SMART IQ Magazine

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smart iq

FALL 2017


• How to Make the Transition to New Technology Seamless and Easy • Interested in Using SmartCare for Free? • 4 Tips for Hiring and Keeping the Best Child Care Staff

Keeping Up With the Millennial Generation

Is Your Center Keeping Up With the Millennial Generation? If your child care center is like most, you’re still accepting only cash and checks for payment. While there were plenty of good reasons to avoid using new technological payment options, those reasons are quickly fading. And there’s a major reason to consider using new payment options.

According to the Guardian, many experts predict that by 2025 as many as 75% of all transactions will be made without cash. With close to five billion global mobile users, there’s a huge opportunity for mobile payments. This is especially true for the child care centers that still accept only cash and check payments. If your child care center wants to take advantage of this massive opportunity in serving the millennial generation, using new technology to connect with them is crucial for success. This means As you may know, child care

most transparent generation

introducing new technology

needs for the millennial

ever and they continue to

to your center so parents feel

generation are growing at a

remain heavily connected

connected to their children

rapid pace. This generation

online even after they become

throughout the day. It also

is history’s first “always

parents. Over 35% of millennial

means ensuring they feel

connected” generation.

parents claim to have posted

mobile payments in your

They are immersed in digital

on Facebook in the last day.

center are secure.

technology and social media

That means that among the

and treat their hand-held

older millennials (those 25-

While introducing new

devices almost like a body

34), 3.78 million of them are

technology to your center may

part. More than eight-in-ten

“connected” on any given day –

seem like a daunting task.

say they sleep with a cell

and that’s just Facebook.

You may think your parents

phone by their bed.

This is important for child care

will be hesitant to trust a new

centers because millennials

system. Then you have to train

Among the older half of

are 2.5 times more likely to be

your staff, which can be time-

millennials, those between

early adopters of technology

consuming and overwhelming.

ages 25-34, there are now

than previous generations.

However, millennials want to

10.8 million households with

This includes the use of mobile

use new technology. So there’s

children. Millennials are the


little hesitancy in this new


generation of parents. What’s

provide in-person onboarding

more, there are systems on

and support to make sure

the market today to ease the

every center feels completely

pain and make the transition

comfortable with all aspects

to a new management

of the software. This way, all

software system seamless.

staff and parents leave with confidence in the system and

One such technology has

understand how to access

solutions for child care

every feature.

centers of all sizes. This new

Focus on What Sets You Apart In today’s world, we are constantly exposed to advertisements and marketing

software offers modern

This new technology came

schemes that are striving for our

mobile and web solutions

about when two companies

attention. The goal is to grab a

that connect child care center

– SmartCare and ChildCare

potential customer’s attention

owners, directors, teachers,

Manager – joined forces in

and spark their interest. What

and parents in real-time. It

early 2016. With decades of

has all the features of child

experience from ChildCare

makes your child care center

care management software,

Manager and innovative

but with a modern twist.

technology from SmartCare,

These apps offer child care

the company has the

centers secure sign-in and

technological solutions every

ratio? Is your teaching method

sign-out, automated billing,

child care center can use.

influenced by Reggio Emilia

different from other centers in the area? Does your center have a low teacher-to-child

or Maria Montessori? Is your

payment processing, mobile payments and parent

With the technology these

center committed to outside

communication (including

two companies provide,

play every day? Parents should

photos and video sent in

there’s no reason introducing

real-time). This software can

new technology should be

have a compelling reason to

a concern. Allowing parents to access these new tools will increase their sense

choose your center over others in the area. All child care centers are focused on providing a safe

of security, help them stay

environment that supports the

connected throughout the

needs of children, so don’t spend

day and allow them to make

all of your time focusing on this.

payments on-the-go; all of

Focus on what sets you apart

which help millennial parents

and make it clear to parents

feel connected to their child care center and make them want to share their experience with others.

what that is within moments of stepping foot inside your center.

Interested in Using SmartCare for Free? Consider the Parent-Pay Option


If your child care center isn’t accepting online or mobile pay, you might be wanting to avoid the extra costs associated with these payment options. However, most millennials have grown accustomed to paying for the vast majority of their purchases and bills using one of these options. This includes child care. What if you could offer these options for free? An easy option many child care

options online or through

the accounting and reporting

centers use is the parent-pay

their smartphone. Parents

center to the directors and

option. Rather than the center

always have access to their

owners have full transparency

paying the fees, the parent-pay

tuition balance and they are

of everything that’s happening

option passes the fee payment

automatically emailed a receipt

with tuition payments.

onto the parent. This is done

after paying.

through a small monthly tech fee. This attractive option

For the center owner or

allows child care centers to

director, SmartCare will

enjoy using the software with

simplify and streamline a lot of

no extra charges.

manual processes and provide access to all center data

The tech fee is similar to a

from any internet-accessible

registration or materials fee

device. All the time you used

that many centers already

to spend keeping everything

have in place. Each month

in order with tedious projects,

parents would have this tech

you can now focus it on more

fee wrapped into their tuition

important things.

balance, adding three to five dollars each month. That’s less

Another attractive option

than the price of one latte –

for both the school and the

and it’s low enough that most

parent is the ability parents

If you’re interested in learning

millennials won’t bat an eye at it.

have to setup auto-pay online.

more about how parent-pay

This automated billing option

can help your school, schedule

One added benefit for parents

reduces late payments, making

your demo today. You’ll quickly

is that the school their child

sure child care centers always

see why centers are starting to

goes to continues to provide

get payments on time. And it

use SmartCare without having

the best technology for security.

reduces late fees for parents.

to pay for it. It provides parents

It allows for easy payment

What’s more, everyone from

with technology that they love.



