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The Best 7 Free Child Care Software for your Business

The Best 7 Free Child Care Software for your Business

Ellen Galinsky rightly said- "Childcare is an invisible part of the economy." As Childcare centers enable millions of parents to work, they play an indirect role in the growth of the economy.  It is a service that requires you to respond to the physical, emotional, and intellectual development of a child. Childcare providers are required not only to take care of the kids’ activities but also be versatile enough to handle parent communications, documentation, authorized pick up for the kids, staff scheduling, etc. Apart from this, as a childcare provider, you need to ensure that your systems are in compliance with the standards for running a childcare center and meal standards such as CACFP (Child & Adult Care Food Program). 

Running a childcare center is a very challenging business and you have to be always on your toes to operate a childcare business. It is essential to save your time from redundant and repetitive work so that you can focus solely on kids. In a nutshell, this can be achieved only if you alleviate tedious administrative work and focus more on children. 

To achieve this, and to stand apart from the crowd, you need to leverage technology. You have to deploy a stringent and well-designed system in place to streamline and simplify the childcare processes. Here comes the role of a Childcare software. Childcare software enables child care providers to organize and automate back-office processes, parent communications, core activities, and financials.                     

What is Childcare Software?             

A childcare software is an application tool that enables childcare providers to ease, automate, and manage their childcare center’s activities. The childcare software is a software solution for your childcare center’ s needs. These software are used by childcare service providers to manage daycare activities and keep the parents engaged. These applications are designed to ease the work of child care administrators. Childcare software connects care providers with parents and simplifies tasks by eliminating hassles.

What are the challenges faced by Child care providers?

  • Getting fees on time: 

Revenues are of paramount importance to keep your business operations running. A major challenge faced by the childcare centers is the collection of fees on time. Timely collection of revenues is essential for smooth functioning of the childcare center.  

  • Files management: Wasting your time bogged down in paperwork

A childcare center manages the flow of new enrolments, admission forms, waitlists, kids profiles, inquiry forms, kids and parents records, kid's health records, classroom records, authorized pickup records of kids' transport, staff records, meal records, and many other records. It is a lot of paperwork if done manually in physical copies.

  • Engaging kids: Providing undivided attention to kids

The most important task of a childcare center is to keep the kids engaged and make the experience fun for them. The real challenge is to make time for undivided attention amidst the flow of multiple other activities. 

  • Parent Communication: Feeding information to anxious parents

Childcare providers enable parents to work by taking care of their kids. But that doesn't mean they can work freely without worrying about the fact that someone other than them is taking care of their kids. Childcare providers have to constantly make sure that information regarding their kids' well-being, performance, and meal-intake is reaching parents regularly.

What are the benefits of using a Childcare Software?

  • Effectively engage with your primary customer

Childcare providers understand that their primary customers are the parents of the kids who are paying fees. For a better customer relationship and engagement with parents, a proper channel of communication is necessary. With the childcare software and its features such as the parents portal, you're able to communicate effectively with parents, and also engaging them in kid's overall progress become effortless.

  • Enhances quality of your Childcare center:

Quality of your childcare center depends largely upon three factors-retention of Staff, sustainable services, and streamlined program. When the Staff feels less burdened, and they enjoy their work, then they are more likely to stay with you. When everything you do is streamlined effectively, and all activities have a well-defined process with childcare software, then surely it will increase the quality of your program.  

  • Keeps kids in love with your center

When Childcare providers have automated a lot of repetitive tasks with the assistance of childcare software, they can utilize more time focusing on kids and their activities. When a Childcare provider spends sufficient time with them, kids are more likely to find the place pleasant and adorable. They will tell their parents that they love to be at your Childcare center. They will become the brand ambassador of your enterprise. When a kid gets attention, care, and the proper environment to unleash themselves, their mental capabilities become stronger. Parents, your primary customers, need nothing more than the happiness and well-being of their kids.

  • Manage your center without the hassle 

You are into the childcare business that requires you to manage a lot of activities simultaneously. All kids don’t arrive at the same time. You may also need to coordinate with the transport facility as most of the parents don’t come to pick and drop their kids themselves. At the same time, you need to manage classroom activities, parent's communication and admission queries, vendors, etc. Without childcare software, in place, it will be difficult for you to keep track of everything.  

