All you need to know about Childcare Management
Your Ultimate Guide to Successful Childcare Management
The need for customizable childcare management apps has grown exponentially in the last decade. What is childcare management, you ask? Childcare management entails managing day-to-day business operations while also providing childcare assistance. These services include end-to-end processes such as lesson planning, invoice tracking using childcare billing software, digital attendance, meal program tracking, parent-teacher communication, assessment reports, etc.
We’ve curated this guide to give you an in-depth insight into childcare management and all the functionalities associated with it.
Table of content
- Types of childcare programs
- Who manages childcare?
- Role of a childcare manager
- Qualifications of a childcare manager
- Salary of a childcare manager
- Performance evaluation of a childcare manager
- What to consider before becoming a childcare manager?
- Habits of effective childcare managers
- Challenges faced by a childcare
- Seven ways to manage a childcare
- Wrap up
Types of childcare programs
The most common types of childcare programs you can choose from for your toddler are listed below.
- Traditional daycare center
Most daycare centers offer childcare services during normal working hours. Several provide half-day or full-day care for children and often include meals and field outings. Daycare centers typically bill families every month rather than hourly one. They also provide a standardized curriculum for daycare.
- In-home daycare
In-home daycare centers manage children from a home-like setting rather than a classroom setup. They usually constitute fewer kids when compared to daycare centers. Since such facilities are typically run from home, their costs are often much cheaper than daycare centers as well. In-home daycare centers are expected to be accredited, follow safety protocols, and provide clear childcare instructions to caregivers.
Nannies specialize in providing individualized in-home care for children. Their employers are the families who they work full-time for and are paid by the hour, with a pre-decided schedule. Nannies are expected to be flexible and provide personalized care, but they can often cost more than the other options available for childcare.
- Shared nanny
A shared nanny is not very different from a traditional nanny, except they provide their services to two families at once. In short, they don’t exclusively work for one family. To reduce childcare expenses, families often hire one nanny to look after all of their children simultaneously. This is typically done at the parents’ home. In this case, the cost is less, and there is also increased social interaction among the children.
5. Au pair
Trained caregivers from overseas who provide childcare services while residing with the families are referred to as Au pairs. They are allocated their own personal room as well as a fixed salary. Au pairs provide live-in childcare services to families, giving them the flexibility to carry on their day-to-day activities without any disruption.
Babysitters are part-time caregivers who provide their services on an hourly basis. They can be called upon by the families when the need arises. It has become more and more common among parents to offer such positions to a well-known school-going kid and in turn, help them earn some extra pocket money.
7. Relative care
While parents are at work, relatives or friends may step in to help with childcare. Daily care from recognized and reliable individuals will help children, and relatives and friends are often willing to provide flexible care. The amount paid varies depending on the circumstance and the relationship.
Children aged between 2-5 years old often attend preschools. Since preschools offer age-appropriate learning environments. They charge every month and offer kids a space where they can learn and grow with other preschoolers. Some preschools are also open full-time on weekdays.
Who manages childcare?
The owner or director of a childcare center is usually in charge of the facility. The position of senior director is often referred to as a childcare administrator. A childcare center’s director oversees regular activities such as parent registration and waitlists, early childhood educator staff management, talent and recruiting, operations and finance, marketing, and facility maintenance.
Role of a childcare manager
A childcare manager plays a crucial role in the setting up of childcare. Listed below are some of the responsibilities they’re expected to discharge.
1. Program designing
Designing the program that the daycare uses in its day-to-day activities is one of the most significant responsibilities of a daycare manager. A regular schedule of activities to entertain, a clear and realistic plan for coping with disciplinary issues, and arrangements for dealing with emergencies such as a fire in the facility are included in the program.
2. Staff supervision
The daycare manager is in charge of hiring and supervising all of the facility’s employees. From hiring new employees and assessing employee performance to employee training and dealing with any problems that arise–all of this is overseen by the daycare manager. Since all the employees at a daycare center are responsible for the welfare and well-being of children, the manager must carefully select applicants who possess both the expertise and the demeanor required for the job.
Related guide: Hiring Preschool Teachers? It’s Easy if You Do It Smart
3. Administrative duties
Budgeting, recordkeeping, maintaining client files, purchasing anything needed by the facility, such as new equipment or art supplies, and updating parents fall under the jurisdiction of daycare managers. These tasks of managing day-to-day daycare activities can be effectively managed using daycare software.
Illumine has a lead CRM tool eliminating the need to manage admissions separately. The app supports the functionality to manage inquiries and admissions in the web portal too. You can filter out the leads based on the month, source, status, etc. On the lead page, you can change the status of the lead as well (interested, waitlisted, closed).
4. Direct care duties
The manager is expected to be actively engaged in the primary care of the children. Any of the children at the daycare may show signs of developmental disorders or family problems. The manager may need to respond in certain situations to ensure that a cognitive condition of a child is adequately handled. Depending on the situation, this might at times, include contacting a social worker.
