to create a direct channel to parents that built your brand, increased accessibility to your programs, promoted better satisfaction with your services, and helped generate higher revenues?

Here are three reasons your child care facility needs a mobile app and why they may be a better investment than previously thought.

1. Mobile Apps Let You Communicate With Parents on Their Terms

The average American spends around 5.4 hours a day on a mobile device. Do you know what users do during that entire time? They’re generally using apps. That’s right: around 90% of mobile time is spent on applications — not checking emails, replying to texts, or making phone calls. In child care, communicating with parents and fostering parental engagement can be a challenge. When you aren’t leveraging communication channels that parents are familiar with, breeding a culture of open communication can be next to impossible.

Millennials probably make up the majority of your clientele. Around 50% of your children likely have Millennial parents (and the numbers are growing yearly). In addition, around 70% of those mothers and fathers work outside the home. To reach them, you must meet them on their own terms.

To put it simply, Millennials don’t check their emails regularly. In fact, browsing the Internet and checking social media networks are the top two activities on smartphones. In other words, people prefer to check Facebook and Instagram messages than emails. The latter falls to sixth place in terms of how Millennials use their cellphones.

Yet, although Millennials tend to ignore emails, phone calls, and texts, they don’t necessarily deserve the “anxious generation” label. In fact, Millennials probably communicate more than any other age group — they just communicate differently.

In all, 1 billion Facebook messages are sent per day, and 500 million tweets are created. Also, the average person has over 80 apps installed on their phone. If you want to reach parents in today’s ever-evolving market landscape, you need to rethink your strategy. A dedicated daycare mobile app may be the answer.

2. Mobile Apps Can Be Part of Your Daycare’s Branding Strategy

There’s a reason 89% of marketers say that brand awareness is their primary goal. Your brand is the single most valuable thing your business has to offer. Unfortunately, only 60% of businesses think their brand is well aligned for future success. As a child care provider, creating a thoughtful, holistic, and relevant brand is the single best way to capture the attention of new parents.

There are over 850,000 daycare operations in the United States alone. If you want to square up against your toughest competitors, you need to connect with parents on a deeper level than fragmented digital ads on Facebook. Fortunately, creating your own mobile app can help you drive your brand deeper into the consciousness of all those exhausted parents in your area.

Apps also help you build instantaneous and direct relationships with parents through hyper-accessible interfaces. They provide two-faceted benefits. First, mobile apps help you provide amazing services to parents that, in turn, breed trust and loyalty. Second, they also help you occupy an important place in their minds. You’ll have a prominent place on their phones, which allows them to connect with your brand in ways that websites, ads, and marketing campaigns can never accomplish.

3. Mobile App Data Can Be Used to Gain Key Insights and Increase Student Retention Rates

The benefits of mobile apps aren’t merely front-facing in nature. Sure, an app offers massive value to parents. But, it can also transform your back-office, marketing, and sales pipeline. For starters, apps give you the ability to measure reactions to announcements, acquire critical user data, and analyze parent information. This can help you create smarter operational frameworks.

People spend more time on mobile apps than websites. They interact and engage with apps with more purpose and interest. This makes mobile apps exceptionally valuable for data acquisition. For example, what activities do parents like? Which ones do they dislike? What types of meal plans do they look for — gluten-free, protein-rich, veggie-friendly, or something else? Which parents are viewing daily reports? And, which ones aren’t?

All of this data helps you understand parents better, which you can use to create actionable strategies to increase satisfaction with your services.

But, Wait! Isn’t a Dedicated Daycare Mobile App Expensive?

If utilizing a dedicated daycare mobile app sounds like a pipe dream, we understand. Many providers think that only large childcare facilities can afford such an app — not smaller facilities in local communities. However, much has changed within the last five years. Today, developing a mobile app doesn’t have to lead to a budget shortfall. In fact, it may be quite affordable.

Typically, smaller childcare facilities rely on mobile apps that are integrated with their childcare software. This provides a more holistic, connected experience that allows you to share data between the core technologies that drive your facility.

Often, these apps are built on common frameworks. So, you can quickly get a personalized, hyper-branded application built without significant investments or headaches. In addition, a branded daycare mobile app can increase brand recognition and decrease student churn.

Is Your Facility Ready for a Daycare Mobile App That Can Transform Your Business?

Research tells us that most people use apps on-the-go. In fact, many rely on apps to make travel, shopping, and dining decisions. According to a travel survey, 45% of consumers get frustrated when they can’t access travel apps on their mobile devices 24/7. Meanwhile, more than 50% of travelers like to add incidentals to their flight bookings on-the-go.

