Childcare demands are becoming ever more complex in an increasingly digitised world, with competition now fiercer than ever. Childcare centre owners must continually improve and evolve their service in order to keep parents happy and coming back to them.
Here are five simple adjustments you can make that will immediately step up your centre and impress parents and little ones alike.
1. Make Reporting Simple
The question on every parent’s mind when they hand over their little one to childcare staff is obvious.
“Is my child going to be happy here?”
A huge part of keeping parents happy is by answering this question through reporting. Reporting should give parents a truthful and thorough account of what their child has been up to that day.
In order for your team to achieve this, reporting needs to be as simple as possible. Whether you work on paper or have upgraded to an electronic system, tracking things such as what each child ate should be as simple as ticking a box or pressing a button. It’s up to you to format your reporting to make it super simple for your staff.
Software like Kidsoft’s iCheck-In, for example, enables both your team and parents to electronically check children in and out of childcare centres across a variety of touchscreen devices, including phones and tablets. It also allows parents to send and receive messages, such as pick up and drop off notes, offering them peace of mind. Meanwhile, childcare centre employees get a real time overview of classroom ratios, attendance and updates.
However you do it, it’s up to you to ensure reporting is super simple for both parents and staff.
2. Ask Your Staff to Take Photos and Videos for Parents
In the era of Facebook and Instagram, parents expect a little more than a written report. Sending photos and videos with your daily report will seriously endear them to your services. Whether it’s a photo of their three-year-old receiving an award for good behaviour, or an adorable video of their baby splashing around during water play, nothing will show parents how much their little ones love your childcare centre and its staff more than visuals.
You should, of course, ask parents for permission to start snapping away, and ensure each parent only receives photos and videos of their own child.
3. Implement a Clear Career Development Ladder
As anyone in the childcare business knows, happy staff equal happy children. Looking after little ones can be really fun and rewarding, but it can also be super stressful a lot of the time. This is why it’s hugely important that centre owners go the extra mile to ensure that their staff love working at their business, and see their future there. Maintaining a low turnover of staff is also vital for ensuring parents feel comfortable leaving their kids at the centre.
One way to achieve employee satisfaction is by ensuring there is a clear career development ladder, complete with financial incentives for gaining advanced childcare qualifications. Make sure you have regular personal development meetings and plan with your staff how they can step up to the next rung of the career ladder.
4. Ramp Up Structure
Children in their formative years need structure in order to thrive — and it’s your job to give it to them. You may think the little ones’ days are already well-structured, but it’s worth reviewing your scheduling.
Parents don’t like to see children at a loose end, wandering bored around the room. Whether they’ve simply finished an art project before everyone else, or have finished their game with only five minutes left to lunch — it’s always worth having a simple backup activity to fill those extra minutes.
5. Separate Children by Age
While a one-year age gap seems like no difference at all amongst adults, the developmental gap is massive in children experiencing their formative years. To truly step up your childcare centre, work towards separating each age group out in different rooms, with different activities for each year. Not only will this boost their development, but it will provide the framework with which to track their progress from year to year.
In addition to these 5 tips, it’s also important to make sure you have a robust software solution in place to support your staff and make parents’ lives easier. Reach out to us today to find out more about how Kidsoft can help.