Childcare and Daycare Software Comparision

There are many software solutions in the market. Most of them are PC based and require costly upgrades and support costs every few years. A great resource for reviews of daycare software is Capterra. Here is our analysis for various Childcare software available in the market. Kinderlime stands out for its web and mobile solution. Also it has Daily Sheets, Parent Communication and Marketing features at no extra cost. Kinderlime’s Sign In-Out app is the leading solution in the childcare market in time and attendance tracking. See Table Below for comparison.

Kinderlime Procare EZCare Daycare Sage Childcare Manager
Child and Family Record
Sign In-Out
Dedicated app for Sign In-Out
Sign In-Out Signature capability on iPad
Staff Time Clock
Child Billing and Invoicing
Online Payments from Parents
Registration
Daily Reports / Sheets
Parent communication
Marketing
Unlimited Users
Free Upgrades No
Free Support Separate
Yearly cost based on 50 children $600 $1500 ontime $828 $625 $1,700

How to start your own In Home Daycare

Ok, so you want to start a family daycare.

You love kids. Your own children have started going to school. You want to supplement your families’ income and take care of your kids when they come back.  Yes, this is a typical situation when most of us start a daycare.

Let’s see what you need to do even before you start:

1. Location – Your house will serve as a daycare, so it will be a place from where you will run your business. Families will be dropping off and picking up children from your daycare. Your home will now have a different character – be ready for that.

2. Hours: But be prepared to have continuous intrusion of parents between the hours of 6:30am to 6pm. It is a lot of work.

3. Finish the childcare credentials that are legally required by your state. You’ll need to finish that coursework in the local community college

4. You’ll need approval from your state’s childcare licensing shutterstock_110536658

5. Buy toys, cribs, a small playschool and make your home child proof

Starting out:

1. Marketing: Getting a family to enroll and get excited in your daycare. The best ways to do this is to place an ad in craigslist and post in a local library. Participate in local moms groups.  Sponsor a local baseball T-Ball little league game. Have flyers for distributing to parents during the game and arrange for snacks after the game.

2. Preparing meals: Nutritious meals is an important part of managing your daycare. You can also apply for CACFP Meal program. Parents love if their children are well fed. Be ready to prepare breakfast before the kids start coming at 6:30am, then preparing lunch at 11am and then give out snacks at 3pm.

3. Parent communication: Parents want to know what their children have been doing during the day. You can download various Daily Report samples here.

4. Open a Bank Account for your business and keep recording your hours. These will be useful for reporting taxes and getting tax deductions. Some samples for Sign In-Out sheets and Daycare paperwork are here

Be fun, firm and consistent with kids. Hold regular one on one parent conferences so that you can discuss the goals and milestones that you are working towards as a team. Family relationships are key, word of mouth works like a charm in daycare industry.

And enjoy the ride. Working with kids is a lot of fun.

Kinderlime innovates on Electronic Billing and Payments for Childcare and Afterschool

This was long coming. Kinderlime had been a fantastic tool for Sign In-Out and Parent Communication for our Schools. But there was a vacuum, it never felt like the platform was complete. Our Preschool and Daycares were using clunky solutions in Paper or in Old style PC solutions. This looked so outdated and and they were wasting valuable time and following a process that was error prone.

Kinderlime today released the Billing Feature for Afterschool and Childcare / Daycares. This we believe will liberate our childcare customers from the agony of collecting tuition, extended care and activity based payments. A daycare can easily create invoices, email statements, record payments and print out the family billing history in our easy to use Family Billing Feature. This new Feature is FREE for Daycares as long as they are paying customers of our Sign In-Out product.

What follows is even more exciting. Now you can collect Bank to Bank Payments or Credit card payments from Payments. Parents can click on the invoice you send them and add their payment information. Thereafter you’ll be able to Do Batch Billing and Payments for all parents who have entered their payment information. After collecting the payments, the Daycare will be able to send the parents the monthly statement.

For Afterschool, a time based charge can be created and then billed to parents. There is a lot that we have addressed in this latest release, so Sign Up on Kinderlime and experience the revolution.

Daycare Billing

Childcare Student Withdrawals: What’s Fair?