Essentially, people want data at their fingertips at the time of their choosing. If you’re looking for a daycare mobile app to transform parental engagement and take your branding to the next level, read about the successes Buccleuch Montessori and The Boys and Girls Club of Delaware have achieved. Then, when you’re ready to take the next step, contact us. Let’s talk about how we can help your daycare center realize an incredible future with the right mobile app technology.

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A father talks to his child's daycare teacher. Increasing parental engagement in early childhood education.

3 Ways to Increase Parent Engagement in Early Childhood Education

The benefits of parental engagement in early childhood education are many. In fact, strong collaborative partnerships between parents and childcare providers can transform the learning environment.

Of course, parental engagement confers obvious benefits from an administrative standpoint. Parents pay tuition, after all. And, in the United States, they spend an eye-watering $42 billion dollars annually on early childcare. In all, the typical American family shells out about $6,000 a year for childcare costs. Yet, the real benefit of parental engagement is social in nature.

Studies consistently show that parental engagement fosters positive learning environments, raises test scores, and decreases negative behaviors. Parental engagement in early childhood education has far-reaching effects on children. According to research, children who enjoy high levels of parental involvement are less likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors later in life, less inclined to abuse substances, and more likely to excel in academics throughout adolescence.

However, creating an environment that promotes parental engagement isn’t easy. In a previous post, we discussed how child care providers can navigate relationships with demanding parents, but the simple truth is: most parents want to be involved in their children’s education. According to Pew Research, over half of parents believe that they can “never be too involved” in their children’s education.

In the past, child care centers have looked for ways to improve parental engagement by trying to create best-in-class activity programs. Those “bring-your-parents-to-daycare” days and “family field trips” are certainly powerful tools to increase parental involvement. But, today, we’re going to focus on the big picture.

Essentially, how can you facilitate parental engagement holistically? We won’t focus on classroom activities and special projects. Instead, our strategies drill deep into the core of the education framework.

1. Leverage Mobile Apps to Engage Parents on Their Terms

Almost everyone in America owns a cellphone or smartphone. Pew Research puts the figure at about 96%. In all, the average person spends about 3 hours a day on these mobile devices. Smartphones are the de facto form of communication for many. So, when it comes to involving parents in childhood initiatives, leveraging a highly-functional mobile app is the key to success.

But, first things first. One of the biggest barriers to parental engagement in early childhood education is work. According to Pew Research, working parents are generally less satisfied with their level of involvement in the classroom. Mobile apps keep parents informed about their children’s progress without having to be physically present.

But, what about emails and newsletters? Many childcare providers find that parents often ignore those. According to a study, millennials and, by extension, millennial parents actually prefer text to any other form of communication. More significantly, open rates for SMS texts (98%) dominate those of emails (20%).

If parents can access information regarding current programs, field trips, and projects, they gain the power to engage on their own terms. After work, they can connect with their children from a position of awareness — and understand what’s happening in class.

  • Tip: There are backend benefits of mobile apps for parental engagement. It’s easier for parents to pay tuition, enroll in extra activities, and review critical future activities that may require a parental buy-in.

2. Create a Two-Way Channel of Engagement

In traditional settings, child care providers almost always facilitate conversations with parents. They send out emails, notifications, or texts regarding potential issues or upcoming events. And, parents respond to those messages with comments. However, this leaves a communications gap. You always initiate, while parents passively wait for word from you.

Instead of relegating parents to the background, give them more options to initiate conversations with you. By setting up mobile messaging boards, two-way text chains, and email channels, you can receive more parental feedback. The exact methodology you use to set up two-way channels of engagement is largely preference-related. You can create a Facebook group, offer video calls, or even share a dedicated mobile phone number with parents. Essentially, the actual channel matters less than how you communicate the value of that channel.

Parents should know that feedback is welcomed. In a sense, you want to create an atmosphere of trust and inclusivity. A feedback-centered culture empowers parents to stay abreast of their children’s education.

  • Tip: Encourage parents to drop feedback on these channels. 33% of adults admit that they will consider leaving a brand after just ONE negative experience. Worse yet, you probably won’t know what those negative experiences are until it’s too late. 91% of people part ways without voicing their concerns. While two-way channels of communication make excellent parental engagement tools, they can also help you reduce churn and keep children enrolled in your program.

