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How to Optimize Your Daycare Schedule for Staff, Parents & Children

Daycare centers are nothing without the caring staff that run them. A committed staff of instructors ensures your child care business can thrive, as staffing is of critical importance to daycare owners, parents, and children.

As a business owner, you need these qualified professionals to provide high quality care to the students that attend your center every day, as well as to ensure your center is meeting state licensing requirements for student-teacher ratios.

Staffing is also critical to enrollment, as parents will be assessing the level of care their child can receive, ensuring that staff is qualified and available to provide their child individual attention. Also, children build a trust and relationship with the caregivers they interact with each day, meaning a level of consistency is important.

How to Optimize Your Daycare Schedule

There are a variety of reasons why keeping an organized, informed daycare schedule is integral to the long-term success of a childcare center. As daycare centers plan out staffing schedules to ensure consistent care and sustainable hours for staff, while maintaining a reasonable budget, here are essential tips to consider:

Track Daily Attendance

To ensure your daycare is not spending money unnecessarily, it is important that only the required number of staff is scheduled each day to meet student-teacher ratio requirements. This means that staff will need to have some flexibility, as there may not always be the same number of children in attendance each day.

For the most part, your center will be able to establish its peak hours and schedule staff accordingly. To do this, centers need to keep accurate attendance logs. Each day at check in and check out, have parents record the exact time their child arrived and left. From there, you will be able to determine when you will need to schedule more staff. Make sure to do this for each enrollment cycle, as peak and off hours may shift.

Once these hours are established, try maintain consistency with the day’s and hours you assign to each caregiver. This will help them plan their week, and will ensure they are available when needed. It is also a good idea to have a staff member on standby, in case there is unexpectedly and greater number of students.

Track Employee Hours & Off Time

Of course, there will be time when your staff needs to take time off or is sick. It is important to try to track planned vacations and other employee off time so that schedules can be altered in advance. This will save you from scrambling to find a substitute at the last minute.

Keeping employee records for hours and off time will also help you to accurately calculate payroll.

Centralize Communication

If hours change, someone calls in sick, or more children are dropped off than usual, your center should have a central hub for communication so that all staff remain updated and on the same page. When leaving coverage up to individual staff members, centers risk being understaffed or having too many employees arrive for the shift, which is inconvenient for them and you. Having a central email or central document can ensure this does not happen.

Be Consistent

In addition to providing a more manageable week for your staff, it is important that there is a level of consistency in your scheduling for the children at your center. It is important for children to develop a relationship and comfort with their caregiver. Therefore, centers should try to ensure that the same instructors are paired with the same children each day when able.

Final Thoughts

Having a consistent organized daycare staff schedule is integral to running your business as well as to the happiness of your staff, parents, and children. Following these tips will ensure your center is always properly staffed, meets ratio requirements, and remains within budget.

Learn how Procare can how you track staffing and daycare schedules.  

Related Articles

 Interested in learning more about managing daycare schedules? Check out these related articles.

 

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Daycare Schedules for Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

Creating and adhering to a consistent daycare schedule is essential to running a successful child care center. This is important for both staff and children for four key reasons. First, these schedules ensure the necessary staff is available to provide group supervision and individualized care. They also establish daily routines for young children, and help to build trust between each child and their caregiver. Finally, consistent daycare schedules make it easier to clearly monitor and encourage child development.

The Importance of a Consistent Daycare Schedule

Daycare Schedule

From a staffing perspective, having a consistent daycare schedule in place ensures that each team member understands what resources will be required for the day. It’s essential to know which activities are planned for each age group, how much supervision is required, and if any children require individualized care. This will ensure there are enough staff members to meet required child-to-staff ratios, and provide quality care.

Aside from simplifying operations from an administrative perspective, following a daycare schedule is necessary to establish order in children’s lives. Parents and caregivers should establish this regularity as early on as possible. These routines remove unknowns from children’s daily lives that cause undue stress. A reliable daycare schedule helps to regulate behavior, as children know what to expect at each part of the day. This understanding and consistency makes kids more confident and bold in pursuing their interests. Schedules also help children build an understanding of patterns.

Furthermore, being provided for regularly will build an essential trust between the child and their caregiver. Following routines ensures that children know their caregiver will be there to address any needs that arise. This knowledge fosters stability and builds the comfort level the child feels toward their environment.

Finally, a regular daycare schedule makes it easier to encourage and monitor each child’s development in critical areas, namely: emotional, social, language, cognitive, physical, and motor skill development. A defined schedule helps instructors incorporate activities and exercises to foster this early development. Instructors can then coordinate with student’s parents for the best course of action based upon their developmental progress.

