Brightwheel Childcare Management Software Review » Hopping In! (2023)

Brightwheel Rating
  • Ease of use
  • Features



Overall, this childcare management software is a leader in its field for a reason. While it doesn't magically make every stress of the day disappear, it does streamline and centralize a lot of tasks. Although it can be a challenge to find time to input real-time updates while managing a busy classroom, Brightwheel is a favorite with parents because of its deep engagement and direct updates. Taken one by one, the multiple things to remember each day can be a hassle. With the help of Brightwheel you can increase parental engagement and classroom organization. In addition it can give you a clearer grasp on daily business and financial matters.

User Rating2.76(17 votes)

(Video) 5 Best Daycare Center Software Products

The Inside Scoop on Brightwheel

First off, let’s be honest: Brightwheel is a leader in childcare management software for a reason.

It dubs itself as “the most powerful and most affordable system in early education.” As I outlined here, Brightwheel has made some big steps forward in early childhood education with its comprehensive, easy-to-share features. So, does it live up to the hype?

Let’s take a look!

Basic Outline

Brightwheel is a subscription app that works for schools, childcare and summer camps. It functions fairly smoothly on all devices, including web and smartphone.

Brightwheel started as a kid-tracking app called KidCasa and evolved into a comprehensive childcare management software package. The app was designed by entrepreneur Dave Vasen to be an “all-in-one solution.” Vasen went on to score a sweet $600,000 deal on the show Shark Tank with billionaire Mark Cuban. Needless to say, this helped propel his app into the limelight.

(Video) brightwheel Pitch - Shark Tank

It has an easy-to-use interface divided into Rooms, Students, Parents, Staff, Learning, Billing, Reports. Each of these sections contains multiple useful and convenient features that keep your daycare center humming along at optimal happiness. From tracking attendance, scheduling, meals, immunizations, wait-list management, employee wages and daily highlights, Brightwheel is a superstar in its field.

Wearing Two Hats

As Vasen has observed, the unique challenge of being a daycare provider (or director) is wearing two hats. “They’re not just managing a classroom, but managing a business, too.” Too true!

It’s these kind of down-to-earth insights that show that Brightwheel was made because of experience, similarly to Hopping In which rose to the challenge of filling a daycare center completely (without the extra marketing work).

Brightwheel evolved out of a solid starting point: providing decent childcare management software with features that will enrich parental engagement and satisfaction. For detailed how-to resources, Brightwheel’s YouTube channel is a recommended stop.

Brightwheel Features:

  • Check in / check out
  • Photo gallery
  • Attendance tracking
  • Enrollment management
  • Parent portal
  • Faculty / staff management
  • Student information / records
  • Online registration
  • Feeding / meal records
  • Payment processing
  • Behavior management
  • Menu planning
  • Text messaging
  • Parent portal
  • Daily reports
  • Wait list management

Even more …

  • Classroom management
  • Facility management
  • Student portal
  • Parent / child records
  • Room ratios
  • Billing & invoicing
  • Parent auto pay
  • Messages, reminders and alerts
  • Improved learning tracking
  • Individual student reports
  • Staff only & approved posts
  • Food tracking (CACFP aligned)
  • Check-in kiosk
  • Multi-location manager
  • Incident reports

Details and pricing

Brightwheel is a subscription-app that offers a free, 30-day trial of Brightwheel Premium. If you don’t purchase Premium the account will revert to a free basic Brightwheel account after 30 days. Keep in mind that the free version is only usable for smaller capacity daycare centers. The free version also only allows you to manage one staff member.

It’s the premium version that can handle large daycare centers and multiple locations. Trying it out for the 30-day trial is the best way to see what it can offer your daycare center.

Pricing is determined based on capacity and number of locations. It ranges from around $40 to $200 per month. You’ll even receive a prompt e-mail soon after signing up offering assistance. The e-mail also specifies convenient features like the Free Roster Upload that let you fast-track the setup process.

(Video) Mark Cuban And Chris Sacca Fight Over A Deal With Brightwheel | Shark Tank US | Shark Tank Global

Brightwheel Childcare Management Software Review » Hopping In! (1)Big Advantage: parental involvement

Brightwheel’s number one selling point is the parental engagement.