  • Enhance center productivity and profits

Your Staff gets enlivened when they don't have to spend time on activities that can be automated. Your Staff gets support from the tools, and this increases their productivity. Your costs get reduced as there is no paperwork. It adds to your bottom line. When you get real-time reports and alerts about declining attendance, pending payments, due fees, parent's grievances, etc. then you can quickly take actionable decisions and increase your profits.    

  • Easy Check-in and Check-out

You can easily monitor and authorize the check-in and checkout of your staff, parents, kids, and the authorized pickups by providing them with secure PIN or fingerprint enabled access via a mobile device. This helps you in maintaining the highest security standards for your childcare center. 

  •  Easy Registration and Enrolment process

A childcare software makes the registration process hassle-free both for parents and for your staff. You can allow parents to access the registration forms and fill it online. The working parents find this very convenient to sign in from anywhere using any mobile device with internet connectivity and enroll their kids.  

  • Ease of managing activities

With childcare software, one gets the ease of managing daycare activities for the kids. Childcare software can handle planning, scheduling, and records for a variety of activities offered by your childcare center. Parents can opt to register for individual activities. The software can also record attendance for the activities.  

  • Manage your staff efficiently

Childcare software lets you keep your staff’s complete information such as contact information, working hours, joining date, work profile, etc. in the database. You can also track their daily work hours, and that can be integrated with the payroll software to calculate their remuneration.  It also helps to assign roles and responsibilities to staff and make schedules according to their availability. 

Signs of a great childcare center

                                                                                                     

What are the features of a comprehensive childcare software? 

Admin features:

This feature of childcare software lets the admins manage, customize, and maintain their profile. You may not run the childcare center entirely by yourself. You have to provide admin rights to other responsible employees and partners. Childcare software comes with the feature to provide multiple users with full or restricted management capabilities. The access must be password protected.

Kids profile:

A childcare software keeps a  record of all necessary information about the enrolled kids. It has information about parents, their address, emergency contact details, medical information such as allergies, dietary restrictions, immunization and vaccination records, behavioral information, etc.

Registration, Enrollment & Admissions

This feature of childcare software eases the administrative work by making available the customized online enrollment forms, registration forms, and admission forms all in one place.  These forms have most of the fields that can be filled by parents and submitted online. Your staff can fill the office portion of the forms.

Student & Classroom Management

It is particularly helpful for the childcare providers to manage attendance, keep track of the curriculum and classroom activities. Childcare providers can record the growth of kids in studies, games, and other fun activities using this feature of childcare software. 

Meal Program Management

This feature lets childcare providers create, automate, and manage meal plans. They can list the menu and edit it. This feature has the ability to publish weekly meal menus to the Parents Portal.

Parents Portal:

Childcare software comes with an inclusive parents portal. 24-7/365 day access to the parents' portal makes it easy for the parents/guardians to manage their information and accounts. Childcare providers can update daily activities reports, photos, and videos of the ongoing events, etc. to keep parents informed about the activities at the childcare center. Parents also get an idea about the progress and classroom performance of their kids.  It reduces the burden on your office staff. 

Employee Management & Administration

This feature comes with multiple tools for employee management. Biometrics punch in and out, employee scheduling, employee data, and document, etc.

Daily reports

With this feature of childcare software, you can generate daily report sheets, with meals, naps, activities, etc. Care providers can stay in touch loop with what's happening in all your classrooms. Set up tuition plans, send invoices, and create reports all in-app. Track every child's development and share notes across all teaching domains.

Billing & Accounting

Childcare providers can manage fees payments, and 3rd party payments such as the associated transport facility, utility providers, stationery vendors, etc.  This also lets parents choose from multiple payment options. Parents and third-party vendors can make payments online via secure payment options such as internet banking, debit or credit card, wallets, etc.  

Manage multi-site child care centers

The childcare software can provide you with a cohesive platform to manage multiple childcare centers from a single dashboard. 

Real-time data backup

With childcare software, your data is automatically backed up in real-time, ensuring safety for the loss of critical information. Higher standards for hardware and software capabilities reduce downtime.

Security

You can be assured that your kids, parents, and your own data is safe and secured with multiple layers of encryption.

