The coronavirus pandemic has severely impacted all strata of society. A common topic of discussion has been the mental, financial, and social impact on new and growing families. This article aims to address radical new challenges and opportunities in the childcare management sector and how to adapt to the new normal with the help of preschool or daycare management software.
Introduction: Covid-19 Impact on the World
The economic and social disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has been unprecedented. Many lives have been lost, and many more livelihoods have been permanently indented. We have had to quickly make many adjustments to sustain ourselves until this is all over.
The childcare management industry saw a rapid decline in enrolment and attendance and the level of trust it had laboriously built over the years. In this article, we aim to address all the paramount challenges that the industry faces today – changing Covid-19 regulations, parental concerns, the economies of small and large childcare centers and the changing landscape of the industry with the advent of technology like preschool management software.
Covid-19 Impact on Preschool and Daycare Management
As per a report, before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were about 675,000 childcare centers in the US. Of these, more than two-thirds were managed by small business owners with less than 75 children enrolled. More than 67% have closed down now, and most struggle to balance costs or manage health risks. 2 out of 3 parents are yet to find a solution for their changing needs. More than 50% of parents with small children aren’t returning to their worksite because they haven’t found a reliable preschool and daycare solution.
An industry that once used to work like clockwork (almost in the literal sense) has now been brought to the brink of collapse, with both daycare centers and parents struggling to meet their needs. However, there’s hope in understanding that where there is a mutual need for redressal, the path towards finding solutions also can be weaved with the help of education technology.
7 Transformations in Childcare Management Due to Covid-19 Lockdown
The Increased Screen Time
The debate on the acceptable amount of screen time, especially for young children, has been a crucial point for parents’ discussion. However, with covid-19 impacting outdoor activities, the tolerance towards higher screen time has increased. Although this transformation may see a mild reversal once the pandemic is fully controlled, wider acceptance will likely remain. It’s important to note that parents are spending more time on screen due to remote work even for themselves.
Remote Learning and On-site Activities Will Go Hand-in-hand
Many parents have explored remote learning opportunities. While toddlers will require on-site care, slightly older children can benefit from remote learning. Most childcare centers are planning to retain remote learning programs even after the pandemic ends.
Video Tours and CCTV Access
Parental concerns and general anxiety is common and rightfully so. However, the pandemic has only elevated this challenge. As a result, many parents will want to keep an eye on their children through CCTV cameras when the preschools and schools reopen. In the same light, childcare centers can boost the confidence of parents to arrange for video tours with the help of childcare software rather than in-person visits during onboarding. This will allow you to show that your facility is tech-ready and much more convenient for the parents themselves. Even post the pandemic, parents may prefer to take video tours as it’s more flexible and less time-consuming.
Occupancy rates have dropped significantly during the pandemic due to the lockdown. However, the year 2021 is likely to see many parents returning to work at least partially. For daycare centers to improve occupancy, it’s important to work with the changing schedules for the foreseeable future. It should be noted that parents are much more adjusted to having children at home now. Many parents may opt for partial work-from-home contracts even once the pandemic ends. As a result, preparing for flexibility from the get-go is crucial.
Dealing with Attendance and Its Impact On Billing Cycles
Given that schedules are likely to be flexible manually, keeping track of attendance may be cumbersome. Using apps like Illumine that allow for contactless check-ins is likely the smarter solution. Illumine not only allows for manual as well as automatic check-in but also helps you share temperature logs within the app.
Since monthly billing cycles may no longer be viable, having an app that tracks attendance and extra hours will be crucial to improving transparency with invoicing. Note that staff management must also be adjusted for flexible scheduling.
Keeping the Communication Channels Open
Parents have always entrusted the responsibility of their child’s care, development, and learning on to trusted daycares and preschools. Improving transparency is the key to ensuring that your parents leave the daycare every morning as satisfied customers rather than anxious anchors. Investing in technology like preschool management software that can help you share photos, videos and reports that record and journal the child’s learning journey and fun times, will be a crucial asset.
Staff Adaptability to Technology
Given that investing in childcare software and technology is inevitable, it’s important to help your staff to adapt their activities to it and make the most of it. Training them on how to use the technology can go a long way in bridging the gap between parents and teachers, that the ongoing pandemic has widely carved.
How Illumine is Helping in the Change Management of Preschools and Daycares
At Illumine, we understand that technology is a key determinant in helping the childcare management industry stay alive and well. Our proprietary package automates all functions within your system, be it backend admin operations, remote-ready servicing, invoice management, or communications, Illumine has you covered with its comprehensive preschool management software or daycare management software. We take comfort in knowing that childcare management is a much-needed essential service and will remain so.
As a result, we’re here to help daycare centers get a jump start on the future starting to shine bright. Illumine’s seamless onboarding process and top-notch customer support is here to help as many small and large childcare business owners overcome any challenge that the pandemic has brought.