Besides just having their kids taken care of, parents need to develop a healthy relationship with the daycare owner. When it comes to this business, the personal touch matters. That’s why features like the ones Brightwheel offers go a long way. For example, if you use Hopping In and offer parents refunds for absences while allowing other parents to pick up the dropped spots, that can really show how invested you are in their satisfaction.

In terms of childcare management software it offers some of the best on the market. Teachers can also use Brightwheel to make notes on in-class activities, meal tracking, highlights and behavior and share this with parents. They can also snap photos during the day which go straight to the parent who is tagged.

How to get parents signed up? On the Brightwheel homepage you just click on the “Parents” tab at the top of the page. You are then given easy instructions for how to invite parents into the app. Firstly, you just enter a parent’s name and e-mail on a student’s profile. They then receive an invitation and are able to create a Brightwheel account using their phone or computer. You can also print out an invitation for parents to participate in Brightwheel. Watch the app in action. Pretty cool, right?

Downsides: it’s gotta have some, right?

Well, not many.

On occasion Brightwheel’s timing system can be a bit inaccurate. There are also features under lesson plans that are not yet on the site and it’s unclear when they’ll be put there. Brightwheel also requires WiFi to function, which can be a hassle on field trips or other outings where you want to use it.

In addition, another potential hangup is the fact that staff can sign up a kid into a different class without checking with the administrator. They can also send reports, photos, etc., also without checking with the administrator.

Another issue with Brightwheel is the customer service. It’s done online by instant messaging and it takes a few hours to get a response. If a real issue came up that needed to be resolved ASAP, you would be out of luck. According to same user reports, Brightwheel can also occasionally freeze and have loading issues.

At our daycare we use Brightwheel and here’s how I’d describe the experience so far:

At my daycare, the director manages 15 teachers who all use Brightwheel. They’ve been using it since we opened about one year ago. The app is installed on in-daycare tablets, as well as on staff mobile phones.

Parents love Brightwheel because it provides them with updates on their child’s day, everything from fun activities to meals and diaper changes. Photos are private because parents can see just the specific photos and videos sent to them. At the same time, it can be a challenge for busy staff to always update Brightwheel in real-time.To be able to find that time to input those things while still taking care of the children is a tough task. Since the updates are live, parents come to expect updates throughout the day which does put a little pressure on staff to enter data immediately rather than doing it during a break.

(Video) Child Care Management Software Training

Brightwheel has also been hit and miss in terms of running speed. My teachers have quite a lot of problems with it being slow.

Nonetheless, Brightwheel has been working fairly well overall and is more popular with parents than the program we’ve used in the past. It’s also easy to add new kids into Brightwheel.

It’s very popular with parents because they love the level of engagement, and staff will need at least several hours of training to learn Brightwheel before their first shift but I’d say it’s worth it.

With Brightwheel’s vast array of features, issues are easy to forget. After all, Brightwheel gives daycare owners and caregivers more options than any software before.

Brightwheel Childcare Management Software Review » Hopping In! (2)

Author: Hopping In Blog

Sholom Strick is an expert on the business of running daycare centers and founder of Hopping In, a tool that helps childcare centers and family daycare providers fill unused spots.

To contact him or for media inquiries email

(Video) Kangarootime: The leading childcare management software.



How much does Brightwheel cost a daycare? ›

Brightwheel's pricing beings at $125 USD per month for 50 children. They offer a free trial and also have a free version. They have two pricing structures – standard and premium. While the standard version offers basic features, the premium version supports many enhanced features and functionalities.

What are the benefits of Brightwheel? ›

Brightwheel provides healthcare benefits, paid parental leave, flexible paid time off policy and 9 other employee benefits and perks.

What is the purpose of Brightwheel? ›

Brightwheel enables families to easily tailor their account settings, opting in/out to receive notifications for messages, photo/video updates, check-in/check-out, learning milestones, nap times, and more.

How secure is Brightwheel? ›

Highest financial data security and compliance levels (PCI Level 1) for invoicing and processing payments, so no confidential banking information is stored on brightwheel. Ongoing reliability with 99.9% uptime and fraud protection with 24x7 monitoring by a dedicated in-house team.