Other Features of childcare software:

  • Check-in and check out with fingerprint or PIN
  • Sponsor information management
  • Access to newsletters and announcements
  • School Calendar & Directory
  • Parents’ grievance redressal
  • Framing of childcare policies and rules for your  childcare center
  • Software features such as use and access the portal on any device or OS                                                                                                                                 

The list of 7  best free Childcare Software:

  1. Cakechildcare
  2. Brightwheel
  3. Kinderlime
  4. Ezcare
  5. Jackrabbit Care
  6. Sandbox
  7. Kangarootime

Comparison table of 7 Best Free Childcare Software

Comparison of child care software

  1. Cakechildcare

Cakechildcare is a free childcare software that assists child care providers to manage their childcare center. This free childcare software has separate sections for Class management, staff management, Child management, and Family management. The software comes in a downloadable desktop version. 

Cakechildcare software

(Source-Cakechildcare)

    Key Features:

  • Auto-Bill tuition fee
  • Auto-calculate extra fees for late pickup or early drop-off/ by the minute
  • Flexible billing automatically apply discounts such as sibling discount
  • Make customizable adjustments manually to any account 
  • Get Invoices and Receipts by email, text, or print
  • Keep track of all expenses from payroll to supplies
  • Parents Profile section to fill and record information such as Relationship to Child, Personal Note, Contact Information (Phone numbers, addresses, email), Optional Demographic Information (Customizable)
  • Kids profile section to fill and record information such as Parent Info, Date of Birth / Age, Authorized Pickup Person, Emergency Contacts, Sibling(s) Information, School Information, Personal File Attachment (PDF, JPG), Medical Information
  • Staff Profile section to fill and record information such as Personal File Attachment (PDF, JPG) Job Title, Educational Background, Interactive Work Schedule, Contact Information (Phone numbers, addresses, email), Training and Certification with Reminders, 
  • Reports: Revenue Report, Child & Staff Attendance Report, Cost Analysis, Roll Call Sheet, Sign In/Out Sheet
  • Reminders: Staff training, Child immunization, Facility reminders
  1. Brightwheel

Brightwheel is a free childcare software to automate and digitize your childcare center's activities. This software comes with pre-loaded learning standards, that can be shared with parents or Staff. It reduces your burden to make policies.

Brightwheel childcare software

(Source-Mybrightwheel)

    Key Features:

  • Record student progress and developmental milestones
  • Capture and share learning milestones seamlessly with parents.
  • Digital check-in: Check-in Staff and kids using digital signatures, secure PIN, and quick scan.
  • Mark and track student attendance and  absences 
  • Generate Attendance reports 
  • Ratios: Get the real-time student to Childcare providers ratios
  • Guardian management: Manage approved persons for drop off or pick up
  • Automatically get daily reports about activities, 
  • Add photos, and videos to Parent's gallery
  • Capture memorable moments, and share with parents in real-time
  • Incident reports: Track mishaps throughout the day to record in incident reports
  • Menus & food: List the food items you want to track 
  • Naptime: Record nap time per child or per group
  • Potty: Track diaper changes, or potty breaks per child
  • Track and analyze kid's progress with data-rich reports.
  • Share learning and kid's development with staff and parents
  • Invoice parents and accept payments automatically.
  1. Kinderlime

Kinderlime is a free childcare software that provides tool kits specifically designed to assist childcare centers to manage their daily operations. With features ranging from sharing child's activity moments with parents digitally through photos or videos throughout the day to capturing digital signatures from authorized pickups, Kinderlime is an all-in-one solution for childcare providers.