Make the Transition to New Technology Seamless and Easy Taking the next step with new technology in your child care center may seem like a daunting task. But knowing there’s great customer service behind the software can make all the difference in the world. When you have a problem, you want to know there’s someone you can contact who will be able to solve your problem.

The trouble with many customer service managers is that they haven’t ever been in your shoes. But that’s not the case with Pattie Shomaker. Three years ago, Pattie attended Kris Murray’s Child Care Success Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she first discovered SmartCare. She was an Executive Director for a child care company in Salt Lake City, Utah. “I was sitting in a demo and learned of new child care management software called SmartCare. I was intrigued. It seemed to put all the daily jobs of a full management team into one application. I loved the idea of streamlining my processes and cutting down on labor. I checked into it and signed up to be a tester of the product. I then decided I needed to be a part of this great company and came to work for SmartCare,” said Pattie. Pattie began her journey with SmartCare in 2015, traveling around the country and talking to parents with children in child care. Pattie and others from the Customer Success team interviewed them about their views

on the day-to-day comings

countless hours on the

the one-on-one training and

and goings in their child

phone planning travel and

truly appreciate the on-site

care centers. They asked

training directors, teachers,

implementation experience.

about security, safety, and

and parents. Her favorite

Pattie loves helping a center

functionality, learning much

part of her job is getting to

grow and learn to better

from their perspective that

travel to all the different

manage their teachers and

they could bring back to

child care centers seeing


the rest of the SmartCare

their daily operation and

team. Pattie was also able

spend the face-to-face time

to witness the development

with them. Her clients love

So if you need help, Pattie is here to serve you.

team take the results of these hundreds of interviews and merge them into the software available today. Many of the suggestions from the child care center parents and staff helped us shape the software solution that SmartCare offers today. Pattie now has the opportunity to introduce SmartCare to clients all over the country. She spends

Does your child care center have the ability to communicate with parents throughout the day? Can you send photos and updates to parents? How about videos? With SmartCare’s latest software system, teachers can do all of this and more. Parents want to feel more connected to their children throughout the day. With SmartCare’s new video technology, teachers can send parents photos and videos for everything from easing their first day drop-off concerns to educational milestones. Teachers and parents can comment back on these updates using the SmartCare Teacher and Parent Apps. To add a video to a child’s timeline, teachers simply choose the attach function and can send videos as a MOV or MP4 file. Parents also have the ability to save these photos and videos on their child’s timeline, which they can share with other family members or on social media.


Hiring & Keeping


Read more posts at

Quality employees are the key to making your child care center great. Parents look at things like qualifications and number of years employed at the center when making decisions about where to send their child. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find great workers and even harder to keep them at your center.

Rather than putting an ad in the newspaper or on Craigslist, work your network to find great employees. Let staff and parents know that you are looking to hire new teachers or administrative staff. This can give you higher quality candidates, especially if you offer an incentive for referrals. Additionally, if you currently employ part-time workers, tap into that pool before you cast a wider net.

Ask candidates why they want to work for your child care center. Then choose the people who have specific reasons for preferring your center over those who have general reasons for wanting to work with children. Have they worked at other centers in the past? What did they like and dislike? Rather than asking typical questions about strengths and weaknesses, ask candidates how they would deal with specific problems they might face in the classroom, such as dealing with a child who is being aggressive or helping a child who is shy making new friends. Do they have real-life examples to share?

Take the time to check the candidates’ references and perform thorough background checks. In particular, ask former employers about how long the person stayed with the company. Ideally, you would like to find workers who are going to stick with your center for many years. If the candidate seems to bounce around from job to job, you may want to pass on them. Also, check with state requirements to see which background checks are required for each employee at your child care center. This can vary from state to state.

Give employees a good reason to stick with your company for a long time. A solid benefits package can be a big selling point. Include things like healthcare, paid vacation time, options for retirement savings, and discounts on tuition for their own children. These are all great ways to retain quality employees. Also remember that it’s important to offer competitive wages so they don’t feel tempted to keep looking for a position after starting with your child care center. Ultimately, if you want to attract and retain the best staff members, you need to be a child care center where people want to work. Set up a positive environment that supports employees. Learn more in our Guide to Child Care Staffing here and how to retain the best staff members in our blog post here.