There has never been a better time to digitize your child care center.
With thousands of child care facilities opening their doors to facilitate parents getting back to work, concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed these centers to explore safer and efficient ways of managing daily operations.
As a result, the movement toward child care digitization is gaining steam – especially at centers whose goals include:
- Achieving compliance with CDC guidelines for child care centers opening during coronavirus
- Maximizing infection safety and winning the confidence of parents
- Reducing costs and increasing profitability
- Increasing child care enrollment to pre-coronavirus levels.
Child care facilities can digitize by using child care management software to reduce their administrative costs, support compliance with CDC guidelines for infection prevention, and successfully engage and market to parents with concerns about COVID-19.
In this blog post, we’ll explain exactly how digitizing your child care center can give you the competitive advantage you need to survive and thrive through the COVID-19 child care crisis.
What is Child Care Digitization?
Child care digitization is the adoption of digital technology to support daily processes and strategic business objectives at your child care center.
Child care digitization often begins when a child care center moves from pen-and-paper to software-based transactions and recordkeeping.
Child care centers must create and maintain many different types of records to satisfy compliance requirements and support early childhood development. These include records of family information, records of child information, attendance records, absence records, observations, daily reports, activity reports, incident reports, staffing records and many more.
In the past, centers that relied on paper-based record keeping techniques spent hours each week managing their documents and filing page after page of records. Now, centers can save hours of time each week by managing their records with child care management software.
Child care digitization also includes child care billing software, with features like paperless invoicing, billing and receipts, as well as payment automation for parents. Most child care centers collect tuition payments from parents on a weekly or monthly basis – child care billing software helps centers stay organized and keep parents on track with payments.
Strategic objectives like enhancing parent engagement or reducing the spread of COVID-19 can also be supported by child care digitization.
What are the Benefits of Digitizing Your Child Care Center?
Child care administrators and providers need timely access to information to support effective decision-making.
A paper-based system for creating, storing and accessing records presents a modern worst-case scenario when it comes to information accessibility. Crucial information about children and their families, information that’s needed daily, is either locked away in a filing cabinet or buried under a mound of paperwork. Paper-based records are sometimes illegible, easily lost, and vulnerable to theft, fire and other hazards.
When child care centers choose a child care management software with digital recordkeeping, all of their most important electronic forms and records become instantly accessible for child care administrators and providers. Child safety is enhanced as providers can rapidly access immunization records, medical notes, allergies and lists of approved guardians for each student at the touch of a button.
Save Time and Reduce Costs
Child care digitization streamlines back-office processes, helping child care centers reduce the cost and time allocated to administrative activities. Child care management solutions can be used to streamline processes that include:
- Billing – Automate attendance-based invoices and billing, accept digital tuition payments from parents, and automatically send receipts with a complete audit trail.
- Accounting – Monitor family account balances and generate customer statements, year-end tax statements, income reports and accounts receivable reports.
- Staff Management – Manage staff-child ratios with virtual time cards, post employee/classroom schedules and track benefit hours.
- Payroll – Calculate paychecks, overtime and withholdings, manage benefits, vacation and sick time, and pay staff members via direct deposit.
Enhanced Lead Management
Centers can adopt digital child care solutions with lead management capabilities that support child care marketing.
With parents feeling anxious about returning their child to a care facility during a global pandemic, now is the best time to leverage technologies that enhance the connection with parents and allow child care centers to deliver a stronger marketing message that encourages enrollment.
Procare offers a customer relationship management (CRM) tool that centers can use to manage their pipeline of leads (families interested in child care services), communicate with leads via SMS or email, send digital enrollment forms, manage marketing to-do lists, and even automate routine actions like follow-up emails using pre-made or customized templates.
How Does Child Care Digitization Help With COVID-19?
Child care digitization can play a crucial role in shaping your center’s response to COVID-19. Child care management software offers a range of features that centers can leverage to streamline their compliance with the CDC guidance while making processes more efficient and reducing management overhead.
Here’s how child care digitization can your help center tackle the threat of COVID-19 this year:
Attendance tracking is one of the most important features of child care management software that administrators can use during coronavirus.
Use attendance tracking capabilities to monitor staff attendance, maintain child/staff ratios and ensure that classrooms are assigned appropriately based on physical distancing requirements. Attendance tracking can also be leveraged to measure enrollment numbers over time and assess the impact of your efforts to increase enrollment.
Procare offers attendance tracking with built-in Health Check Tracking. Child care providers can perform a basic screening for symptoms of coronavirus when each arrives to the center and record the results of a visual inspection or temperature scan as part of each child’s attendance record.
Contactless Sign In/Out
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, child care centers must find ways to keep children safe and provide the same level of service to parents while limiting physical contact and proximity. Child care digitization is a significant benefit here, and contactless sign in/out is a critical feature that enhances child safety during daily drop-off/pick-up times at your center.
Procare offers two contactless sign-in/out that centers can leverage to reduce coronavirus risks:
QR Codes – Parents can visit the sign-in kiosk, scan a QR card on your center’s check-in device, then complete the check-in process on their own mobile phone.
Curbside Contactless Sign In/Out – Our Curbside Contactless feature uses GPS and geofencing technology to enable mobile check-ins for parents within a 50- or 100-yard radius of your center. Parents can complete the check-in process from their mobile phone without exiting their vehicle, limiting visitors to your center during the high-traffic pick-up and drop-off periods.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, schools are being directed by the CDC to establish emergency action plans in case a person with COVID-19 is confirmed to have entered the building. As part of this action plan, they must develop an emergency communications plan that enables rapid communication with the school community in case an infection is detected. For child care centers, promptly notifying parents and staff of a suspected infection demonstrates a trust-building commitment to transparency.
Child care digitization opens digital communication lines between the child care center and the child care community, ensuring that alerts and critical communications can be distributed as quickly as possible in the event of an emergency. Centers can use child care management software to send mass communications via text or email, ensuring that parents are made aware of any emergency situation in time to protect their families.
Paperless Child Care Billing
Paperless child care billing is convenient, better for the environment, and better for cash flow at your child care center – and it’s contactless, helping prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Paperless billing means that your child care center can produce attendance-based invoices and send tuition bills to parents through digital channels. Parents can use their favorite digital payment method (debit or credit) to pay online or via mobile and even automate the payment process.
With Tuition Express, the industry-leading child care payment processor, you’ll also benefit from next-day funding and some of the lowest payment processing fees available.
The best part is that you’ll be able to eliminate paper-based transactions with parents – that means no paper money, paper receipts, or germs will be changing hands.
Digitizing your child care center with parent engagement software could be the best way to win over parents with anxieties about returning their kids to child care centers.
With parent engagement software, centers can communicate one-to-one with parents and guardians, send mass communications, or create a newsletter with updates on policies and infection prevention protocols. Child care providers can record observations and activities, then share them with parents throughout the day, along with photos and videos.
The added benefit of these features during coronavirus is that parents feel more strongly connected to your center. Each image you share acts as a visual reassurance that you’re protecting kids and their families with the right safety measures while continuing to deliver high-quality education and developmental opportunities.
Digitize Your Child Care Center with Procare Solutions
Procare is proven in the business of child care, with more than 30,000 child care centers leveraging our solutions to enhance process efficiency, reduce costs, engage parents and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Our powerful software puts child care administrators in full control of their organizations, with centralized oversight of billing and payments, center enrollment, staff and child attendance, and additional information that’s critical for making informed business decisions every day.
With Procare, you’ll be able to streamline routine administrative activities and focus your attention where it’s needed the most: infection prevention, enrollment growth and family retention.
Are you ready to digitally transform your child care business with Procare and succeed in 2020?