3. Focus on Daily Engagement

Ad-hoc classroom activities don’t directly increase parental engagement. Also, some studies show that parental involvement in the classroom alone has little to no impact on learning. That said, consistent communication is the key to facilitating greater parental engagement. So, you need an engagement framework that encourages consistent and holistic communication.

Again, this can be unlocked by mobile phone apps or superb multi-channel communications. However, it’s also achieved by re-framing the way you approach parental engagement. Instead of encouraging parents to participate in fractured, ad-hoc settings, give them the tools to consistently engage with their child’s learning.

Sending parents daily progress reports through mobile app push notifications is a great start. You want to keep them informed about their child’s daily progress. Beyond basic homework and class projects, giving them the ability to view photos and read daily announcements helps them stay fully engaged.

All things considered, you can’t directly control how involved parents are in their children’s lives. But, you can give them the tools to make it easier for them to do so.

Create a Holistic Parental Engagement Framework With Prime Child Care

We know that galvanizing parental engagement can be a challenge. You signed up to deal with children — not parents. But, the truth is this: creating a best-of-breed parental engagement program can help you improve your learning ecosystem, reduce student churn, and keep the lights on.

At Prime Child Care Software, we believe that parental engagement is a core component of a healthy child care ecosystem. That’s why we have parental engagement features built directly into our all-in-one child center management solution. With a handy mobile app and plenty of unique engagement features to keep parents in-the-loop, we can help you facilitate a stronger and more robust learning environment.

Also, having a mobile app with the same name as your center increases brand prominence and customer loyalty. If you’d like to learn how Prime Child Care can help with a customized mobile app that specifically targets parental engagement, contact us today.

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Children on a field trip; field trip preparation guide.

The Step-by-Step Field Trip Preparation Guide

Going on a field trip can be a rewarding adventure that breaks up the monotony of a daily routine.

Plus, children love field trips: it gets them out of their chairs and into the wonderful world beyond. You can take them somewhere educational like a museum or fun like a chocolate factory. Wherever you go, having a plan in place can make the trip more enjoyable. If you’d like your outing to be a success, our step-by-step field trip preparation guide and cloud software solution can help.

Keep Track of All Permission Slips

As an administrator, you know that much work goes into planning a field trip. To begin, your staff needs to communicate with the parents and relay important information like the date of the trip and the estimated time of arrival/departure. You’ll also need to provide information about the venue and whether parents must pay for admission fees.

Finally, you’ll need to obtain permission from your children’s parents/guardians before you embark on a trip. Traditionally, this involves communicating with students that they’ll need to get permission slips signed. On the day of the trip, you’ll need to keep track of permission slips to confirm that parents are on board with their children leaving the center for another location.  

The Prime Child Care platform has a Parent Access Portal and mobile app. You can use the portal to upload documents the parents can access and sign. This helps streamline your communications with the pertinent parties. Essentially, you can use the portal to alert parents about upcoming trips, get their signatures, and verify their approvals within the platform itself. 

Verify Emergency Contact Information Before You Leave

While the majority of field trips occur without incident, you’ll still want to prepare for unforeseen emergencies. For example, a child sustains a mild injury from a fall and you need to contact his parents or guardians. If they’re not available for some reason, you may need to reach out to an emergency contact. There are three things you can do prior to a field trip to ensure that you have the phone numbers you need: Verify that every child has an emergency contact listed Confirm that you have the parent’s updated contact information Confirm with the parents that the emergency contact information is valid You can use the Parent Access portal and mobile app to do all of the above. Our software system can also store the children’s enrollment information. The data will be easily accessible, so you can pull it up at a moment’s notice during the trip.

Make Sure All Fees are Paid in Advance

Are you going to a museum or aquarium? If so, you’ll need to account for admission fees. You can either pay the fees yourself or ask parents/ guardians to pay prior to the trip. That said, making such requests can be a challenge if you don’t have a tool to facilitate timely communication across the board. However, there’s a solution to make this process as seamless as possible.  The Prime Child Care platform’s electronic payment processing capability provides parents multiple secure payment options for any expenses that may arise as a result of the trip. They can make traditional credit card payments as well as mobile wallet and NFC payments (via Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay) on the platform.