Kinderlime

(Source-Kinderlime)

    Key Features:

  • Set up billing plans to charge tuition cycles on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis
  • Send fee invoices to parent’s with one click
  • Allows parents to Process payments online via their mobile app
  • Charge parents only for used hours, days of the week with Kinderlime’s  built-in algorithm based on attendance
  • Input in fee menu the Sibling Discounts and  special discounts or child care subsidy programs
  • Record accurate timestamps for your reporting and Check-in kids and Staff securely
  • Get alerts when the student-to-staff ratio is below the limit or also when you have more Staff
  • Track your payroll hours with childcare staff
  • Easily integrate with payroll systems
  • Record and manage student absence records 
  • Keep a list of authorized pickups for each kid
  • Track immunizations and allergy reports for each student
  • Highest level of encryption for security
  • Easily create and track learning activities
  • Send SMS alerts for emergencies.
  • Share upcoming calendar events with parents
  • Mark activities as staff-only if approved internally, then remark to share with parents
  • Track meals and share daily food menus
  • Send quick reminders with date and time
  • Easily view developmental progress for all children with one click
  • Calendar: Schedule events and activities share development assessment reports and child's portfolio with parents
  • Track student progress with observations notes
  1. Ezcare

Ezcare is a comprehensive childcare software that can be used to maintain multiple childcare centers.  It has a seamless integration process and an excellent data management system. For example, all data collected through registration forms directly integrates with the EZCare childcare management system. Data is readily accessible for reporting and analysis. It allows online enrollment so that parents can sign in form anywhere.  

Ezcare childcare software

(Source-Ezcare)

    Key Features:

  • Online child care enrollment forms for registration
  • Set permissions for parents to access fields such as Contact information
  • Parents are allowed to make one-time payments online or set up automatic payments by credit card or echeck
  • Display your childcare center’s logo on the portal for branding
  • Update and store new payment methods
  • Parent and Child Data: Store and organize parent and child data 
  • Generate useful reports and sort and filter fields to get exactly what information you need
  • Extensive demographic and enrollment data
  • Emergency contacts and authorized pickups
  • Reports on children’s health records, vaccinations, medications, and more.
  • Track data on the required immunizations and due dates
  • Get childcare Accounting Reports 
  • Generate childcare Business Process Reports
  • Oversee staff development with the staff module that lets you track employee data, including Employment and benefits data, Work schedules, Staff to child ratios, and many more.
  • Store schedule and attendance history
  • Record vacations and planned absences 
  • Staff and Child Check-In/Out
  • Take parent and center communication and engagement to the next level.
  • Parent communications with customized Emails, fields, and templates
  1. Jackrabbit Care

Jackrabbit Care is a childcare software that assists you in getting organized in your childcare center.  It has tools that help in child profile management, parent communications, emailing, and many more. It eliminates the inaccuracy and hassle of manual records by providing industry class reporting features. 

Jackrabbit care child care software

(Source-Jackrabbit Care)

   Key Features:

  • Billing and Payment Processing: Bill parents and collect payments online
  • Automate check-in/out for parents and Staff
  • Simplify immunization management and tracking with an online database of vaccinations
  • Connect parents through an online parent portal 
  • Parents can browse and review current policies, see attendance, schedules, statements, and more
  • Provides quick and convenient online payment option for parents
  • Parents can use online registration forms to enroll their children for your services
  • Manage your business safely and securely by integrating  Jackrabbit into your existing childcare center website 
  • Include your logo, fonts, and colors matching your website
  • Immunization management: Maintain a database of each child’s vaccination information and other special health requirements
  • Jackrabbit Care comes with an inbuilt check-in/out time clock that allows tracking an unlimited number of children and  staff members
  • Share attendance-related messages with parents and Staff
  • Set permissions levels for staff members and  parents  
  • Key business metrics – Visualize cancellations, enrollment, profitability
  • Set instant alerts for absences, immunizations and birthdays 
  • Post notices to Staff using different fonts and colors.
  • Display and review parent contacts, emergency contacts, and more.
  1. Sandbox

Sandbox is a childcare software that comes with tools that support child care center's to ease and organize their work. From enrollment reports and child allergy details to complete financial and multi-location reports, Sandbox provides all information one needs to run a childcare center efficiently. Their online forms reduce data entry work by eliminating the need for manual paperwork.

