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The Childcare Management Blog

Tips for Communicating With Parents at Your Summer Camp

Posted by EZChildTrack Team on Aug 10, 2022 11:00:00 AM

communicating parents summer camp

The days of parents dropping their kids off at summer camp and not expecting to hear from them again are gone, if they ever existed. There are always parents that can't seem to let go. Others would be happy to know more about their child's daily life while at camp as well as access other documents anytime they like. 

Keeping parents in the loop while their kids are at camp is essential to the 21st-century summer camp experience. The easiest way to keep the lines of communication open and provide access to parents is utilizing a parent portal as part of your summer camp childcare management software solution.

Here are some tips for using your parent portal to communicate with parents at your summer camp.

Parent Communication to Camp: Registration

Most parent communication to the camp occurs during registration. The rest is typically outgoing from the camp to the parents.

Summer camp management software provides a convenient online environment to register campers without a blizzard of paperwork. You can offer every possible form to schedule a camper, gather the required information, and accept payment.

Online registration also provides essential data that can help you run daily operations and make business decisions, including: 

  • Demographics 
  • Emergency contacts 
  • Health issues
  • Special accommodations

With management software, parents log into your portal and fill in all the documentation you require, attach documents, and ask questions.

Your registration forms should as for essential information about the camper, including age, gender, school grade, and other data you can use for marketing, food ordering, and record keeping. Emergency contact information can be aggregated into a contact list that you can quickly access when you need to contact all parents immediately. 

Ready for summer camp management software but don't know where to start? Download our free guide »

Camp Communication to Parents

With the parent portal, you can offer parents so much more than a brief, handwritten, end-of-day report. A parent portal provides space for information, images, and videos.

Who Contacts the Parents? 

First, identify the key individuals that will be communicating with parents and set them up with the appropriate access and security levels. The parent portal provides space to put campsite pictures, schedules, staff information, food service details, and medical care oversight.

What might a parent need or want to know? With the right mix of imagery and letters to parents, everyone relaxes while the kids are away. Also, you may be able to reduce the amount of phone calls from worried parents.

Manage Expectations

Open communication also helps you manage expectations. Be upfront with how and when parents can communicate with campers and whether the campers can communicate back. Let everyone know the type of content you allow on the system and how you keep data secure. 

The parent portal is an excellent place to put policies, including technology policies. Do you allow cell phones, or are campers expected to be unplugged? Within your technology policy, list anything you will and will not allow kids to bring to camp. How will you control access if the kids are allowed a cell phone or other technology? Will they be limited to using it during certain parts of the day, or will you store their devices unless they are needed?

Provide cell-phone-free ways to communicate with parents, too. Everyone will be happy if campers and parents are assured they aren't entirely cut off.

Outline Communication Procedures

Outline parental notification procedures, including when you intend to contact them. Will you send them a daily note of activities, a progress report, or other communications? Or should they expect a weekly letter from their campers? 

List every contingency where you may need to notify a parent so you can meet that need. Also, plan for those times when a parent must contact you and their child, such as during a family emergency. 

It's crucial to let parents know before camp starts how you plan to react to large-scale emergencies such as weather-related disasters, fires, or contagious illnesses. If you have alternate pickup areas, clearly communicate in the parent portal, including a map if possible. In emergencies, you want parents to know you have everything under control.

Learn how summer camp management software can help make your program more  effective.  Schedule a demo free today. »

When to Communicate

Communication occurs throughout the summer camp process. Every camp is different, so talk with your staff to determine what communication guidelines will fit your program best. 

Afterward, you might post a parent evaluation or survey to determine ways to improve your offering and what you did that was most enjoyable. Do you need to make changes before the next camp or next season? When you ask for the information, let parents know how you will use it and how you will facilitate any discussions.

Leverage Technology

Using childcare management software with a parent portal application simplifies and streamlines your ability to gather crucial data, accept payment, and keep the lines of communication between you and the parents open.

Children still have plenty of time to enjoy camp activities without a cell phone attached to their hands at all times. At the same time, parents can rest easy, knowing they can learn whatever they need from their parent portal. If you're ready to take your childcare business to the next level, EZChildTrack is waiting for you. 

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Topics: Camp Management

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