How much does daycare cost per week? ›

National average weekly child care rates
One childOne child
Child care center*$226$215
Family care center*$221$201
1 more row
Jun 15, 2022

Does brightwheel do payroll? ›

Under Staff reports, select Payroll or Timecards. Leave the Select Employee field blank to run the report for all staff members. Select the needed date range. Click Apply to generate the report.

Does brightwheel report to the IRS? ›

The IRS form 1099-K is issued for all programs that process more than $20K and 200 ONLINE transactions in the given tax year. This form reports the total gross volume of online payment transactions made through brightwheel. Brightwheel will mail a 1099-K for each program that meets these requirements by January 31st.

How do I create a brightwheel lesson plan? ›

Create Lesson Plans
  1. Select the Learning tab at the top of the screen, then select Lesson Plans.
  2. Select New Lesson Plan.
  3. Enter the name of that week's plan.
  4. Select the week you would like to schedule the lesson plan to, as well as the Room or Rooms the plan applies to.

What can parents see on brightwheel? ›

Depending on the school's settings and the activities they choose to log, parents and families can see check-in/out records, photos, videos, food & potty tracking, and learning milestones! To view the student's feed on the mobile app, simply tap on the student's name from the home screen.

Can parents send pictures on brightwheel? ›

Parent contacts can upload photos of activities, milestones, and more! Student contacts that have been added as a Parent contact may have the ability to add a photo of a student to the student's feed using the mobile app. This allows contacts to share photos of activities, projects, milestones, and more!

Who can see messages on brightwheel? ›

Send a Message on the App

Please note: Only Parents can see the messages in a student's profile. Family Contacts can send but not receive messages. Approved Pickups and Emergency Contacts have no access to messages.

Can parents see calendar on brightwheel? ›

Use the built-in calendar to schedule events. Parents can view this calendar anytime from their child's profile. There is no need to have a separate calendar to keep track of all the important events at your program because brightwheel has one built-in!

Does brightwheel work with Quickbooks? ›

With brightwheel billing, you can easily use our reports to transfer your billing data to Quickbooks Online so you can complete your accounting processes.

Can you delete a message on brightwheel? ›

Similar to text messages or emails, while brightwheel messages can be deleted by Admins, they can't be edited once they're sent.

How much money can you make owning a daycare center? ›

The earnings of a daycare proprietor are determined by the number of children they care for. If 36 children are enrolled at a daycare center, the proprietor can expect to make anywhere from $60,000 to $100,000 annually in take home salary.

Why are childcare costs so high? ›

It's labour-intensive, and that makes it expensive. Then add rent, energy, etc. And other countries don't have those ratios? They do, but the ratios for younger children – one- and two-year-olds – aren't as tight.

Is child care tax deductible? ›

If you paid a daycare center, babysitter, summer camp, or other care provider to care for a qualifying child under age 13 or a disabled dependent of any age, you may qualify for a tax credit of up to 35 percent of qualifying expenses of $3,000 ($1,050) for one child or dependent, or up to $6,000 ($2,100) for two or ...

What is the easiest payroll program? ›

QuickBooks earns our nod for the easiest setup because its user interface is so intuitive for anyone familiar with QuickBooks. In addition to customer service, there are ample resources online to get anyone on board with their payroll services.

Can I check my hours on brightwheel? ›

Log in on the web. Navigate to the Reporting section. Click on the Timecards option under Staff Reports.

Is brightwheel a good company to work for? ›

Highly recommend working at brightwheel not only if you are a first timer in to SaaS/Ed Tech, but also if your a seasoned vet looking to play part in never ending growth. Fully remote environment makes it challenging to feel connected to your peers every day.

How does the IRS verify child care? ›

In-home child care provider taxes must include careful documentation in case of an audit. The IRS goes about verifying a provider's income by evaluating contracts, sign-in sheets, child attendance records, bank deposit records and other income statements.

Does the IRS ask for proof of childcare? ›

You need to be able to verify childcare expenses in case of an audit. If you don't have proof that you paid these expenses, you can't claim the credit. You don't have to bring the receipts to your tax pro or mail them with your return. Just keep them with your personal records for at least three years.

Does IRS audit child care expenses? ›

It will ask to see copies of the provider's records of income and expenses. If the day-care provider uses contracts, he must provide a copy of the contracts to the auditor.

