Let’s face it — no one could have predicted the childcare industry trends that would emerge in 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the whole world was forced to change the way it operated.
In 2021, Covid-19 is unlikely to disappear entirely, but now that we’re used to the new normal, we can take a better stab at forecasting what the next twelve months will look like.
It should be an exciting year for the childcare industry. Yes, the effects and legacy of the pandemic will continue to change how we operate, but we’re also likely to see a lot more tech around centres as demand for our services increases.
Supercharged Health and Safety
The first half of 2021 is likely to see the tail end of the pandemic, as people are gradually vaccinated and life goes back to something resembling normal.
However, in childcare settings, the legacy of the pandemic will likely be a continued focus on health, safety, and hygiene. Parents who have become used to continuously washing their hands and staying at a safe distance from others are unlikely to suddenly abandon this protocol after vaccination.
This is why the big winners in the childcare industry will be those centres who continue to put a focus on health and safety — and go to additional lengths to keep their centres clean. If you’ve installed hand sanitiser stations, ramped up hand washing protocol, or invested in extra cleaning services during the pandemic, don’t abandon these efforts.
Not only should you continue to ensure your childcare centre is as clean as it can be — you should make it clear to parents that this continues to be a priority.
Increased Tech to Provide Parents With Peace of Mind
After a year of living through incredibly uncertain times, parents are going to want and need peace of mind when it comes to their little ones more than ever before. With this in mind, childcare centres should increase their reliance on technology platforms that allow them to quickly and easily communicate with parents — without adding a huge administrative burden onto their staff.
What will this tech look like? Think tools like iCheck-In that allow parents and staff to check children in and out of the centre, and have helpful communication tools that enable them to leave messages and pick up or drop off notes. This tech reduces work for staff, while also giving parents peace of mind.
Higher Demand for Childcare
Higher demand for childcare is also predicted in 2021.
Why? First off, this follows the general trend of more and more households having two working parents and two incomes. As many families have struggled to survive financially during the pandemic, this trend is only set to increase as the world gets back to normal.
Furthermore, as the pandemic is predicted to continue through much of 2021, parents are increasingly reluctant to leave their children with their own parents. Older people are at a higher risk of mortality should they catch Covid-19, and with children going to school — and typically not being great at social distancing — exposing grandparents to the little ones is a less attractive option.
Over the past few years, childcare centres have transitioned from places to simply drop off the little ones when you’re busy, to early education centres. This trend is set to snowball as competition ramps up and parents demand more than ever from childcare providers. Care centres that formalise their early education curriculum and encourage their staff to gain qualifications in this area will be the big winners.
Tech to Boost Productivity
Productivity-boosting tech has long been used in the business world, but since the advent of AI, these types of tools are able to help more and more businesses. With childcare providers now able to significantly boost their productivity without increasing their manpower, more and more childcare centres will be investing in this tech.
For instance, iEnrol hugely increases a centre’s sales, marketing, and administrative capabilities, while also making communication with parents much quicker and easier.
In general, having the right tools in place to streamline your processes will be more important than ever next year. Reach out to us to learn how Kidsoft can help!