Load up the Bus

Another step in your planning framework will involve getting the children on the bus. This is where you’ll want to take a headcount of your group. Prime Child Care’s software platform has childcare check-in and attendance capabilities so you can get a live headcount display. This lets you monitor your group throughout your trip. One of the most pressing concerns when leaving your facility is ensuring the safety of every child. Our platform takes the stress out of accounting for everyone. You’ll be able to manage and track your center’s rosters so you have an updated list of students, teachers, and chaperones going on the trip.  To further ensure the safety of your group, you could also ask everyone to put on T-shirts with your daycare’s name emblazoned across the front. Ideally, you would remind parents about dressing their children in the appropriate T-shirts prior to the trip.

Stay Aware of Dietary Requirements

When you leave your facility for the day, your children may end up eating lunch at a restaurant. And, even if your students bring packed lunches, you’ll still need to maintain awareness of everyone’s dietary requirements. Essentially, you’ll need to have food allergy information ready at a moment’s notice. After all, you don’t want to pack or order an item a child may be allergic to. 

By using Prime Child Care’s platform, you can safely store all vital dietary information — including allergies as well as medication information. That way, you’ll be able to review everyone’s data to ensure that adequate care is taken when packing lunches or ordering meals.

Return Home and Provide Updates on All the Fun

Once the trip is at an end, you can use the platform’s roster and check-in/attendance feature to take a headcount. Then, you can head back to your facility with the confidence that all the children are accounted for. Another great feature of the Prime Child Care platform is the ability to upload photos or reports of any achievements so the children’s parents can see them. Did your group see the massive dinosaur bones on display at the museum? Take pictures, and upload them to the platform. And, if your group went to a family restaurant for lunch, take pictures of everyone enjoying their meals. Parents will appreciate seeing all the fun their children had during the trip. 

A Field Trip Preparation Guide Is Only as Good as the Planning Tool You Use

Planning a field trip for your childcare center can seem like a daunting task. And, no matter how good a field trip preparation guide is, you still need the right tools to manage the process efficiently and effectively. Prime Child Care’s cloud-based, easy-to-use software offers you the capabilities you need to be successful. It will help you stay organized and allow you to focus your energy on ensuring the kids have a truly enriching and memorable experience.  If you’d like to hear more about how Prime Child Care can help you run your childcare center more effectively, contact us today!
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Transition your daycare to cloud software.

Why It’s Time to Transition Your Daycare to Cloud Software

Managing and operating a childcare center certainly comes with its share of challenges.

Like many administrators, much of your focus is spent on simplifying the process. One of the solutions you can deploy for this purpose is cloud software. According to Gartner, more than 50% of global enterprises relying on cloud computing will deploy all-in cloud strategies by 2021. As we navigate the digital age, there’s never been a better time to transition your daycare to cloud software.

Ease of Use

One of the most vital considerations of new software is its functionality. Cloud-native applications are easy to deploy and navigate at a variety of locations. Your staff members can use it at the office, home, or even at a coffee shop. As long as they have an internet connection, they’ll be able to access your center’s most important files. Plus, there’s no limit to the management tasks they’ll be able to perform with cloud software.

All in all, cloud software is intuitive to use and easy to deploy. Cloud software also provides greater savings in Opex and Capex costs. You won’t have to pay for and maintain an expensive hardware infrastructure. In addition, updates are automatic, so the headaches of decommissioning obsolete software will be a thing of the past.

Better Control of Daily Operations

From an organizational standpoint, cloud software lets your center perform many operational functions more efficiently. Here’s a quick overview of just a few of the duties your team can perform, thanks to a comprehensive cloud software system: 

  • Upload and download important center documents
  • Update class rosters
  • Review billing/accounting information 
  • Manage human resources and staffing needs, track employee time cards, handle leave requests, and manage scheduling for substitute staff
  • Mark children present or absent for attendance purposes
  • Oversee the enrollment/admissions process
  • Process payments from parents electronically

And, the above isn’t an exhaustive list. There are countless other ways cloud software can help your childcare center flourish. For example, you can set alerts or push notifications to your employees. In that light, cloud software facilitates on-going communication between you and your staff. You can also grant authorized access to sensitive files and prevent unauthorized users from accessing, changing, and deleting data.

The best part about all of this improved functionality? You can customize cloud software to suit your team’s specific needs. It’s not a “one-size-fits-all” approach.  

Improved Staff Communication and Collaboration

At daycare centers, teams need to share documents and collaborate on projects to ensure the integrity of the operational framework. To that end, cloud software facilitates rather than stifles creativity and collaborative efforts.

