Child Care Management Software
How do I find the best child care and daycare software program for my needs?
Choosing child care management software is an important investment of your time and financial resources. It requires research and careful consideration of the following items:
- Define your Goals: Which administrative tasks do you want to tackle? What parts of your center need improvement and streamlining? How can software simplify the management of your business?
- Features: Based on your goals, ensure the software includes the most essential modules and can grow with your business… Family Data, Family Accounting, Attendance Tracking and Employee Data are basic essentials which should be included in any package.
- Pricing: Make an educated choice based on value not just price. The smart decision will be the one that meets your goals and yields a return on your investment. Does the software include functionality to save time, money and improve operational processes? Be sure to get a complete understanding of cost, fees and contract obligations.
- Consultation: Knowledgeable software consultants will help you determine how you’ll benefit from automation. Being experienced with daycare and child care management issues, including billing and accounting, your consultant should clearly understand your goals and needs.
Being a child care director is both a challenging and exceptionally rewarding job. The nuances of combining physical care and education in a nurturing environment requires a special person, because there is so much to do.
More than providing high quality care for each child, building curriculum and working together with parents to ensure development, you are also running a business. This means taking care of time consuming administrative tasks to ensure the continued success of your center, such as collecting tuition, calculating payroll, managing supplies, and more.
Of course, there are also state licensing requirements that must be addressed to ensure your child care business complies with legal standards. These include attendance and meal tracking, monitoring employee training and certifications, and assuring that proper teacher-student ratios are met.
Child Care Management Checklist
Here we have created a mini-checklist to guide you through the many management tasks in your center, as well as solutions to help streamline the process.
While receiving just one payment might seem like a small thing, accepting the check, writing a receipt and recording it in a ledger or spreadsheet can be a 5 minute task. Easy, right? If you have 60 families and you’re handing payments this way twice a month, you could be spending up to 10 hours on managing payments alone. That is once you have tracked each payment down. Parents are busy and can often forget when their next payment is due, leaving child care providers to track them down at check-in time or the end of the day.
Procare’s Tuition Express® gives you easy options to process all payments at once or let parents pay at check-in and online. Since it’s fully integrated with Procare, each payment is automatically posted to the the family’s ledger.
Maintain Room Ratios
Juggling teachers, aides and children between rooms is an all-day, everyday chore. If one teacher goes on a break, you could go over your limit. In addition to licensing requirements for each age group that dictate a certain number of staff members must be present per child, ratios can also affect your finances. Having too many teachers staffed on a day when there are fewer students means you are spending money unnecessarily. That is why an accurate view of how many children are in your care on a daily basis is necessary.
Procare’s dashboard offers you at-a-glance classroom counts and shows any that may be understaffed.
You know the drill—climbing a mountain of paperwork each month to compile your meal reports. If you’re participating in the CACFP and you’re not using Procare’s Meal Tracker to handle meal counts and help with reporting, you’re working too hard.
Laugh at Your Bottom Line
Weekly and monthly financial tracking by itself, is a full-time job. If you don’t have a bookkeeper on staff, you know that tracking, reporting, and reconciling takes time. Procare’s Expenses and Ledger module handles these tasks and more… tracking expenses, generating overall financial reports, and helping you manage your budget all year long.
Child care management is a dynamic job that requires interpersonal skills as well as business acumen. With this checklist, child care professionals can ensure they are maintaining their business, while saving time.
Learn how Procare helps child care providers complete administrative tasks everyday.
Interested in learning more about saving time at your child care business? Check out these related articles:
Hugging a teddy bear can help kids feel braver when it comes to getting a shot. And while they may have to endure a brief moment of pain in the name of good health, at least they don’t have to deal with the hassle of keeping track of immunization records and paperwork. Truth be told, neither should you.
As a child care professional, chances are you’re familiar with the recommended immunizations for young children and you’re careful to make sure every family brings in the child care immunization records for their children before they can attend. Next on your list is the question of how to efficiently keep track of all the immunization requirements, due dates and child history.
How to Track Child Care Immunizations
To help you simplify the paperwork, here are some essential features to look for in immunization tracking software to keep your immunization records up-to-date.
Flexible Immunization Schedule
In order to track when the next immunization is due, you’ll need a way to define the schedule of required vaccinations. Since each shot requires a different schedule, you’ll want the child care database you choose to be flexible. For example, one immunization may have multiple doses due at specific ages, another may be due every 12 months, and a third may be due so many months after the last one, rather than at a specific age—such as when children are on a make-up schedule.
Allow for Exemptions
Children may be exempt from certain vaccinations for a variety of reasons.
- If they’ve already had an illness, like chickenpox, the immunization (such as varicella) may no longer be necessary.
- A child might have an exemption due to family philosophical or religious reasons.
- Combo-vaccinations are another reason for exemptions. Families might choose (or their pediatrician might recommend) individual shots or a vaccine that combines multiple immunizations into one. Therefore, you’d need a way to exempt children from the “individual” shots or vice-versa.
- An age exemption is another possibility. For school-age children you may not be required to track immunizations that apply to younger children.
One final thought on exemptions: you’ll also want a way to indicate the reason why a child is exempt.
Alerts When Immunizations are Due
It’s good to know when an immunization or other requirement (physical, etc.) is due, but it’s even better to get advanced notice of when it’s coming due. In other words, you’d like the parents to know ahead of time, so they’re able to make sure they have the necessary doctor’s appointments arranged.
You may also want a way to:
- Easily see on your director’s screen when immunizations are due or coming due.
- Let parents see immunizations that will be needed soon, at the time they check their children in.
- Generate reports and lists showing immunization information.
Beyond knowing what’s coming due, you’ll also want an efficient way to track the history for each child. In other words, what dates did a child receive each vaccination in the sequence? Typically, this information should be available on an immunization history report.
Making sure the kids attending your child care center are up to date with their immunizations is necessary to ensure the health of every child in your care. However, when the year gets underway and your schedule fills up, it can be easy to lose track of the multitudes of paperwork that go along with immunizations records. To mitigate these challenges and manage health records, child care centers should employ immunization tracking software with a degree of flexibility and customization that allows them to account for each child’s needs.
Learn how Procare can help you better keep track of family health information at your child care center.
Interested in learning more about managing health information at your child care center? Check out these related articles.
- Immunization Tracking – Looking Forward
- Tracking Child Allergies – Part One
- Move Daycare Records to Your Smartphone, iPad, etc.
In each video segment you’ll hear the real story from child care business owners and directors who use ProCare every day. You’ll also learn about ProCare as a company and meet the people behind the scenes who dedicate each day to helping early childhood professionals choose the best solutions and get the most from their management software. Continue reading
If you manage multiple locations for your child care business, you may know that ProCare offers a Multi-Site version of its Child Care Management Software. Multi-Site allows corporate, or other centers with various locations, to manage them all from a central office or at each individual location as needed.
Sometimes you may need to look up a family, child, or employee, but you don’t know which site they belong to. For example if you receive a check from Mary Smith, but don’t know which location her child attends. Or, perhaps you have more than one Mary Smith and it’s not clear which one she is. Problem solved! ProCare has a utility (see image) you can run to look people up by searching across all Multi-Site locations. There are two ways to get this time saving utility. Continue reading