Your everyday childcare business routine leaves day packed, and that leaves little room for your staff to interact with parents in a meaningful way. But can you afford to ignore the importance of parent engagement to the success of your students and your program?
There are numerous studies that show the benefits of family engagement in a child’s education, including this one from the US Department of Health and Human Services. Students are often higher-achieving, regardless of race, ethnicity, or financial status, when parents are actively involved. That success in the classroom, even in early childhood, boosts self-esteem and improves behavior in school.
So how do you stay in touch with information parents need, keep them engaged, and make them feel like they are a part of your program, too? Use a tool that is easy, convenient, and within reach of today’s parents all the time – a mobile app.
Technology is helping childcare centers like yours connect with parents like never before with easy-to-use mobile apps specifically designed for teachers and administrators to encourage and increase parent engagement. Take a look at some of the benefits that a parent engagement app can bring to your business.
Send reminders about important events, dates, and deadlines
Morning dropoff and afternoon pickup are hectic, and it’s a tough time to try to connect and communicate with parents. To bridge that gap, lots of early childhood education programs rely on old-school methods like a communications envelope or take-home folder. Those get lost, forgotten, or cleaned out in a hurry without a glance at the paperwork inside.
With the right parent engagement app, you can update parents with custom messages to remind them about important upcoming events and deadlines. Spring concert reminder? No problem. Field trip information? Piece of cake. Volunteer signups? They’re a breeze.
Nudge parents to complete timely forms, send in supplies, and meet the deadlines you set to be able to run your center efficiently. With a mobile app that sends the information parents need right to their fingertips, you’ll stop chasing paperwork and have more time to do things you actually enjoy.
Make tuition payments easy and convenient with a parent engagement app
There’s no need to chase late payments when mobile bill pay is just a tap of the smartphone away. Give parents the ability to pay tuition and fees directly through a mobile app when and where it’s most convenient for their busy lives.
Today’s parents are used to paying bills online, and mobile purchases are commonplace. Why not enable them to pay tuition and childcare fees the same way they pay all their other bills?
Choose a mobile app that sends parents push notifications whenever you send invoices; one that allows them to click and pay through their smartphones or tablets is even better. This gives parents the option to review their accounts and make payments from anywhere – on the train for their daily commutes, standing in line at the grocery store, or even sitting on the sidelines at the soccer field.
Real-time schedule updates for today’s busy parents
For today’s parents, scheduling is very important. There’s a lot to do – a full day’s work, running errands, chauffeuring kids to endless sports practices and activities, even fighting a losing battle with the laundry pile. They are careful planners, and that means any change in the schedule can wreak havoc on their routines.
With a parent engagement app, you can keep parents in the loop with schedule changes, weather related closings, and other time-sensitive information. No more robo-calls, no more emails lost in flooded inboxes, no more surprises. Using the right mobile app, you can send easy-to-scan custom messages that let parents know what’s happening in real time.
Parent engagement leads to rave reviews… and referrals
What do parents post on Facebook and Instagram? Pictures of their kids, of course!
The best parent engagement apps will allow you to send photos and videos throughout the day, which is great for keeping parents connected to what’s happening with their little ones throughout the day. Parents can then share those photos and videos to their social media pages right from their smartphones.
So what is the benefit to your organization? Marketing. The social media posts get likes, comments, and shares, and folks start talking about how cool it is that your program makes an effort to stay in touch with parents. The more people talk, the more referrals you can expect, and the better your enrollment figures will become.
Easy updates with daily logs and more
Little Susie went potty at what time? And little Johnny took a nap for how long? The hectic morning dropoff and afternoon pickup times are probably the worst times to catch up and connect with parents, but the answers to those questions are something parents really need to know.
The right mobile app will allow you to easily keep parents posted in real time on things like potty time, nap time, and meal time habits. This is especially important for parents of infants and toddlers, since they aren’t able to communicate that information on their own. That information explains why Johnny is grouchy that evening, and it also allows Susie’s family to celebrate a successful potty day.
Records of these types of communications are often required by many local and state licensing agencies, so if a mobile app can take care of reporting to parents and and fulfilling licensing requirements without extra work, why do it twice?
Parent engagement is a two-way street, but ultimately it starts with you. The right mobile app, like EZCare’s companion app EZSmiles, can make it easy to establish a reputation as an organization that really cares about involving families in their childrens’ education. Find out how you can make parent engagement easy with EZCare childcare management software and the EZSmiles parent engagement app.
EZCare child care management software is designed to make today’s child care management tasks just that – easy. Designed with parent engagement in mind, EZCare has a built-in parent portal and the EZSmiles companion parent engagement app. To learn more, call 800-220-4111 or schedule a tour of EZCare and EZSmiles today.
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This post was originally published by the EZCare team in 2017, but it has been refreshed with new, exciting content and best practices. Enjoy!