Can I be a parent and a teacher on brightwheel? ›

It is quite common across providers using brightwheel for parents or other student contacts to also operate as a teacher or staff member. In order to facilitate this, the user will be required to set up TWO brightwheel accounts. Each account offers a different level of access for a teacher compared to student contacts.

What software do teachers use to see your screen? ›

Vision for Chromebooks classroom management software provides visibility into all student activities, allowing teachers to see what their students see. Teachers can also share their screen, lock student screens and keyboards, and block websites - all with the click of a button.

How do you do attendance on brightwheel? ›

Group Attendance
  1. Tap Attendance from the specified room screen. ...
  2. Select the student(s) you wish to check-in.
  3. Tap the Check In button at the bottom of the page.
  4. Tap Close in the top left-hand corner to exit Attendance Mode and return to your specified room screen.

What are the five 5 steps in a lesson plan? ›

5 Step Method for Creating a Lesson Plan
  • Step 1: Establish the Learning Outcomes. ...
  • Step 2: Include Any Relevant Resource Materials for the Lesson. ...
  • Step 3: Cite Lesson Plan Procedures. ...
  • Step 4: Create Instructional Activities or Independent Practice. ...
  • Step 5: Reflect and Plan Lesson Closure.
Apr 21, 2022

What are the 3 types of daily lesson plan? ›

What are the 3 types of lesson plan?
  • Detailed lesson plan. A detailed plan covers everything and gets teachers fully prepared for the lesson ahead. ...
  • Semi detailed lesson plan. ...
  • Understanding by design (UbD) ...
  • Objectives. ...
  • Procedure. ...
  • Evaluation. ...
  • Stage 1: Desired Results. ...
  • Stage 2: Assessment Evidence.

What daycare teachers wish parents knew? ›

Here are eight things we wish you knew.
  • We aren't babysitters. ...
  • Our job requires many roles. ...
  • We don't put your child in time out to be mean. ...
  • We want to talk to you. ...
  • We want to work with you to solve your child's issues. ...
  • We need your involvement. ...
  • We are tired at the end of the day too. ...
  • We love your children.
Jan 16, 2020

What is the difference between parent and Family on brightwheel? ›

Parents can send and see messages, Family can only send messages, and Approved Pickups/Emergency Contacts cannot see or send messages at all.

What can Parental Controls see? ›

Parental controls are features or software that allow you to monitor and restrict what a person does online. There are a wide variety of programs that do such things as block and filter websites and content, record their activities, limit their time online, and view their browsing history and communications.

Can I sue my parents for posting pictures of me? ›

An ordinary photo, or photos that may be embarrassing for kids but common for parents to take-- such as nude baby photos-- likely won't get very far in a court. "It would be a hard case in the U.S." Chander said. "There'd be no special privacy invasion claims a child would have against a parent."

Can parents post pictures without consent? ›

Technically they aren't breaking the law when posting photos of you or your kid without consent, but you have every right to ask them to take it down. If this is a random account on Instagram that you don't know that's a good battle to pick.

Can parents post pictures of their kids without permission? ›

Basically, with a few exceptions, it is actually perfectly legal for strangers to photograph or videotape your child, and they are free to post or publish the images as well. Contrary to what many parents believe, they do not need to give their consent or sign a release.

Can I read my daughter's text messages? ›

View Text Message With Google Family Link. Google family link can allow you to see your kid's text messages, SMS text, and social media texts and block some activities. Step 1. Download the Google family link (parent) on your device.

Can someone read my texts without me knowing? ›

Yes, it's definitely possible for someone to spy on your text messages and it's certainly something you should be aware of – this is a potential way for a hacker to gain a lot of private information about you – including accessing PIN codes sent by websites used to verify your identity (such as online banking).

Can a parent monitor text messages? ›

The iCloud option helps you to monitor your Child's text messages on instant messaging applications such as iMessages. The text message monitoring option offers parents an easy way to know if their kids are using their phones safely or if they are engaging in activities that are not favorable to you.

Can you delete a child from brightwheel? ›

With this in mind, deleting or erasing a student profile is not an option. Instead, administrators can use student enrollment statuses to organize and filter out archived students.

Can admins see private calendars? ›

Why is this happening? Only administrators, who have either the Super Admin role or the Google Meet hardware privilege, have full access to all calendars in a domain and can see all event details. This occurs regardless of whether individual users have shared calendars with them.

