Like any industry, the childcare sector is subject to changing trends. Greater competition and rising standards for childcare facilities are putting pressure on the industry. Expectations regarding communication are greater than ever before.
Where once a fortnightly newsletter was adequate, parents and carers now want centres to use more modern technology so they know what their child is doing throughout the day. Some centres even offer video streaming of children for this purpose! This expectation of more instantaneous communication will only increase as tech-savvy millennials make up a larger proportion of parents.
Increased populations and women returning to work in greater numbers are driving the growth in the childcare industry. However, quality of service is still paramount in parents’ minds as they choose a centre for their child.
A robust communications strategy using SMS can help you meet many of these challenges.
Keep up with regulatory compliance requirements
Childcare requires compliance with regulations in many areas, with information regularly required from parents, such as vaccination records, documents pertaining to childcare subsidies, and other forms. Send an SMS to remind parents quickly and easily which information is required when.
You can use text messaging to help you maximise capacity. If a space becomes available when a child is away – offer the spot to another family via SMS, which will catch their attention in the busy rush of the morning. Parents can quickly confirm their acceptance, meaning you can quickly fill the space.
To manage more longer-term placements, send a text at the beginning of every year to confirm which children are returning to care to help with planning.
Provide regular updates that keep busy parents informed
A good childcare service not only provides exceptional care but also conveys that to the child’s carers. Parents will love a quick text that confirms that an upset child has settled quickly and is enjoying their day. They will also appreciate a welcome text at the start of each year, or an enquiry about the child’s health if they have been away or unwell.
Raising small children keeps parents busy so they will appreciate any efforts by their childcare centre to help them keep on top of things. Remind parents about incursions, public holiday closures, fundraisers, dress-up days, working bees, and other events.
Simplify communications with parents and staff.
Choose a channel everyone is familiar with – text messaging!
Cut the burden of administration
Reduce the time your staff spend leaving voicemails or writing emails trying to contact parents.
Automate text message communications to go out when needed or proactively. Not only does texting messaging cut-through, it also, more importantly, encourages responses especially if two-way messaging is used. For many MessageMedia customers, SMS has helped cut down the administrative processes and ensured centres work more efficiently.
Using such a simple system has reduced workloads, especially the administrative burden on staff generating emails or letters to parents or chasing up responses. Staff are not required to make time-consuming phone calls to parents that may or may not be received or returned. A text ‘says it all’ and parents know why they are contacted when they receive them.Rhonnie Nairn, Systems and Administration Officer, Central Kids
Using SMS via a web portal offers even greater functionality. Messages can be sent to all families or just those in a certain group. The portal also keeps a complete record of all communication, which shows both sent and received messages.
Parents love it
Parents love any system that helps them stay organised and keeps them in touch with their children.
For Central Kids, proof of the system’s success is the feedback from the parents, with comments such as: “I feel more connected with the kindergarten and my child knowing they [the centre] can message me at any time”, “The reminders are invaluable”, “Quick and easy, love it”, and “I’m able to reply straight away”.
Give the parents what they want.
Stand above other childcare centres with fast, easy text messaging communications.
Final thoughts, further reading
Is it time for you to start thinking about adding text messaging to your childcare centre?
Make sure to also check out:
- Why the education sector should take up text messaging in school communications
- How Central Kids Early Education used text notifications to reduce administration and increase efficiencies
- How SMS enhances remote learning for educators