We are so excited to announce the official and long awaited launch of the Sandbox Parent App. As you know this app has been in the works for some time now with the idea that it would close the communication gap between your center and the families that attend. We are so proud of the way it turned out and know you will be too.
Our goal is that the Parent App will provide parents with a better understanding of what their child is up to each day, along with easy access to updating information, viewing invoices and making payments. We know that by using this app the parent experience at your center will dramatically improve!
Today, I am going to walk you through the app. We will explore how to get families set up on the app, and how to best use it in your center with all the features that are included. Please know that we have plans in store for many updates along the way. This is only the first launch of the app, stay tuned for updates that will include; curriculum tracking, updated daily report documentation, direct teacher messaging and much more! These features are all in the works as we speak.
So, here we go!
1. Invite Parents to the Parent Portal:
In order for parents to log into the app they will first need a parent portal login. To invite them to the parent portal just head over to the FAMILIES tab in Sandbox, select the drop down with the four lines and select SHOW ALL. This will put all of the families on one page. Then select the top red dot on the left hand corner, this will select all the families in your center. Then head back to the drop down with the four lines and select PARENT PORTAL REGISTRATION EMAIL. At this point you can customize the email to say anything you’d like and it will provide the parents with a link to sign up.
If you’d like to invite individual parents, you can do so on their child's profile. Under the guardians name you’ll see the option to “SEND PARENT PORTAL REGISTRATION EMAIL”. This is the same email as described above but it will only send to the one guardian that you’ve selected.
If you have already invited parents to the portal, they can just download the app and get started by logging in with their existing email address and password!
2. Send Email Describing the Parent App:
Our team has designed a Parent Portal user guide for you to send out to the families in your center. This guide is very detailed and will go through all the features, answering any questions they may have. You can also choose to send a link to download this user guide in the body of the parent portal email if you’d like!
3. Download the App
The Sandbox Parent App is available for download on iOS and Android devices. If you are using an iOS device, you can find the app in the App Store by searching for Sandbox Parent App. If you are using an Android device, you can find the app in the Google Play store by searching for Sandbox Parent App.
Once parents have created an account, they're ready to download and login to the app!
If you want to play around with the app yourself first, we suggest that you create a sample child in your sandbox account and use that account to login to the Parent App. This is a great way to play around with the settings and get the hang of the app before emailing your families.
Before you get too far in the process, make sure that you configure the Settings that you’d like for the Parent App use at your center. You can do this by jumping over to the SETTINGS tab in your Sandbox Account and down to PARENT PORTAL. Here you will have the ability to adjust the what the parents can view, edit and adjust when using both the portal and the app.
Navigating through the Parent App is pretty simple. To get started, just click on the top left-hand menu to navigate from one section to another. It is possible that not all tabs will be available to you since what is displayed is based on how you configured the settings in the Settings tab of your account. If you are missing a section discussed below, check your Settings before calling support.
Let’s walk through each section of the app together!
When parents login to the Parent App, they will be brought directly to the Newsfeed. This is where parents will see information that is shared by your center such as messages, pictures, attachments, and announcements. A great way to encourage families to log into the app is to post on the Newsfeed daily! This is a great place to post your monthly newsletter and all center updates as well.
The Messages section will enable parents to communicate with the center privately (not shared with the other classmates). Currently, they are not able to select a specific teacher or staff member (this feature will be released shortly), but they can message the center as a whole. As of now, messages will be seen by all center staff who have access to viewing messages as well as permissions for that particular classroom. If you need help configuring Settings so that the right people see the messages, let us know, we are always happy to help!
The Billing section is where parents can view their account balance and make payments (if your center offers online payments). If parents click the “Pay Balance” button they will have the option to pay their balance. They will also have the ability to make a partial payment against their account balance.
The Billing section also enables parents to view invoices and any payments that they have made. They can access statements and tax receipts by clicking the ‘Statements’ and ‘Tax Receipts’ buttons at the bottom of the screen.
In the Children’s tab, parents can view information for their child(ren). They will also have the ability to add or edit information by clicking the + icon beside each item.
Here are some tips for the Children section
Depending on how your center manages attendance, parents will be able to see their child’s daily clock in/out times as well as absences in this section. If they have more than one child at the same location, they can toggle between them by clicking on the child name.
Parents will not use the app to clock in their child, they will still use the time clock in your center. This tab is just for viewing the clock in and out times.
6. Daily Logs
In the Daily Logs section of the app parents will now have access to view the daily log activities that you have documented, through the app. For them to view the daily log, they will need to click the green daily log icon.
**Updates to daily logs in Sandbox are coming soon. Teachers will have easier access to documenting things like potty, snack, nap and activities very soon!
In the Settings tab, parents can reset their login password and Timeclock PIN. They can also manage their push and email notifications for check in/out, messages, newsfeed items, and daily logs (if this is enabled by the center).
**If parents aren’t getting notifications when something is posted to the newsfeed or a message is sent, have them double check their settings.
If your center has more than one location you’ll notice that in the top left-hand menu, parents with child(ren) at more than one location will have the option to switch locations. To switch locations, they will click location, and then select the location that they wish to switch to. This makes it easy for families who have child(ren) in more than one location.
It’s my hope that by reading through this blog you will be more than ready to launch the Parent App at your childcare center. Although the app is super easy to use, this tutorial should prepare you for any questions that may arise.
If you have any questions about the app please know that our team is here to help! You can start a chat with our support team by logging into your Sandbox account or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sandbox is an easy all in one solution for your childcare business. Get started today - it's free!