Sandbox Child care software

(Source-runsandbox)

    Key Features:

  • Child and family data accessible through the child profile
  • Enrollments, , Medical & Immunizations, Reminders, Notes, & Attachments
  • Automatically track schedules 
  • Automated attendance and staff hour tracking.
  • Secure access with unique passcode Customizable online registration tool
  • Access staff  information in the staff profile
  • Staff hours Reminders, Notes, & Attachments
  • A detailed report on all the information required for your child care center
  • Newsfeed: Personalized news feed for parents with photos and updates of activities 
  • Child Profile View: It contains enrollment details, medical information, and uploaded attachments. It allows parents to update contact and medical details. 
  • In-app billing enables parents to pay the fee and other invoices online
  • Messages Communication with two way messaging
  • Daily Logs for Parents to see a summary of their child's daily activities
  • Attendance Tracking: child attendance history and monthly totals
  1. Kangarootime

Kangaroo is the next generation childcare software that comes with an elegant data and analytics platform. It is a modern operating system for childcare centers. Its parent portal and mobile applications provide a world-class communication method. Kangarootime was developed, keeping in mind the need to automate childcare businesses and easing the administrative work.

Kangarootime Childcare software

(Source-Kangarootime)

    Key Features:

  • Secure Check-In & Check-Out
  • Assign authorized pickups persons
  • Share live pictures to parents
  • Send messages to keep parents updated about milestones of  their children
  • Safety Feature such as medical alerts, credential reminders, & lockdowns
  • Automate the billing process and the revenue cycle
  • Keep parent's up-to-date with their child's daily activities, learning,  naptime, and meals
  • Rooming: Keep track of room ratios to ensure optimal utilization of Staff
  • A reporting tool for attendance reports, financial statements, overtime hours, etc
  • Connect children and parents’ to childcare professionals, with on-demand live interactions 

You can choose from the above list of 7 free childcare software for your childcare center and streamline your operations. If you still need a more robust software with better features, then you can add Procare to your list. Procare is one of the most popular and highly sophisticated childcare software available in the market.  Let us see its features in detail:

Procare

Procare is a comprehensive business class childcare software that simplifies child care and daycare center management. It is used in a variety of business settings such as child care centers, daycare preschool, kindergarten and afterschool programs, child activity centers and similar facilities. It has its own cloud storage service for data storage known as procare cloud. 


Procare Child Care software

(Source-Procare)

    Key Features:

  • Manage and search child, parent and family information 
  • Track immunization history
  • Run classroom activities reports 
  • Maintain Emergency Contacts & Authorized Pickup Information in database
  • Daycare Scheduling: True Calendar-Based Schedules
  • Vacation & Absence Tracking
  • Report about Class Size and Child/Childcare providers Ratios
  • Import Photos of Children, Parents, & Authorized Pickups
  • Electronic Document Storage for Families & Children
  • Multiple Users – Access Records Simultaneously
  • Integrated Texting – Seamlessly send messages to parents
  • Print standard daycare forms
  • Birthday Lists & Child Age Reports
  • Bus Run/Transportation Lists
  • Child Enrollment Reporting: Enrolled, Rejected and Wait List
  • Track kids Attendance
  • Create, schedule and manage child care activity sessions
  • Automatically charge the parents for the activity
  • Meal Tracking and Menu Planning Calendar: Record served meals, menu, meal count,  meals, monthly reimbursement amounts, and print menus for distribution to families.
  • Accounting, Expenses and Ledger management 
  • Manage Employee Data & Information and Payroll

Conclusion:

Efficient childcare centers nurture children in a secure environment that offers a positive learning experience for kids. They are the second home for kids. A high quality childcare centre can promote kids’ curiosity and prepare them for future schooling. Today, child care providers also play an important role in preventing and reporting child abuse cases to the authorities. It is an important task that comes with a huge responsibility. Owning and operating a childcare business is not easy.

From managing children's activities to tracking immunization records, childcare software allows you to spend more time with kids and less time for administrative tasks. It simplifies the daily tasks of running a childcare center. Therefore,  it is prudent to invest in a business class childcare software to take your childcare center to the next level.

Childcare providers can choose from any of the childcare software discussed in this article. 

We will be glad to get your views about the article in the comments section below. If you have utilized any of the free childcare software mentioned above, then do share your feedback with us. 

If you wish to see the features of any other software or any other software category other than the best Childcare software, then do look at our software directory.

James Mordy
James Mordy

James Mordy is a content writer for Goodfirms. A voracious reader, an avid researcher, a logophile, and a tech geek he loves to read about the latest technologies that are shaping the world. He often articulates the very nuances of the tech world in his blogs. In his free time, he loves to watch movies and analyze stock markets around the world.

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