We live in a high-tech world where businesses use digital technology to operate more efficiently, reduce costs and deliver amazing customer experiences.
Why shouldn’t your child care center do the same?
Child care technologies are purpose-built to meet the needs of the child care industry, helping centers save time and reduce costs while delivering excellent care and service to families.
Investing in the right technologies can make your child care center more secure, easier to manage, more attractive to parents and even more environmentally sustainable.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at how child care centers are using technology to improve their daily operations and win more customers. We’ll explain why technology is important in child care and highlight the five child care technologies your center needs in 2021.
What is Child Care Technology?
Child care technologies are digital solutions built specifically for child care centers to help them solve problems, accomplish business and learning goals, and carry out their daily operations.
Digital solutions for child care may include hardware (computing devices), software (programs/applications) or a mix of the two.
Some child care technologies are used exclusively by child care providers and administrative staff, while others may be used by parents, and some even by kids.
Why is Technology Important in Child Care?
Technology plays an important role in child care, not only for child care operators and staff, but also for children and their parents.
For child care providers, adopting child care technology can mean spending less time on paperwork or administrative tasks and more time face-to-face with kids.
For parents, technology in child care centers can address concerns like child safety and help parents stay connected and involved in their child’s daily growth.
Kids also benefit from the use of educational technologies in the child care environment.
Now let’s look at the most valuable technologies that child care centers can adopt to start realizing these benefits.
Child Care Technology Your Center Needs
Security Technology for Your Child Care Center
When parents drop their kids off at your center, they want peace of mind that their child is learning and playing in a secure environment. For some parents, a lock on the front door is a good enough signal that their kids are safe. Others would rather choose a center that goes the extra mile to safeguard their facility against unwanted visitors.
With the right tech, you can turn your child care center security measures into a competitive advantage that makes your business more attractive to parents. Technologies that we recommend for securing your child care center include:
- Fingerprint Check-In Technology – Child care centers can use fingerprint identification to ensure that kids are only picked up from the center by an authorized person.
- Keyless Entry Systems – Keyless entry systems allow employees of the child care center to access the building using a numerical code entered into a digital terminal – no more lost keys, broken key fobs, or magnetic swipe cards. Centers can assign unique access codes to each individual and automatically generate records of who accessed the building.
- Digital Door Controller – Door controllers can be integrated with digital check-in systems to automatically unlock a door when an authorized visitor uses their building access code or fingerprint ID. Automating building security in this way allows doors to remain locked at all times and ensures that only authorized persons enter the building.
- Contactless Check-in/Out – Contactless check-in/out helps you ensure children in your care are safely and securely checked in to your center or school without the need for close, in-person contact. The technology uses an app that leverages QR code and/or GPS technology that allows parents to check their children in and out from their smartphones.
Investing in advanced security features is a great way to position your child care center as the premium choice and show parents that you’re serious about child safety.
Child Care Billing Technology
To keep up with the billing process, a child care center needs to keep track of each child’s attendance, meals and other billables, reconcile those items into a weekly or monthly invoice, send those invoices to parents and any subsidizing agencies, and keep track of payments. This process can be cumbersome and incredibly time-consuming.
Thankfully, centers can adopt child care billing software to streamline and automate the billing cycle. Child care billing software uses digital attendance records to determine invoice amounts, automatically sends parents a digital copy of their bill, and allows parents to pay by their method of choice – ACH, credit card or online debit.
Multiple payment options and an automated process make child care billing more convenient for parents and help centers save time, improve their cash flow, increase safety and deliver better customer service.
Parent Engagement Technology for Child Care
When it comes to maximizing the success of your child care center, parent engagement and customer retention go hand-in-hand. When child care providers can successfully engage parents and build a strong relationship through proactive communication, parents develop a sense of trust with your center that makes them unlikely to take their business elsewhere.
Parent engagement technology includes software solutions that streamline communications between parents, child care providers and child care administrators. With today’s parent engagement technology, child care providers can keep moms and dads involved in their child’s daily growth by sending text, photos and video of new activities and developmental milestones. Parent engagement technology typically uses an app, which ensures you can connect with parents wherever they are.
Education Technologies for Child Care Centers
Child care centers can enhance the learning process and support healthy child development by providing access to computers or tablets with age-appropriate educational apps and programs.
Visit the Google Play Store or the App Store on iPhone, and you’ll find loads of educational apps that provide encouragement and targeted feedback as kids practice reading and counting, or learn basic math and literacy concepts.
Some educational apps use the device camera and motion detection, requiring kids to move their bodies to accomplish goals in the game. Not only are these games fun and engaging for kids, they also promote physical literacy.
Kids may also want to experiment with creative apps that allow them to make their own videos, create digital art or even write a short story. There’s no limit to what kids can create when we empower them with the tools to discover their talents and unleash their imagination.
Remember that it’s important to keep in mind the screen time recommendations for the different age groups you serve. For example, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry advises for children ages two to five years old, limit non-educational screen time to about one hour per weekday and 3 hours on the weekend days. Click here to read the entire list of guidelines.
Digital Child Care Management Technology
Does your child care center still rely on paper documents for child and family information, staffing and payroll administration, and other daily tasks?
If so, you might want to consider going digital with a paperless child care management software solution. Child care management software is the #1 technology for making your center more efficient, cutting down on administrative costs, and making sure that your most important child care data is accessible when you need it.
Key features of child care management software in 2021 include:
- Digital daily activity sheets for tracking meals, naps, mood, and more.
- Digital attendance tracking with contactless check-in
- Tuition collection and payment
- Staff management (scheduling, payroll, etc.)
- Staff-to-child ratio management
- Parent engagement (email, SMS messaging, in-app communication, mass messaging)
Digital forms are easy and convenient to fill out, far more searchable and less likely to get lost than paper forms.
Child Care Marketing Technology
Does your center use digital marketing channels to advertise its services?
Many child care centers can benefit from using marketing technology to increase their visibility in the community and attract more customers. Here’s the best way to get started:
- Create a website with basic information about your child care center. Use fun pictures to make it engaging. Be sure to prominently display your location and phone number so parents know how to contact you.
- Register your child care center on Google My Business – now you’ll start appearing on local search results when your neighbors are looking for child care services.
- Create a Facebook page for your child care center. Invite your customers to like your page and ask them to leave a positive review if they love your services.
- Do a Google Search for online directories of child care businesses in your area. Send them an email with information about your center and ask to be added to the directory.
- Use your mobile phone and free video editing software to create a fun video advertising your child care center. Use your video to promote your center on social media and on your website.
And if you’re looking for more marketing-related tips for child care centers, check out our webinar with Lauren Small, owner of Early Education Consultants, LLC, on Feb. 17 at 1 p.m. EST. Topics include:
- The most important and high-impact ways to market your child care program.
- Ways you can leverage social media and search engine optimization to drive increased interest.
- How to create a digital storefront that attracts even the most discerning parents.
- Tips on using data to make more informed decisions about your marketing and promotional tactics.
Meet Your Child Care Technology Needs with Procare Solutions
With over 30 years in the business of child care, Procare Solutions has helped thousands of child care operations use technology to improve their access to information, comply with licensing regulations, and make life happier for themselves and their customers.
Procare’s industry-leading child care technology keeps you connected and in control of your child care operation, with digital solutions for:
- Child care center security
- Child care billing and payment management
- Child care management and administration
- Parent engagement
- After school program management
Are you ready to start leveraging child care technology in your center?
Request a Demo and we’ll show you how Procare can help.