Can other people in my organization see my calendar? ›

To prevent other users from seeing event details, you can set individual events as private. To do this, select Private in the Visibility section when you create an event. To manually select who can see your calendar, you can override the default sharing settings set by your administrator.

How much does brightwheel cost per month? ›

Pricing Overview

Brightwheel's pricing beings at $125 USD per month for 50 children. They offer a free trial and also have a free version.

How does brightwheel billing work? ›

Families can connect and pay tuition online directly from their brightwheel app using bank account transfers (also known as ACH), credit cards, or debit cards. It is entirely up to your program to decide what payment methods to accept. Most programs on brightwheel today receive payments via bank transfers.

Is there a way to delete text conversations? ›

Touch and hold each conversation that you want to archive or delete.
  1. Archive: To put the selected conversations into your archives, tap Archive. . ...
  2. Mark all as read: Tap More. Mark all as read.
  3. Delete: To delete the selected conversations from Messages, tap Delete. .

How do I clean up messages? ›

Here's what to do if you're using an Android. Go to your Messages app and press down on a message or conversation until you see a checkmark and the word Delete.

Can you delete text records? ›

Deleting Texts From Your Android Phone

You can delete individual texts or conversations within your messaging app. For individual texts, hover over the text you want to delete within the conversation and select the trash can icon in the top right corner to delete.

What are payments to brightwheel? ›

What online payment methods does brightwheel support? Families can connect and pay tuition online directly from their brightwheel app using bank account transfers (also known as ACH), credit cards, or debit cards. It is entirely up to your program to decide what payment methods to accept.

How much does daycare cost? ›

The cost of child care in various settings
Number of childrenAverage cost – child care centerAverage cost – nanny/sitter
Jul 7, 2022

What's a good app to take payments for daycare? ›

Daycare Software with ACH Payment Processing
  • Famly. 4.7. (200) Famly: Forget ordinary child care software. ...
  • HiMama. Highly viewed. 4.6. (3.5K) ...
  • Procare Solutions. 4.6. (1.5K) ...
  • Kangarootime. 4.4. (79) ...
  • Marketing 360. Highly viewed. 4.6. ...
  • Tuition Express. 4.9. (163) ...
  • Regpack. 4.4. (335) ...
  • Sandbox ChildCare Management. 4.9. (103)

What is the cheapest form of child care? ›

The cheapest option for child care is to rely on family. Most parents rely on some degree of family care during the year, but fewer rely solely on family members for regular child care.

How do parents pay on brightwheel? ›

All parent contacts and additional payers added (Family or Approved Pickups) can set up their payment methods directly in their brightwheel account on the web or on the app.

What is the best age to start daycare? ›

Many experts feel that 12 months old is an optimal time to transition an infant to daycare. It's commonly held that separation anxiety peaks at 9 months by many childhood care experts.

How do you make money running a daycare? ›

How to make your daycare center more profitable?
  1. Increase enrollment. Your childcare center's revenue depends on your enrollment. ...
  2. Streamline your processes. ...
  3. Offer add-on services and products. ...
  4. Invest in your staff. ...
  5. Use facility for other services. ...
  6. Accept assistance programs.
Jun 8, 2020

How can I save money paying for daycare? ›

13 Ways to Save Money on Childcare
  1. Work from home one day a week or opt for a partial childcare schedule. ...
  2. Consider being a stay-at-home parent. ...
  3. Let family pitch in. ...
  4. Space your kids a few years apart so you only pay for childcare for one kid at a time. ...
  5. Find seasonal day care options or scholarships.
Feb 9, 2023

Where is child care Most Expensive? ›

In the most expensive state, Massachusetts, full-time care costs $16,781 a year on average – just over half the income of a typical single parent. The other least affordable states for one-parent households are Michigan, New York, Vermont and Washington, all places where child care costs more than 40% of median income.

What age group is child care Most Expensive for? ›

On average, child care for an infant costs 61 percent more than for a preschooler, yet child care subsidy rates are only 27 percent higher for infants than preschoolers.

How do parents afford childcare? ›

Many working parents take advantage of tax-free childcare, a scheme available to help with childcare costs. This scheme can help paying for childcare costs for: Nurseries, childminders, and nannies. Breakfast clubs, after school clubs and play schemes.


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