Let’s take a scenario: A child shows symptoms of a cold during the day. Time is of the essence, and your staff needs to know whether she has any allergies (which will determine the OTC medications that can be administered to her). One of your staff members pulls up her medical file, but to confirm particulars, she must speak with you. Unfortunately, you’re attending a conference in another state. With cloud software, both of you can access the file immediately while being in two separate locations. 

And, here’s another scenario: What if your team is working on a project to add improvements to the center? This could entail new plans for sharing daily menus with parents or perhaps, brainstorming new activity ideas for the children. One person can start a draft document, send the link to other staff for input, and everyone can add comments to share insights. 

Each of your team members brings a unique set of ideas and skillsets to your childcare center. When your team communicates, ideas can be brought forward to strengthen your center’s operational efficiency. In that light, cloud software facilitates collaborative effort, which results in increased productivity. Your entire team can weigh in on specific initiatives and review them before you implement them as part of your center’s standard operating procedure.

Instant Access to Your Most Critical Data

Wherever you store your files, you’ll likely need quick access to them at some point. Whether it’s a child’s medical records, a teacher’s contact information, or a parent’s digital payment history, cloud software lets you manage all of your data securely. It can also let you access any piece of data at a moment’s notice.

Specifically, cloud software gives you the ability to set up your own personalized filing structure. So, you won’t need to waste precious moments digging through a massive catalog of files. Instead, you can go directly to the sources you need. Whatever information you need fast access to — allergy information, immunization records, registration forms, or permission slips — you can access all of these data with just a few mouse clicks. 

Greater Appeal to Parents

While the above features are great for your team, they speak more to the internal management of your childcare center. However, cloud software offers much more: it can help you improve communications with parents

Engagement with parents is crucial to the success of your business. With cloud software, you can establish a parent access portal and mobile app. This allows parents to have access to daily reports about their child’s progress as well as information about any potential incidents that may have occurred. This type of portal also allows you to update parents about their child’s achievements. Did Johnny recite the alphabet correctly on Tuesday and eat his vegetables all week? Let his parents know by sending real-time updates through the portal.

And, did Maria take nice afternoon naps during the week and draw beautiful pictures of her family pets? Take pictures and share them through the mobile app. We guarantee her parents will be touched that you cared enough to share important details about their child’s day.

Last, but not least, parents can also use the cloud-based portal to make payments from anywhere and at the time of their choosing.

In all, cloud software doesn’t just help you manage your center better. It also takes your customer service standards to the next level. You’re meeting parents where they spend much of their time already — on the digital plane.

Transition Your Daycare to Cloud Software and Reap the Benefits

When you transition your daycare to cloud software, you will reap three major benefits:

  1. It will make your life easier by streamlining the way in which you manage the majority of your team’s operations. 
  2. It will improve the user experience for your parents.
  3. Both of these will combine to improve the experience for the children you care for.  

Interested in finding out more about a daycare cloud software solution that can deliver on all three fronts? Contact Prime Child Care Software today!

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Building A Constructive Parent Feedback Program For Your Childcare Center

Survey Says: Constructive ways to Collect, Evaluate, and Implement Change Based on Parent Feedback.

Do you consider the parents of your preschool, day care center, or after school program to be enemies or allies? Have you ever even thought about it? Maybe you have some of each. The ultimate goal is to make them all allies.

Going to war with a challenging parent is a battle you will never win. Yet, how do you win over the tough ones? Proactively ask them for feedback. That’s it.

Provide all parents, (especially the challenging ones) an opportunity for feedback on a regular basis. At the end of the day, we all want to be heard. If you regularly take time to listen and then make and execute an action plan, you can have a winning ally in each of your parents.

Why Is Parent Feedback So Important?

If you are a parent, your children are your pride and joy. Most of what you do is to provide for your children and raise them the best you can. Their health is a priority. Their education is a priority. Their happiness is a priority. Their safety is a priority. The list goes on and on. So when working parents enroll their children in child care, they are trusting this facility and those who work in it to take care of the most precious thing they have. 

That’s a lot of responsibility for a child care center, and even the best centers always have room for improvement.
Partnering with parents and seeing them as an ally is vital to any center’s success. Allies work with you, not against you. They have your back during times of need or struggle. Thus, this partnership requires regular back and forth communication. The easiest way to encourage that is through surveys, newsletters, and informal conferences when time permits. Understanding areas that your center’s parents value and ensuring that you meet their standards today will save you a lot of unnecessary battles down the road.

