Home-based childcare providers are already under increasing time-restraints and additional workloads as a result of lone-working, there are just not enough hours in the day sometimes!
Many childminders often communicate with their parents and families through a range of media and methods such as paper diaries, written communication, emails, Whatsapp and phone calls. Many still provide hand-written learning journals too which is a testament to the provider’s dedication, commitment and professionalism, but maintaining these records in addition to daily admin and registers can be extremely time-consuming.
For some home-based childcare providers, it’s easy to become stuck in the ‘this is how I’ve always done it’ mentality and it can be hard to see the wood through the trees when you are lone-working, running a business and a home simultaneously! Our children are growing up in an ever-developing digital world and most facilities and amenities are moving online.
Screen time is a controversial topic, specifically within Early Years, but there must be a balance between completely preventing children from accessing screen time and devices, whilst ensuring that children learn and develop the necessary ICT skills for later life as they grow up surrounded by a wealth of technology.
But can technology make our lives easier as early years professionals?
For professionals that are notoriously juggling and spinning plates, technology can absolutely have a positive impact on our professional lives and reduce workload simultaneously.
Even a simple solution like online registers or invoicing could save a whole heap of time, especially for those lone-working who often spend many an evening invoicing or updating essential admin, perhaps utilising available technology and software could not only make their admin more streamlined, concise and accessible but also give them back their evenings/weekends.
Similarly, it’s important to consider any differences that may occur in terms of engaging parents and supporting parent partnerships; as practitioners, you know your children and their families best and know and understand the best ways to engage them.
Some parents may prefer more traditional methods of communication, i.e. in the forms of written updates and journals and daily diaries to keep them informed of their child’s daily progress and development, whereas you may have some families who prefer a more technology based approach to partnership and would prefer to receive photos of their children via a tool like Foundations and to access their learning journal online.
Regardless of your stance on technology and how It can be used to benefit your childcare business, it’s important to take into account the time it could save you and balance that against any costs that might be involved in buying, setting up and running technological software that can support you too.
Whether we like it or not, or whether we already use technology to enhance and support the running of our Early Year’s businesses, the world is fast becoming more digital and people across all sectors are turning to technology and software for help, support and overall business administration, and so it’s worth familiarising yourself with the options available to you, of which there are plenty, and perhaps embark upon a trial to see if technology or software, like foundations, will be beneficial to your business.
Your time as a home-based childcare provider is precious, and ‘free time’ is something none of us have enough of and if technology can save us some precious time, then it’s definitely something worth being aware of, looking into and considering as a business support option.