1Core Solution partnered with Childcare21, a not-for-profit organization with a mission to provide information and resources to the childcare industry, to conduct an informal survey to better understand the latest mindset of parents and the implications of those attitudes for the childcare providers as the economy gradually reopens.With over 30-million jobless claims, many families particularly those with young children in childcare are severely impacted. In these uncertain times, childcare providers have extra challenges to bring back the families and keep everyone safe.
We contacted families with children in childcare age throughout the United States. Our surveyor conducted a questionnaire with all the parents who agreed to participate. Following is a summary of 11 key points that we learned from the survey:
Coping during Shelter In Place
1. 85% of the families we surveyed have at least one parent working from home while the other 15% of the families have parents who had recently lost their jobs due to the pandemic. A majority of those families who lost their jobs recently worked in lower income industries. For these lower income families, the parents told us that they have to choose between childcare or reentering the job market when the economy begins to reopen.
2. 40% of the parents told us that they plan to continue to work from home even after the shelter in place order is lifted as they still have concerns regarding the general safety in going back to their regular offices.
3. Over 90% of the parents in the survey found the adjustment to having children home with them at all time to be extremely challenging. This is particularly true for the working parents stuck juggling their professional and childcare responsibilities at home. The increased workload of keeping the children busy during the day, managing e-learning classes and all of the technical issues that can come with that are quite stressful. Parents also feel guilty with the increased use of television, tablets and video games to entertain their children as they have to fill the day with activities and get work and household chores done.
4. Only about 12% of the families surveyed are receiving support from their employers. A majority of the families wish they can get more support from their employers and the state and federal government.
Attitude about Childcare
5. While the shelter in place is happening, 70% of families say they are worried about still paying for childcare while their child is not attending or e-learning while 20% were somewhat worried and 10% not worried at all. It is easier for parents who are still employed. 86% of the parents understand why it is important to keep teachers on and support the school during this difficult time. 42% of the families surveyed, particularly those who lost their jobs are extremely concerned about their ability to pay for childcare.
6. About 33% of families with two working parents are discussing strategy to cope with the scenario of losing their jobs, perhaps with one parent working from home, quitting their job or not looking for a new one if they were laid off so one parent can stay home with the child.
7. When asked how comfortable parents would be sending their children back to childcare when the shelter in place is lifted, most would send the children back to childcare if they have confidence that the center school would do daily health screenings on children and teachers every day, deep clean at night and follow the other CDC guidelines.
Expectations from the Childcare Providers
8. When asked specifically, parents agreed that the adoption of touchless mechanism like touchless sign-in/out, online payment and fully paperless registration with eSignature are very important to them.
9. When asked what else would increase their confidence to send their children back to the childcare centers, 52% of parents like the idea of simple live streaming from their child classroom. These parents said that this is helpful to give them peace of mind that their children are fine and safe.
10. Another emerging trend noticed from the survey is the request for virtual center tour. 65% of the parents surveyed indicated that in the event that they have to look for childcare away from the centers where their children are currently attending (due to centers permanent closures or safety concerns), they would prefer to do the initial search of possible childcare via virtual center tour.
11. 67% of the families surveyed expressed an interest to learn more about virtual preschool. Their responses are more favorable when it was explained to them that virtual preschool includes a turnkey system where it comes with step-by-step instructions on how to setup a room at home for the preschool age child(ren) that is childcare friendly and where the virtual preschool teacher can engage their child while they are working at home. The interest level goes even higher when the parents view the virtual preschool as a more cost-effective option when used as a supplement to regular childcare.
All in all, parents, particularly those who are still working, seem eager to get back to their regular schedules and get back to work knowing that they trust their school and their children's teachers that the children will be cared for and measures are in place for them to safely return to school.
While no one knows for sure at this time about the long term impact of the pandemic, it is likely that COVID-19 is here to stay like a flu. We hope this blog post provides useful information to childcare providers as they prepare to reopen but do what they can to pandemic proof their business.
1Core Solution is a leading cloud-based software provider for the childcare industry for the last 15 years. Our true all-in-one (thus the name 1 Core) solution platform is designed to allow childcare providers to manage all aspects of the childcare business. Furthermore, our recent COVID responsive features like touchless sign-in/out along with daily health screening and 100% paperless registration with eSign flow have helped our clients to better deal with the new normal. To learn more, please visit www.1coresolution.com.