Happy Hours, a newly opened preschool in California, recorded the millennial parents’ pattern on essential things they look for in a Childcare center. ‘The results were astonishing’- says Emilia, the founder of the Happy Hours. According to her, the survey distorted their expectations. She and her team were not expecting that parents are much more concerned about the ways that keep them connected with their children rather than the curriculum.
Larry, the childcare marketing expert, says – “In today’s technology-driven world, where 97% of people are hooked on social media, it is expected that new generation parents will want the fastest mode of communication that informs them of their children’s activities graph.”
Childcare businesses prioritize the parent engagement apps to ensure the best communication mode with parents on mobile devices. Stats show 72% of childcare businesses are using parent communication or engagement apps for their centers.
But what makes a great parent engagement app? What are the best features to look for when deciding for your childcare business? This post covers all you need to know but first let us know – Why a parent engagement app is essential for your business?
Why a Parent Engagement App?
A parent communication app, or often called a parent engagement app, is a software program used by childcare businesses to ensure the parents’ involvement in their children’s growth and development. The other motive is to provide an effective mode of communication between parents and the educators who work with their kids in child care programs.
A Parent communication app makes it easy for educators to send and receive messages, share photos and videos, and deliver daily reports to parents.
Parent communication apps are used by child care providers, mainly for the following reasons:
- To share the real-time information with the parents.
- To optimize the payment facilities.
- To secure the safety of the children.
- To update the parents about the important events.
- To market your childcare programs.
Parent communication apps have proved to be immensely helpful during the Covid times as the childcare centers have to go remote. The app has helped educators connect with the children and the parents and build a trusting relationship.
The educators believe that communication apps improve the efficacy of childcare programs.
Now that the childcare centers are opening up with the new regulations, the parent communication apps prove to be more helpful. The educators can share the ongoing activities of the childcare centers with the parents. Parents will be able to receive messages, pictures, videos regarding their children’s activities.
The app will make it easier for parents to get the latest information or updates on the childcare center, and it will improve the smooth running of your childcare center.
Next, we’ll look at some of the most important features you should look for when choosing a parent communication app for your center:
1. The app that provides the best digital outreach
As mentioned above, the first and foremost thing parents long for is the fastest way to get an inside peek of their children’s activities; hence the most essential feature for any parent communication app is sending messages to parents through an in-app interface.
The parent engagement app you are choosing for your childcare center should enable you to communicate directly with parents on a one-to-one basis or to send the same message to a group of parents via mass communications.
Look for the best app to keep a record of your communications with the past parents and the new parents. The best communication apps will allow you to access your detailed conversations with the parents at any given time. It will also allow you to attach the image of the respective parents on the contact list for better reference.
2. Text Alerts for Emergency Communication
According to The Independent – 78% of millennials today interact digitally rather than face to face. Millennial parents have different needs today than what it was yesterday. Every child care centers are aware of this gradual shift; hence there is a need to provide the parents with the best, including emergencies.
Stanford recently surveyed the childcare industry and found that the efficacies of childcare engagement app depend mainly on – how it serves to parents during the emergency hours. Natural disasters like Earthquakes or tornados can hit anytime. The best parent engagement apps will make it possible for you to contact parents during such hours, send them mass messages, and inform them about your backup plan.
Now, the question is, do parents read text messages? Well, studies show that 90% of people read text messages within three minutes of receiving them. Sending text messages also ensures that every parent has access to them as it doesn’t require an internet connection.
3. Share childcare updates through videos or photos
Renne, a preschool teacher in Atlanta, Georgia, says – “Our school has started using the parent engagement app to improve children’s learning process, and we have seen significant improvements in the way children learn.” The app makes it possible for parents to watch the live learning sessions of their children, and they can instantly contribute to the session if required.
The parent engagement app helps you share the live events and allows you to share the latest updates like the photos and videos of the children’s activities, both indoor and outdoor. You can share with the parents every moment like the children’s reciting poems or dancing in the art classes, celebrating birthdays or making fun of their fellow friends. Parents find it fulfilling when they don’t miss their children’s such tiny moments.
As a childcare provider, you should be aware that the parent engagement app you are choosing for your center should have this feature prominently displayed. Data show that more than 7000 childcare centers alone in California use parent engagement apps mainly to share the latest updates with the parents.
4. Share your childcare calendar with parents
Effective communication being the primary need of the parents, most childcare centers tend to miss out on prioritizing the other essential features while choosing the best parent engagement app. Sharing and informing parents about the upcoming events or details about the children’s learning activities is a crucial factor in running your childcare center smoothly; hence, an app that ensures this needs to be taken care of can be considered the best parent communication app.
The best parent engagement app will allow you to share the schedule you had planned for the children. The schedule includes a detailed view covering the important upcoming events, important holiday celebrations, outdoor classes, class inside activities, summer camp dates, weekend special musical classes, and many more.
If the parents have access to the upcoming events, they can prepare themselves beforehand with the specific needs. For example, a parent can be well equipped with the children’s costumes if there’s a drama coming up and their child has a special role in it.
5. Share daily activity reports online
Ramya, the administrative coordinator of Merrytime Preschool, based in Alabama, says – “Every parent seeks feedback from us, and that’s important for a child’s development. We even encourage parents to write us back or connect on the app to report things they want to.”
The best parent engagement app makes it easy for parents to carry on with such tasks – receiving and giving feedback and sharing the daily activity reports online.
“Constructive feedback is crucial for a child’s growth and development program,”- says Marry, an elementary school teacher. Moreover, Digital reports are easier to fill out, they never get lost or damaged, and they’re easy to access if they need to be referenced in the future.
Parent Engagement App is a powerful tool that helps to run your childcare center smoothly. It has numerous benefits, from automated payments to providing effective communication, but you might find it overwhelming to decide which one is right for you. As a childcare provider, if you are aware of the main features to look into the app, you will find it easy to decide.
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