Qualifications of a childcare manager
Anyone who wishes to serve as a daycare manager must be able to pursue their education throughout her career. In addition to acquiring the mandatory certification, prospective daycare directors must be prepared to complete various courses to obtain and retain accreditations and licenses.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, although a high school degree is the minimum level of education that daycare workers are expected to have by most states, some also favor applicants with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. Psychology, linguistics, and language learning, as well as well-being, protection, and nutrition, are important practices in early childhood programs.
After obtaining the right qualification, aspiring daycare must gain some experience to be considered truly qualified. It is recommended for daycare directors to have experience working in early childhood education. Numerous childcare directors began their careers as preschool teachers before moving up to managerial roles. This enables them to comprehend the emotional and physical needs of growing children, as well as how to react to and handle parents’ concerns.
A Child Development Associate certification from the Council for Professional Recognition or a Child Care Professional designation from the National Child Care Association is mandated by most states to be held by daycare managers. The CDA credential underlines that the directors should take on a minimum of 480 hours of childcare work and at least 120 hours of education in childcare in the last five years. A high school diploma, experience in the education industry, and attendance at educational programs are required to receive the CCP.
Many states also require daycare facilities to be authorized in addition to certification. A facility’s employees, along with their manager, must undergo a background check, be immunized, and complete the basic training required to meet licensing requirements.
Salary of a childcare manager
Child daycare managers may work for various companies, ranging from small businesses with a single location to large corporations with hundreds. The average salary for a childcare program administrator in the United States is around $46,769 per year. Wages typically start from $29,928 and go up to $73,086.
Performance evaluation of a childcare manager
Any early-learning program needs a transparent feedback system to succeed. Employees, administrators, and parents benefit from a professional performance assessment structure as they collaborate to provide excellent education and guidance to their students.
- Self-assessment is considered to be one of the most successful methods for taking in input and obtaining feedback from teachers. It is this form of ongoing reflection that helps establish internal strengths and areas for improvement. Self-assessments enable caregivers to participate in their own professional evaluations actively.
- Performance improvement plans are proven to work equally well. They have played a crucial role in monitoring situations such as employee promotions and dealing with issues between co-workers.
- The appraisal review should be planned ahead of time, giving the employee and boss enough time to plan for it.
- Subsequent assessments may be undertaken at the annual review or could be scheduled sooner if a structured quality improvement plan is implemented.
What to consider before becoming a childcare manager?
In a childcare career, it comes as no surprise that you must enjoy working with children, but there are a variety of other attributes you must possess if you want to work as a childcare professional. Before you go any further, consider the following six scenarios:
- Loving all of it – the good, bad, and the ugly
Working with kids could be fun in many ways, but it comes with its own set of challenges. There will be several occasions where you will have to handle their tantrums, extremely high energy levels, crying, and screaming. To be fully prepared for the job of a daycare worker, you need to be willing to deal with the difficult side of being around kids as well.
- Communicating with kids as well as their parents
As a daycare worker, you will be expected to interact with and handle the concerns of both children and parents. Although most regular days will consist of taking care of the kids, feeding them, and playing with them, it is also your responsibility to notice and document their behavior and activities using a childcare app. This could include keeping the child’s parents at par with their growth, achievements, difficulties that they might be facing, and above all, their learning curve.
Related guide: 15 Latest Trends In Parent Teacher Communication Apps (2022)
- Patience and flexibility–are the most important traits
It goes without saying that when you set out to work with kids, patience and flexibility are two key attributes to succeeding in the given environment. Every kid has a different behavior pattern and a different mind; therefore, it is crucial that as a daycare worker, flexibility is something you must possess. Some tricks might work for a few kids; they might not for others. Dealing with several kids at one time is no joke. Hence, patience and calmness is essential for you to get through the day and manage the class effectively.
- Willingness to learn
In the field of education, learning never stops. Willingness to learn something new every day is not just a job requirement but will also keep you up-to-date with the techniques and knowledge to handle various complex situations.
- Being dependable at all times
In a profession like childcare, the welfare of the children is paramount. Parents and employers put their confidence in you to take after their children’s well-being and protection. You must also be reasonable and responsible at all times, as these children regard you as a guardian and a role model.
- Income is a deciding factor.
A childcare wage is pretty average, and it won’t make you wealthy. If making money is your primary reason for pursuing a career, childcare is definitely not for you. A childcare career offers many benefits and highlights that money can’t buy, and it’s work that will always satisfy you.
Does this ring true for you? Then consider enrolling in a nursery course that will lead to a diploma or credential in early childhood education and support. Some classes will prepare you to teach children with disabilities, as well as educational psychology and first aid. Working in childcare can be a satisfying and enriching experience, but it is not for all.
Habits of effective childcare managers
Here are 6 habits of highly effective childcare managers you should consider incorporating if you wish to pursue this field.
1. Paying attention to everyone’s needs
Ensuring your team feels safe, listened to, and valued, with opportunities to grow and develop professionally, is the recipe for a successful, happy environment. The best thing for students is a happy, motivated staff; by putting the staff equal first with the students, you are doing the best you can do for the students.
