At the start of the year, many childcare businesses were thriving right alongside the economy. But as the year progressed, changes to everyday business practices in the fight to curb the coronavirus caused the economy to suffer and childcare businesses were no exception.
Education is an industry that is seeing the far-reaching effects of government-mandated closures. And now as things begin to open back up, there is a rush for preschools, daycares and childcare centers to all fill their enrollment once again.
But some companies laid off or furloughed staff, leading to unemployed parents who are staying home with their children. Others turned in-office positions into permanently remote positions, changing parents’ needs for childcare as well. Another impact on the marketplace is the limitations some states have on child-to-teacher ratios.
And now, in some areas, the supply is greater than the demand. This challenge means it’s more important than ever for childcare centers to showcase what makes them unique and highlight their communication skills to instill confidence in parents that sending their child to their center is a good idea.
Parent communication is more important than ever
Worried parents will want to know the steps your childcare center is taking to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Parents have many questions on their minds.
- What happens if a child or staff member tests positive?
- What safety measures are in place?
- How does billing work if my company returns to remote work during a spike in cases?
- What resources do you offer to extend wraparound care and help in schooling older children if my school district doesn’t return to in-person learning?
You need to highlight your parent communication abilities. Put parents’ minds at ease that if anything were to happen, you can get in touch quickly with everyone. Childcare software makes that possible with just a few clicks.
Review your website content and increase transparency
Your childcare website needs to highlight more than just your program information. Parents certainly want to know about what their child will learn while in your care, but you now also need to share information on the following.
- Cleaning and sanitization practices
- Special care requirements
- Flexible scheduling and billing options
- Communication channels and speed of communication
- Technology that sets your center apart from your competitors
- Ease of drop off, pickup, bill pay, and reaching a child’s teacher
In a crowded space where parents have many options, you need to highlight what makes you unique.
Make room for flexible schedules and part-time attendance
Just like your childcare center is returning to business slowly, so are other businesses in your area. Parents might be working part-time from home and part-time in the office, changing their childcare needs. The more flexibility and part-time scheduling you can allow for, the easier it will be for you to market yourself during these unprecedented times in business.
iCare Software’s rate chart modeler makes billing part-time and flexible attendance simple and ties in with your attendance data. Set it up once and bill your customers based on your preset requirements. You have full control over your rates and automatic billing functions.
Find ways to innovate
Parents have been stretched thinner than they ever have before with school closures and remote work. This year, they’ve become childcare providers, remote workers and homework helpers all at once.
Think about how you can ease some of the pressure. Perhaps that’s through virtual classrooms and education for children while parents work from home. Or maybe you need to reinvent your childcare center to offer after-school tutoring and services for older children. You might even use iCare’s Virtual Classroom to teach lessons to school-aged children to reduce the burden on parents.
Today’s childcare and education marketplace are in desperate need of innovation and creative thinking. No one knows for sure how long the pandemic will last and what things will look like after it passes. But some changes to remote work and remote learning might stick around long after the coronavirus does. How you position yourself now will affect your long-term strength and sustainability.
Stay in close touch with parents even during closures
Even if you’re not yet able to open your doors for in-person learning and care, you need to stay in close touch with parents. Remind them of the fantastic services you provide and the value you offer.
Offer tools and resources for at-home learning and be transparent about timelines for reopening, even if it means saying state guidelines are not yet clear.
iCare Software allows you to email, text and send messages through the parent portal so that you’re always connected to your customers. We also automate your childcare’s business processes and offer custom reporting like no other software on the market. Request a demo and learn how you can get set up in minutes with childcare software.