A British father of two has launched an app to help childminders and busy parents manage childcare more efficiently, after struggling to organise it for his own children.
Swindon-born Paul Harding, 42, who lives with his wife Samantha and their two children in Lechlade, launched Kids Covered after becoming frustrated with the amount of paperwork required to book his children into childcare.
“I watched my wife filling out PDF forms just to book childcare and became aware of the amount of paperwork childminders have to fill in just to function in their day to day lives – as well as parents,” he said. “It felt to me that there had to be a better, more efficient, yet safe solution.”
The software consultant and coding expert researched and tested the app for 18 months before launching on 1 January. The app serves many purposes, he said.
“It’s a one-stop shop for childminding businesses. Each childminder creates a secure profile and invites parents of the children they are caring for a link to it – for safeguarding reasons this is the best way to approach this. Once linked, parents can book their time with their own registered childminder, and flowing from that parents can see live updates on their phones.”
Parents, once they’ve downloaded Child Covered, can view a childminder’s history before deciding to book their children into childcare with them, then pay via debit card or voucher. They also have the option to provide safeguarding and dietary requirements, as well as their child’s likes and dislikes, which can be amended or updated whenever necessary.
The app also allows childminders to apply sibling discounts to bookings, keep registers of attendance and provide information on early years foundation stages – the standards for the learning, development, and care of children under five-years-old.
Harding’s app generates income by taking £1.20 from each booking made. There are no monthly fees.
“While there is a fee for making bookings within the app, the amount of time saved by childminders and parents will be phenomenal and will allow childminders and parents to access smarter technology when it comes to booking childcare and monitoring their children,” he said.