Prior to the pandemic, 88% of two-parent families and 83% of single-parent families working full-time used non-parental child care for children under age 5. By May 2020, the majority of child care centers and about a third of home-based child care businesses were closed due to either health and safety ordinances or lack of demand – both brought on by the pandemic.
Opening a daycare business is an investment in the future, and this requires intentional building. The licensing procedures and safety requirements are significant and evolving, which can necessitate renovations to your center.
The pandemic changed almost everything about the way we all move through the world. Adaptation has bolstered growth in advancing systems to help daycare businesses provide for kids in a modern world. Leaving you to do what you do best (care for the children entrusted to you), childcare management systems can facilitate help with payroll, marketing, billing, and scheduling. They provide tools for budgeting, curriculum building, training webinars, parent portal communication, staff management, and more.
The future of the daycare business is larger centers with longer hours, more locations, and increased flexibility. Combined with enhanced curriculums and optimized business operation tools, the future aims to cater to more families than ever before. In the USA in 2019, 12.5 million children under age 6 and not yet enrolled in kindergarten spent part of every week being cared for by someone other than their parents, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Of those children, 62% spent time in center-based care. While COVID-related shutdowns, safety concerns, and ongoing staff shortages dramatically impacted the childcare industry, the landscape is ripe for regrowth.
Technology is here to stay
With higher growth and expectations on the horizon, childcare centers have changed the way they operate.
These days it’s common practice to have software and technology integrated throughout daycare businesses and childcare centers. Childcare management software gives centers the ability to automate processes and saves hours of time per staff member each week. This software also comes equipped with parent engagement and staff and classroom management features. These features allow staff members and directors to streamline processes and connect with parents while saving time and improving the quality of their center. With improved parent connectivity and seamless operations, the software can help maximize efficiency at childcare centers and improve profitability.
To keep up with operating costs associated with changed procedures for our new post-covid world, tuition rates can be higher than they previously were. Now, centers are having to spend more money on PPE and sanitization supplies. These costs, including staffing complications, are causing a financial strain on centers, leading them to find new ways to increase revenue.
Licensing and Training
Center staff, owners, and directors face more licensing and training requirements than in previous years. While these requirements vary from state to state or province to province, they usually include hours of updated education every couple of years. On top of day-to-day responsibilities, staff needs to find the time and resources to continue their training. These have gotten more accessible over the years, especially through online services and webinars.
On top of managing children, parents, and staff, centers face compliance challenges with stricter regulations. There are also new health and safety regulations regarding immunizations, allergies, and sanitation. These regulations have only gotten stricter with COVID-19, causing centers to have plans in place in the event of an outbreak while also mitigating the spread of germs at their center.
The Future of the Industry
The childcare industry is only expected to grow. With the recent economic shakeup, it’s predicted that the future of the childcare industry will be increasingly dependent on government funding and subsidized payments. The key to success for these daycare businesses is effectively managing their center while keeping occupancy high. To do so, centers should look into automating processes and revenue cycles. Digitizing their classroom will give their staff more point-of-care tools and increase the quality of education for the children. Additionally, parents/families are key stakeholders and we must work to engage with them as much as possible through digital communication and real-time updates.
With all the challenges presented by the pandemic, many opportunities have also been brought to light. Centers have been able to reevaluate their operations and find areas to improve.
You Care For Them, We'll Care For You
Our all-in-one childcare management software makes your operations streamlined and efficient, so you can focus more energy where it matters most — with the children.
Diana is a blog writer and early childhood education content specialist at Kindertales.
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