"Our parents love seeing their kids throughout the day on the Parent App."

Neena Locke
Childcare Director

3 Ways Online Tools Help You Come Back Stronger from COVID

May 21, 2020

The question we’re all asking is: when will things return to normal? Last week, I suggested that things will likely not go back exactly as we remember, but will return to a ‘new normal’. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, however. If we adjust both our expectations and the way we do business, we can create a new normal that’s better than ever before

Today I will cover 3 areas that need to be considered as you streamline your business and prepare for post-lockdown reality. A monumental shift from in-person and on paper to virtual and online that has been accelerated due to COVID will make a lasting impact on how things are done in the future. Let’s consider how this will impact child care centers specifically. Check out the three tips below to turn your surviving business into a thriving business!

Optimizing Operations

No matter what your center’s operations look like, there are always things that can be updated and optimized in terms of online services and tools. If you don’t have childcare management software or find your existing system difficult to use, consider purchasing simple, easy-to-use software to make your shift online easy and stress free. Sandbox Software is an amazing tool , with top reviews for ease of use and value that will help you monitor and manage all areas of your center's business. Get started in a free 30 day trial or get a live tour with a product expert!

Affordable, attractive software can make your life easier by automating tasks and helping move the following and more online or promote their benefits and ease of use if already available:   

  • Billing/ Invoices
  • Online Payments
  • Child Attendance
  • Management of family and child information
  • Staff files and certification tracking

As a bonus, parents will thank you for preventing unnecessary contact and taking client service to the next level!

Before COVID it may have been considered a luxury to have online software for these tasks, but as more activities are moving online it is quickly becoming essential to thrive as a center. My advice is not to wait until your center reopens to make the switch. Sitting down to one demo may be enough to get everything up and running before the children and staff return. 

Rethinking Academic Delivery

Another area that is changing forever is the way that academics are taught and delivered. If your center is anything like mine used to be, most of your curriculum is completed on printed paper in the classroom, so it’s time to explore some options to launch your new and improved center for the new school year. 

Having tools to assist with completing curriculum online is a necessity. We will need ways to educate our children online to support the in-person classroom and in lieu of in-person instruction when a child is sick. 

Here are a few ways to assist academic delivery online:

  • Communicate with parents in regards to curriculum in the classroom and provide tips for them to help their child complete curriculum at home.
  • Provide online curriculum tools parents can use from home with their children that help add value to the classroom curriculum.
  • Provide ways to catch up a child online when they are sick or on vacation.

Even if your center decides to remain on paper in the classroom I believe there will be a new expectation from parents to have online options. Proactively seeking out these options and promoting them to parents can actually save you time while taking you a step above the competition! 

Parent and Team Communication

The last area I want to mention in regards to the use of online tools is communication. Businesses and governments alike have found that especially today, digital communication is KEY! Having a way to communicate quickly and effectively with both your staff and the families in your center is essential. 

If you haven’t already started using an online tool for communication now is the time to start!! There are many different ways to do this. An all-in-one child care software system like Sandbox may be the best option, but you could also use a private facebook page or group email list. 

As always when it comes to communication I recommend having a few different options. Some people are great with email while others might prefer facebook. When you split up your communication between a few you’ll make sure to hit all your people! Of course, this can be more work for you to manage, so the ideal solution is a purpose built, easy-to-use software that can fulfill all your needs in one place. 

Final Notes

As leaders in the child care industry, rethinking what it looks like to run a great center and re-evaluating best practices is more important now than ever. What a great time to look at what we are doing, what’s working well and what needs to change. With every cloud there is a silver lining, so whether this season has been busy or slow, stressful or successful, you won’t regret tweaking a few things to improve your center and make your center stronger than ever before! 

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