Sooner or later, ALL of your preschool students are going to grow up and move on to “big school” so at some point they’re going to withdraw from your school or daycare. Here are a few questions for you to consider:

Do you have a policy in place that clearly lays out the process?

How much notice are you requiring from your families?Students playing in classrooms
2 Weeks?
30 Days?
1 Calendar Month?

You may even ask, “what’s the big deal?” The big deal is, you need time to find a new student to fill this soon to be empty space. It is important to think about the operational expenses of your childcare and being able to cover them consistently. You’ve worked hard to find quality staff and you don’t want to have to lay them off because you suddenly have less income. They won’t be able to wait around for you to recall them to work. They have bills to pay and lives to live. It is stressful to not know if you’re going to be getting a paycheck consistently. That stress transfers into your classrooms! The students will know something isn’t right. A clear policy will help control these things.

If you charge tuition weekly, then you need to know how long it takes to replace the departing student. Is two weeks sufficient? Should you require more? If you charge tuition on a monthly basis, is a month enough notice? That brings up the question, “what’s the difference between 1 month and 1 calendar month?”

One month translates to a 30 day notice. They can file notice at any point during the month and have their last day to attend be 30 days later. This leaves you with a partial month unpaid.

One calendar month means that they can file at anytime during the month prior to leaving but they’re here to through the end of the month. For example, if they wish to have May 31st be their last day to attend, they need to file their notice no later than April 30th.

Whichever option you choose, you need to allow enough time to find a replacement student AND they need time to complete your registration packet/process before their start date.

Your questions and comments are always welcome.

 

Supporting your Daycare Staff

You’re hard at work on a project, quickly approaching your deadline when a teacher emails you something that they really need to send out to parents but when you read it, you quickly notice several errors that need to be corrected and time is not on your side. What do you do? Do you send it out as is or do you take the time to correct the errors? shutterstock_153435986

It seems more and more that people will choose to send it out as is. This is a rather large mistake in my opinion. This simple email isn’t just a simple email. It is a representation of your preschool! I personally consider it an embarrassment to my preschool when I see output that does not meet the high standard that I expect in my work. Do you want your families to see inferior work and poor grammar? You’re teaching their children! They will not rise to a higher standard if you’re not providing the ever constant example of what that higher standard is.

Now, we all make mistakes at different times so please don’t think I’m expecting perfection, but we should all be striving to produce better and stronger communication with our families. If you’re a weak speller, take a moment to ask help from someone who is a strong speller. If you don’t know how to format a new document, look for someone who knows how to.

In my daycare office, I have inherited forms that have been handed down through three or four Office Admins and they contain quite a few formatting errors that I personally find very irritating to work with. I happen to be very good at formatting forms so that they look and work right. Rather than make a few changes to the existing forms, I have taken some serious time to correct all of these errors. It has taken a while but next year, I won’t have all of the irritating little issues constantly popping up and everything will update much faster. This will save me way more time in the long run but more important to me, my efforts now have produced work across the office that is seamless and professional. When a parent brings in an emailed form that they printed at home, it prints correctly and looks right! You might even say that, “they won’t even notice it”, but I guarantee you that they will certainly notice when it’s not right.

My advice to you is to change your expectations to a higher standard. Take the time to proofread AND correct the mistakes. You’ll soon begin to see and feel better about what you produce. You’ll be able to ask parents to conform to the higher standards. You’ll soon find yourself taking less time to fix the errors. Your students deserve the very best from you and your staff! Step up to a higher standard today in your preschool and daycare!

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Are you leading teachers to success or out the door?

Originally posted on Creative Learning Care:

There are so many lessons that I learned and continue to perfect during the course of owning and operating my childcare centers. What I have found is that having a wonderful staff is the key to successfully running a childcare center. There are so many important tasks and jobs that others have to fill and complete in order to keep the business running smoothly.

The teaching occupation suffers from chronic and relatively higher staff turnover compared to many other occupations.  That is true of management as well as the teaching staff. Total teacher turnover is fairly split between two components: attrition (those who leave teaching altogether); and migration (those who move to teaching jobs in other centers).

Unfortunately statistics show that half of administrators fail within 18 months of a new position. It also shows that half of all hourly teachers leave new jobs within the first 120 days.

It…

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