With these benefits in mind, we’ve built out some examples of daily daycare schedules for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, to help daycare owners build quality programs.

Infant Daily Schedule 
Infant Daycare

Infants are typically categorized as newborns to one year old. A little more flexibility is needed within infant daycare scheduling, as it will largely be based around their biological schedule of when they need to eat and sleep.Infant Daily Daycare Schedule

Toddler Daily Schedule

Toddlers Daycare

Toddlers typically range from ages one to three years old. As toddlers may be new to daycare environments, it is a good idea to encourage parents to incorporate some of this routine into their kid’s daily lives at home as well. This will establish normalcy and make sure their kids do not feel overwhelmed by the change in routine.

Toddler Daily Daycare Schedule
Preschooler Daily Schedule

Preschooler Daycare

Preschool aged children typically range from three to five years old. As you get to know your preschoolers’ interests and personalities better, it is a good idea to plan some activities or projects that encourage and stimulate kid’s individual interests.

Preschooler Daily Schedule
Simplifying Daycare Schedules

When it comes to running a daycare center, consistency is key. Having an established schedule that addresses major developmental goals, even if the specific activities vary day-to-day, allows for the highest quality care. Also, having a consistent routine allows instructors to monitor each child’s progress, and coordinate with parents on daily care plans. 

Procare’s Family Data solution assists daycare providers on a daily basis, acting as a central hub for important student information, and student and teacher scheduling. Within Family Data, instructors can monitor each students schedule, ensure proper student-to teacher ratios, and account for any individualized attention a student requires within their day.

Additionally, by incorporating KidReports classroom management and parent engagement, parents and caregivers can communicate with each other directly every day to give daily reports on daycare activities and schedules, as well as to share pictures, and more.

Final Thoughts

Having a daily routine can foster comfort, trust, and confidence in young children, while developing their core physical and cognitive skills. By building out daily, age appropriate schedules, daycare providers not only simplify their administrative and staffing tasks, they also ensure happy, healthy children, and engaged parents.

Looking for more information on how to simplify your daily daycare schedules? See how Procare can help.

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Summer is here—there’s no better time!

How much time will you save in your child care center?

lemonadeProcare Software® helps child care professionals across the country save 40+ hours per month of administrative duties they were doing manually. With quicker access to information, point-and-click reporting and built-in processing, Procare helps you easily manage your center and analyze important staff and child information in seconds—giving you the time to develop your business and focus on the children.  

Features include:

  • Succinct tracking of enrollment and schedules
  • Immunization updates
  • Quickly post child tuition fees
  • Automatically collect tuition payments
  • Print/email statements and balance notifications
  • Communicate with parents and employees via messages at check-in, email or text blasts
  • Maintain logs for incident reports and milestones
  • Deposit reports and end-of-year tax statements
  • Roll call and sign in/out sheets, birthday reports, waiting lists, classroom ratios
  • Automated check-in for parents and employees
  • Accurate time card records and calculations
  • Let parents pay at check-in or online
  • And so much more!

The new school year is coming!

With the new school year coming up soon, now is the best opportunity to get going with your new system.. Financing is available to work easily within your budget. Please contact Procare at 800-338-3884 or visit us online.

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Managing Child Schedules at Your Preschool

Girl Blowing BubblesSome things are spontaneous and carefree, like a child blowing bubbles and watching them drift along with the breeze; they have no particular destination and no specific time table.

But as the owner or director of a child care business, you know each day needs structure. You plan for circle time, activity centers, story time, snacks and outdoor play. After a while, your daily schedule is something the kids know by heart.

While the daily routine is important, each child has their own schedule too. Some may come full time, others part time, some on Mon-Wed-Fri and others on Tue-Thurs. You may have before schoolers, after schoolers and all different kinds of schedule combinations. And that’s before you take into account school-out and teacher in-service days, not to mention child vacations and absences for doctor appointments, etc.

Keeping track of it all on a giant spreadsheet is confusing at best. When it comes to child schedules, you need a more robust solution. Continue reading

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Child Care Mythbuster #1: Let Parents Change Data?

Myth versus RealityHere’s a popular myth we’d like to debunk:

“As a child care business owner or director, I want parents to log into my Child Care Database and be able to change and update information for their children and themselves.”

On the surface this may seem like a good idea. You might be thinking it would be less work for your child care staff if you just let parents keep everything up to date.

However, when you take a closer look at how this might work and what it would mean, the idea turns out to be more myth than reality. Continue reading

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