Step 1: Collecting Parent Feedback

Parents are busy bees, so it is important to make the process as quick and easy as possible. Different clientele will have different preferences in terms of how they wish to be contacted and provide feedback. During enrollment, you can include a contact preference section so as to know what works best for them. It could be via email, phone, or in cases specifically related to feedback, it could be via a comment box or web form to which you provide the link. Regardless, travel the path of least resistance when trying to collect feedback. There are a bevy of free services available online including: These services allow you to send directly from their sites or provide a link for you to embed in an email sent from your email service. You will receive notifications when participants complete the survey, and in some cases, you can run reports and compile the data received. (NOTE: Some services only offer the reporting component in the paid subscription version of their site.) If you want to text or call parents to request feedback, you can use such services as: The most ideal option would be to survey your parents directly through the tool that you use to manage your student records. If you are managing your business with a comprehensive child care management system, you’ve got half the battle already won. You should be able to create custom forms within the software to create your survey, which you can then blast to all of your parents or add to your parent portal. Once parents submit their feedback, you can store that data in their child’s record so that you can associate this information and feedback with that family in the future. Pretty slick!

Keep Your Parent Feedback Surveys Short & Simple

Try to limit the number of questions on your survey. 3-5 should be more than enough questions for you to get a feel for the way things are going, and will keep the survey short enough that it won’t take up too much of a parent’s valuable time. When you survey on a regular basis, you can choose specific topics to ask your parents about. Did you recently add a new curriculum or service? Do you want suggestions on how to improve drop-offs, meals, email communications, classroom accommodations, etc.? Do you want to know how your parents feel about how a you’re communicating daily activities or other classroom interactions? Always add one optional question at the end of a survey to ask if there is anything else they’ve noticed and would like to share. This gives them the opportunity to recognize good work or raise any concerns they might have outside the topics you’ve already asked about!

Step 2: Compile & Analyze Parent Feedback Responses

Once you have sent the surveys to your parents, allow anywhere from 1-2 weeks for them to respond with feedback. Feel free to send a reminder or two, but don’t spam them with reminders! This may lead to parents unsubscribing from your mailing system or turning off surveys altogether. When the survey has closed, compile the data. This may just mean running a report using the service you used or perhaps even doing it manually if you used a comment box. Either way, this is time well spent. Group feedback together into categories and look for common pieces of feedback from your parents. Rank them in order of easiest to address and most difficult to address. Prioritize feedback in a way that ranks those items that are the easiest to implement and will positively impact the majority of your parents and children at the top of the list and those that are most difficult or would negatively impact some of your students are the bottom. Analyzing the data entails reading all of the feedback. Some of it may warm your heart while some of it may frustrate you. Constructive feedback isn’t always easy to hear or read, but every time you take this feedback and act on it to improve your center, you will gain more trust and respect in your community, ultimately driving more business and money into the center.

Step 3: Plan & Communicate Changes To Staff & Parents Alike

You may want to share the feedback with your parents and certainly with your staff. In doing so, you are able to highlight some of the strengths as well as identify some areas for improvement. you can also create and share an action plan from which to take steps towards improvements in the areas parents showed dissatisfaction. This reinforces the idea that you asked, they shared, and you listened. At the end of the day, the challenging parents will feel validated, and you will have taken a baby step towards the ally relationship versus the enemy relationship with these types of parents.

Execution is key here. Only put the improvements you can actually implement into the action plan. Even if it’s just a partial step in the right direction. You don’t want to over-promise. Provide updates and progress towards the action plan in your monthly newsletter. Don’t be afraid to re-survey once you have successfully achieved an area of improvement to see if parents are happier. At the end of the day, your goal is to run a safe, clean, educationally proactive center. When you know better, you do better. So, don’t be afraid to reach out and find out what the talk on the street is about your center. You might be pleasantly surprised, but either way, you can only make it better once you understand the problem.

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Whether you are a veteran teacher, principal or other administrator at a preschool, day care center, or after school care program, at some point in time, you will encounter difficult-to-please parents. It has the potential to be one of the most stressful parts of working in childcare. Parents often believe that because they are paying for a service their standards are the only standards that matter, and they expect you to meet those standards.

Sometimes those expectations are reasonable, but many times they are not. Issues that pertain to a child’s behavior, health, or performance can be a minefield of potential perceived offenses and adventures in denial. After a number of these run-ins and difficult conversations, it’s natural for childcare workers to face future conversations with dread (or in some cases just avoid them entirely.)

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. We’ve pulled together years of experience and advice from teachers and administrators like you that will help you put your best foot forward and work with even your most difficult-to-please parents consistently and professionally.

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