Now, more than ever parents are faced with difficult decisions regarding their childcare options. The pandemic has further complicated these difficult decisions by creating barriers between childcare facilities and parents or caretakers due to precautions in place that limit interactions between adults. The result is that “Many new parents need to select a child care provider without ever stepping foot into the center.” According to the Parent Satisfaction Report by HiMama, the realities of pandemic parenthood can include:
· Choosing a childcare provider without a physical tour.
· Less face-to-face interaction during drop-off and pick-up.
· Interacting with a ‘runner’ or administrator rather than the educator.
· Less support from family and friends due to social distancing.”
How can childcare programs meet the needs of families with the current marketplace limitations and precautions in place?
Meet Your Target Market
The Childcare Parent Satisfaction Report identified that “Broadly speaking, Millennials are categorized as anyone born between 1981 and 1996. This means that in the year 2022, millennials will be between 25 – 41 years old, making them the prime demographic of those with children ages 0 – 5… in fact, a study from Alcon found that the average Canadian millennial spends over 11 hours per day looking at a screen, and according to WhistleOut, over three hours of this time is spent on a phone…”
Let’s further consider these realities of Millennial parenthood:
· 73% of Millennials work more than 40 hours a week, and nearly 1/4 more work than 50 hours.
· 72% of American Millennial women are in the labor force in 2018 compared to 66% of Boomer women in 1985 and 40% of Silent Generation women in 1966.
· 59% of Millennials believe they are experiencing burnout – up from 53% before the pandemic.
3 Areas Where HiMama Can Help
· Improve communications
· Implement automation-based systems
· Create a culture of organization
Envision a program that supports the continued success of educators, the critical functions of the administration, and provides appropriate and meaningful resources and experiences to families and their children!
1. Improve Communications
When parents feel well-informed, they often feel better connected to their child and the childcare center. By providing teachers with tools to support more frequent communications, abilities to share pictures and videos with families, and a convenient place to record attendance, health tracking, and daily reports; teachers can recognize children’s progress and challenges. These efforts increase opportunities for sharing experiences from the classroom with the parent community consistently; whether by email, by text, or through the HiMama app. Also, by offering virtual training opportunities for parents and educators, you continue to cultivate more opportunities for connections; which furthers your reach as a community.
2. Implement Automation-Based Systems
If systems dictate function, then the more efficient systems that we have in place, there should be a shift in efforts, as more ease should exist within our daily tasks. Think about your registration process, the steps required, and how this process can be improved to encourage ease for the user (families and administration) and save time by using automation-based components. Through offering access to a tuition management program that offers online enrollment options, accepts online payments, and offers options to submit paperwork online; the process of enrollment can become less cumbersome. Imagine being able to set of calendars with reminders and simply your billing processes to accept payments digitally, rather than requiring in-person payments or paper checks.
3. Create a Culture of Organization
There are countless components to managing a childcare program. What if some of the aspects of the administration of the school could be improved to reduce time spent bookkeeping and replace it with a digital record of payments? This time-saving effort is beneficial for the administrators and parents, as finding this information and being able to share a record becomes more tangible and less time-consuming.
Managing staff needs and supporting teachers in providing a quality educational experience is incredibly important. Providing teachers with comprehensive training and support is critical, especially new teachers, and in our quickly changing environment. As teachers and administrators work through the school year doing their Program Planning, offering opportunities for teacher collaboration is also beneficial; even more so, if the teachers have an organized way to manage the curriculum content so that it can be utilized in future years to support your program.
Parents have a strong desire for more information and capturing children’s progress through comprehensive portfolios and developmental assessments help families to understand their child’s progress and address any areas of concern. These records also may serve as conversations for progress reports or parent/teacher conferences. Upon completion of the program, having a comprehensive portfolio is one way to showcase a child’s progress over their time in your program.
Quality of Learning Matters
In the Childcare Parent Satisfaction Report, when parents were asked: “What is the most important factor when choosing a childcare provider?” The most important factor was identified as ‘Quality of programs offered,’ with 46% of respondents! An additional 14% shared that ‘approach to communication and parent engagement.’ In this report, it was also determined that 69% of parents would prefer to receive more frequent updates about their child’s development progress, and perhaps, the underlying reason is that 85% of parents believe that communication from their center helps them understand how to support their child’s developmental progress at home; which results in the belief, ”There is no such thing as over-communication when it comes to their child” because parents are making a direct correlation with the information they are receiving and their ability to support their children at home. Furthermore, with 98% of parents considering communication and parent engagement to be important or very important when selecting a child care center, these programs need to be able to meet parents “where they are” and be able to fulfill this heightened need for communication. More than 40% of parents surveyed would prefer to receive proactive communication once per day, while only approximately 15-35% of programs are in contact with their parents more than once per week.
Imagine being able to run a childcare program that offers a quality program and supports more frequent parent communications with ease! This is where HiMama can help! HiMama is able to provide childcare programs with support in numerous areas, including, but not limited to:
- Attendance and Health Tracking
- Real-Time Parent Updates
- Staff Management
- Billing and Payments
- Developmental Assessments and Portfolios
- Daily Reports for Parents
- Messaging via Email, App, and Text
- Program Planning
- Calendar with Reminders
- Comprehensive Training and Support
HiMama supports the success of the educators, the administration, and the enrolled families and their children by providing easy-to-use systems and resources! Want even more insights into what matters most to parents? See what our survey of 500 parents found in our Childcare Parent Satisfaction Report!