2. Boosting spirits by giving regular praises
Along with providing opportunities for professional growth and development, a healthy, happy workplace requires ensuring that the employees feel secure, heard, and respected. The best thing for students is a satisfied, empowered workforce, and to provide the best possible service to the students, one needs to prioritize the staff alongside the students.
3. Treating team members as equals
By giving respect, effective managers also regulate it. They don’t let their place of power make them feel superior to others, and they’re not afraid to get their hands dirty when necessary.
4. Taking out time to recharge
Taking some time off to reflect and refresh is essential for being a successful manager. To sustain a high-energy, long-term management style, aligning your resources is very crucial. This emphasizes the importance of striking a balance between work and play, and it encourages your team to do so as well.
5. Communicating openly and often
Communication is an essential part of managing a childcare team of any scale. Efficient early childhood managers exhibit leadership abilities that encourage collective decision-making and clear dialogue among employees, children, and their parents.
It is essential to create a comfortable and safe environment where employees are relaxed and confident to share their honest feedback. Daily supervisions, evaluations, and mentoring opportunities are some excellent ways to start.
With Illumine, you would be able to monitor and document all your parent communication from one place. Moreover, our in-app messaging feature also gives you the freedom to manage, share, and store all administrative and teaching documents on a single platform.
- Building on other people’s strengths
Successful managers understand that by integrating their team’s strengths, they can accomplish goals that no one can accomplish independently. It’s important to understand the team member’s unique strengths and look for ways to encourage their spirits and nurture their skills.
Challenges faced by a childcare
The COVID-19 pandemic, amongst other things also brought back the emphasis on the necessity of childcare facilities and how crucial it is for supporting working parents and ensuring steady and healthy growth in the children.
- Even before the pandemic had hit the continent, the childcare vendors were running on razor-thin budgets and profits and also needed extra funds to provide standard care for growing children while also supporting their own businesses.
- The daycare providers grapple with affording and accessing defensive equipment and supplies that could foster a safe and healthy environment for the children and the staff.
- Many early childhood educators are unemployed, even though they work with children aged from birth to five and receive, on average, poverty wages at the best of times.
- Parents, who bear the brunt of the cost of childcare and spend more out of pocket than parents in other industrialized economies, are struggling to juggle jobs, childcare, and education on their own.
- Even though many schools, childcare centers, and family childcare homes remain closed, some states attempt to reopen them and force teachers to return to work without considering who will care for their children.
Related guide: 12 Toughest Challenges Faced by Childcare Owners in 2022
Seven ways to manage a childcare
For the parents to trust the childcare facility with their kids, one needs to work on developing a relationship that involves credibility and trust. Here are 7 ways you can meet their needs.
- Honesty and transparency
A childcare center must be transparent and truthful with parents about the services and expectations they have. Working with transparent institutions about how they care for children makes parents feel more relaxed. Parents should know how their child will spend their day and what things they have planned for their child’s development.
Making sure the parents are aware of their child’s development and success helps the parents stay at par with their child’s growth. And if the news is bad, it’s best to be upfront and inform them right away rather than letting them draw their own conclusions.
- Have a licensed and accredited team
A team of qualified professionals is what drives the institution into providing the best services for a child. It depends on this very team to establish the quality of childcare provided to the kids at the institution.
It helps to create confidence with your clients when you show that you’ve been approved by public bodies to provide childcare services. Furthermore, the employees are best prepared to care for children and involve them in activities that are advantageous to their growth.
3. Incorporate digital solutions
Childcare management software can drastically improve the services and processes of a preschool by streamlining and digitalizing all the systems. Illumine is an all-in-one childcare management solution that will enable you to automate all your business processes, interact with parents, and make your preschool profitable.
Illumine is used by over 500 schools worldwide to schedule classes, take attendances, update reports, streamline invoices, and perform all the other administrative functions – all with the click of a few buttons. Sign up today to take a free 11-day trial of the app with all features included.
- Keep parents involved
Along with the children, you also need to keep parents involved. Parents should be kept engaged as well alongside the children. If any volunteering opportunities come up, parents should be made aware and encouraged to participate. This will not just help you strengthen your relationship with the parents but will also increase their trust in your offerings.
- Be inclusive
You must also make your facility more inclusive if you want to provide the best childcare services. Ensure that the special conditions or needs of a particular child are met. Since no two children are alike, you must keep this in mind while organizing events and lessons.
- Be proactive
You must ensure that all of your organizational and functional operations are constructive. This enables you to provide a safe and balanced learning and growing atmosphere for children.
- Document student progress
Be sure to give parents regular reminders so they are aware of their child’s success. It improves the trustworthiness of the childcare provider, the parents, and the baby. Keeping track of children’s development allows you to provide parents with credible and timely reports.
Overall, successful childcare management involves a good and healthy balance between the children in your care and the teachers on your staff. By using Illumine, you can open up two-way communication and lead by example.
Through an all-in-one software solution, Illumine will help you manage your daycare, optimize costs, and increase admissions. Book a demo today to revolutionize childcare and be the face of the changing educational landscape!