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4 Important Reasons Flexible Care Should be Offered by Daycare Centers

Overview: Learn the importance of flexible care for daycare centers with these 5 pro tips

Daycare center owners and directors who integrate flexible scheduling for parents can experience a variety of long-term benefits. We've talked about some core advantages in previous articles, but let's focus on additional important reasons for daycare centers to offer part-time care.

#1: Give Parents Flexibility in Their Work Schedule

For many, the traditional full-time daycare hours of operation are 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from Monday through Friday. In some cases, parents work part-time or non-traditional hours, so it could be challenging for their child to be looked after since most daycare businesses are not available at the needed times.

Many parents have shift work employment and might be served better by a provider that is open between 6 p.m. and 4 a.m. or 2 p.m. to midnight. By offering different hours than most other providers, your child care center can fill a need in the community.

#2: Encourage Companies to Offer More DCFSAs and Back-up Childcare Assistance

To the point mentioned above, employees find it challenging to arrange care for their children while working full-time. While companies should provide childcare benefits to all employees, it's not always — if never — the case.

However, when your child care center offers these types of services, it might prompt companies to reconsider their options.

Dependent care flexible spending accounts (DCFSAs) and backup childcare assistance are examples of the kinds of cost-efficient and effective benefits businesses must offer. Since the search for these types of services is increasing, we can assume companies aren't fully aware of the benefits, even financially.

If they don't fully see the advantages of flexible, you offering it might be what prompts this change in the workforce. Read more about how your non-daycare business can offer better child care benefits in this article.

#3: Alleviate Burnout for Caregivers

According to a survey commissioned by Vivvi, a New York City-based child-care provider that lets companies offer daycare and preschool as an employee benefit, many parents are still struggling despite a greater emphasis on flexible work during the pandemic.

Conducted in late spring by market research consultancy Wakefield Research, the survey polled 500 full-time employees at companies with staffs over 500 and who have children ages 5 and under. Here are the results:

  • 80% of respondents said they received flexible working arrangements in the past six months

  • Almost 40%of those parents said that greater flexibility led to working more hours

  • 66% reported experiencing burnout

  • 38%saidthey've considered looking for a different job or even leaving the workforce due to pandemic-related child-care challenges

  • 94% said more flexibility would benefit them

So, where's the disconnect? Because burnout is still clearly a thing even with flexible daycare options. Apparently, many caregivers (or parents, in this case) simply don't feel comfortable raising the issue of child care with their employers out of fear of being marked as a "problem employee" if they speak too much about their struggles.

The statistics get more interesting. While 82 percent of respondents said being at home more with their children during the past year has made employer-provided child-care benefits more important to them:

  • 23% said their employer has no child-care benefits at all

  • More than 1/4 of respondents said they or other working parents weren't involved at all in determining their company's benefit offerings

While employee-related child care benefits might alleviate some responsibility for working parents, daycare centers can offer flexible that works with the parent instead of having the parent work with it.

Read more about this survey and its findings in this article that talks about how "Your 'flexible' work policies might not be working for caregivers."

#4: Be Part of the Post-covid Child Care Solution

This is a big one — and not just for daycare center facilities. Doing your part to help families following the quarantine has more long-term effects than we might realize.

During the pandemic, many:

- Employees had access to two weeks of paid leave for child care woven into the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), a benefit that went away at the end of the public health emergency.

- Workplaces adopting a shortened workweek, like four 10-hour days, according to Julie Stich, vice president of content at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

Ultimately, “Everybody [was] doing the best they can,” said Katrina Smith, national practice leader at The Standard life insurance company, however, our "best" might well look different now.

While there are several options to help parents secure child care services that work for them, not all have proven helpful for everyone.

  • We've learned that asking an employer for child care assistance isn't always easy for many caregivers;

  • Seeking out a college student could be challenging because hours may change by semester;

  • Opting for a nanny share has the downside of one person loving the nanny while the other doesn't (or vice versa), making this arrangement difficult to make it successful as there are several moving parts that have to work together; and

  • Not everyone has the convenience of family members living close by to watch the kids.

With post-quarantine life taking shape, your flexible daycare center might be the primary option for many parents.

You might even be willing to lower rates if you have a confirmed customer on a set schedule. Remember that some families who are consistent users of such facilities say that they end up getting as good of a deal by setting up a monthly schedule based on work requirements!


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