Daycare Software – A Friendly Partner: How to Pick the Right Software for Your Daycare Center

August 14, 2016

Researching new software for your daycare business can be a fun and easy process. In this article I’m going to talk about some of the specific things that you should think about and look for in order to help you make better and more thoughtful decisions about purchasing software.The first question you need to ask yourself is: what are the specific daily tasks I do today that software can help me with? At first this seems like an easy question to answer, but when you consider the myriad of tasks which you complete in a day you’ll find that this simple question can become a little overwhelming. Think closely about the main tasks that you spend hours of time on and think of daycare software as a potential partner who can help with those tasks in an affordable way. For many daycare centers one of the most important things that software can help with is speeding up their admin work. A good example of this is automating reports. Some examples of the types of reports include: Attendance sheets for tracking attendance, projections reports to help you schedule your classes and maximize enrolment, and automated invoices and customer statements to send to parents. Many centers create these reports manually in Microsoft Word and Excel, and are required to update them regularly with new information. A good software program will create these reports automatically for you, saving you time and also minimizing the possibility of human error. Take a step back and imagine how much time you spend creating reports like attendance sheets, and now consider what else you could be doing with your time if you had a software program to automate the job for you.

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Reports are just one example of a task that can be made simple with a daycare software program. Make a list of the administrative work that you perform on a regular basis and use this as your starting point for the features you feel are most important to you.Daycare Software Must – Intuitive and Easy to use
Once you have found the software programs that will handle your specific needs, you’ll need to consider the other factors which will impact you in making your final decision. Over the years many different software programs have become available for use both in personal and business environments. New programs continue to become available at a rapid pace, which can be both good and bad for consumers. You’re now faced with a myriad of possible choices, but not all of these choices are programs that are worth investing in. Software can be difficult to evaluate, but you can often distinguish very quickly between a program that is effective and easy-to-use, or one that is outdated and complicated.Ease-of-use is one of the most important things to look for in a new software program. Many childcare centers will make the decision to purchase software but never end up using it due to it’s complexity and the time required to make the transition from their current systems. Software should make your life easier, not more difficult. Software doesn’t need to be complex in order to handle your specific needs. Apple is a great example of a company that continues to release powerful, yet intuitive and easy-to-use software.Information kept safe and secure
Security is also a very important aspect to consider with childcare software. Child and family information is sensitive data, and needs to be stored securely. The software program that you choose should require a user name and password to login. Many of the newer software programs are web-based and make use of SSL technology to encrypt your data and prevent it from being accessed by unauthorized parties. Ask the vendors you’re working with which technology they’re using to keep your data secure.Keep your Daycare Software current
You will also want to look at how maintenance and support are provided with the daycare software you choose. As with anything in life, computers and computer software require regular maintenance in order for them to run efficiently, so you should make sure that you select a software program from a company that clearly outlines their plan to provide you with support and maintenance. This enables you to easily budget the ongoing cost of using the daycare software, accessing support, and keeping the software up-to-date with the latest features and improvements. Be sure to ask about any ‘hidden fees’ for technical support or new product upgrades.

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Don’t be shy, give Child Care Software a try
Once you’ve found the daycare software program that handle the right tasks, is secure, easy-to-use, and has a clear support and maintenance plan, your last step is to use the software in order to properly evaluate it. Most software companies will provide you with a free trial period where you can work through the software for a limited time at no charge. This will allow you to compare two, three or more programs at the same time, and decide which one is the best fit for your daycare center.Daycare Software can be a friendly tool which saves you hours of time on some of the more tedious parts of your job. Using these tips and your own instincts, weed out programs that are difficult to use, and be sure to pick the software program that you’re most comfortable using.