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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.

 

Child Care Forms & Other Items You Need for The First Day of School

The first day of a new year or term at your child care center is both exciting and hectic. As a child care provider, chances are that as this day approaches you are busy getting the supplies you need, organizing daily daycare schedules for each class and age group, and coming up with activities that will engage and develop your students.

Daycare Center

However, in addition to these child-focused preparations, there are a lot of logistical tasks that must be taken care of before the children arrive on their first day. When parents drop their children off on their first day at your child care center, they need to be assured that you and your staff are fully prepared to care for their child’s needs, and that they will be secure in your care.

As a result, they are required to fill out multiple child care forms for you and your staff to have on hand. In addition to child care forms, there are multiple personal items that parents should bring on the first day to ensure their child is healthy and comfortable while away from home.

The First Day of School: Child Care Forms & Other Items

Keeping track of all of the forms, information, and additional items that parents need to bring on the first day can be difficult. To make this easier, the Procare team has outlined a list of everything a daycare provider needs before the first day of the school year, including free child care forms and templates for child care providers to download and use.

child care management software

Child Care Registration Forms

This form should include personal and medical information for the child, as well their parent or guardian’s information. Child care providers should give parents plenty of time to fill this out, and arrange any doctor’s visits that might be necessary.

It’s important that the form includes information like the child’s birthday, medical information, and allergies. This ensures that arrangements can be made to accommodate each child’s health needs prior to the first day. For example, if a child has a peanut allergy, you might choose to make your care facility peanut free.

Following information on the student, this form should include the names and contact information, including home, mobile, and work numbers for primary and secondary guardians. Finally, this form will include the best person and number to contact in the event of an emergency, as well as any other people the guardian wants to authorize to pick up their child.

Attendance Tracking Forms

Daycare Bus Run Forms

Child care providers have to know where each student is while in their care. That’s why attendance tracking sheets are necessary to manage each child from the moment they are dropped off in the morning until they are picked up at the end of the night. To account for this, child care providers will need daily sign-in sheets, roll call sheets, and bus run sheets.

Daily sign-in sheets can be filled in each morning by parents as kids are dropped off at school, while roll-call sheets can help you keep track of attendance between activities, such as if your care center has outdoor time during the day.

If your child care program uses a bus or another transportation system to pick up and drop off at the beginning and end of each day, daily bus run sheets can help you and your staff ensure each child is on the correct bus, gets on and off safely, and meets their guardian.

Meal Tracking Sheets  

daycare meal tracking

Child care meal tracking sheets are especially important if your child care center relies on the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) which requires centers to track how many meals are claimed at your centers. Aside from CACFP, tracking the meals each child eats during the day is an important part of reporting to parents at pick up. Tracking what they ate during the day will inform what they are served that night, while helping to notice strange eating patterns that might be indicative of health issues.

As these forms and the information stored on them need to be easily accessible at all times, and often on the go, a child care management software can provide value through offering accessibility and automation.  

Other Items to Suggest for the First Day

daycare supplies

In addition to having all of the necessary registration paperwork completed, there are a few other items you might want to suggest parents bring on the first to ensure their child is comfortable:

Extra Clothes

It is a good idea to have parents bring one or two sets extra clothes, as well as a smock for painting. Kids can be messy especially during crafts, outdoor play, and at meals. Having clean clothes will ensure your child is comfortable. Additionally, it is a good idea to have parents bring seasonal supplies, such as hats, mittens, and scarves in the colder months, and sunscreen when its warmer.

Snacks

Depending on your child’s age, you may want to send them to their daycare center or after school program with a specific formula or snack. Make sure they also have their bottle or sippy cup.

Comfort Items

Finally, have parents bring one or two comfort items that will help their kids feel more at home in their new environment. This might be a favorite blanket, stuffed animal, or a picture of your family. 

Make sure everything you send in with your child is labelled with their name, as they can easily lose track of their possessions.

Final Thoughts

As the first day of your child care program approaches, it is important to make sure you have everything you need to ensure each child is comfortable and safe. Following this checklist will give you the material you need to stay in touch with parents, track child check-in, check-out, and attendance throughout the day, and help your student to feel more at home while in your care.

Looking for even more child care forms? Access all of our free and printable templates here.

Related Articles:

Interested in more tips on managing enrollment and back to school? Be sure to check out some of these related articles:

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.

3 Methods For Simplified Child Attendance Tracking

Pretty soon the school buses will be rolling again. Perhaps they already are in your area. That likely means your childcare business will be busy with school-age children in a variety of before and after school programs.

The thing is, when a large group of children arrive or depart at once, how do you efficiently track their time and attendance? The bus arrives, the children hop off and you need to get the entire bus load checked in, pronto! This can be especially challenging as kids have varied schedules, some arriving earlier and leaving later.  Have no fear, Procare is here with a number of easy-to-use child attendance tracking options.

child attendance tracking

Child Attendance Tracking Basics

The most basic way to record child arrival and departure times is with a simple bus run sheet. You can print them out and have the bus driver or other staff person mark who is being picked up or dropped off.

If you’re already using Procare Software, bus rosters are built right in. You’ll find them under the “Tracking” section in the Family Data module. This makes it easy to automatically print the names of the children assigned to each bus.

If you’re not yet using Procare, print some of our free bus run sheets that come blank, and you can fill in the names yourself.

Child Care Bus Roster

Childcare Time Cards

Another option is to check children in so hours are automatically recorded on each child’s time card. With time and attendance tracking software there are several options.

 

Before & After School Time Card

  1. A staff person (teacher or bus driver, etc.) can quickly check all children in or out at once. This can be done at a regular computer or through a check-in screen. See: Let Teachers Check Children In
  2. If you schedule children in advance, you can use the batch post time card tool to check kids in and out based on their scheduled times for the day. You can even schedule them for both before and after- school time slots.
  3. You can assign the teacher or bus driver as a pickup person for each child and use the Receptionist Check-In feature to look up the pickup person and quickly check in the appropriate children. See: 3 Time & Attendance Methods for Your Daycare.

Mobile Child Check-In App

Childcare providers who subscribe to the Procare Cloud have access to a host of Procare mobile web applications, allowing them to access child attendance tracking features from any device and location with an internet connection. This simplifies attendance tracking, allowing staff to check students in as they get on or off their assigned bus using a tablet. See: Mobile Apps for Childcare Management 

mobile-check-in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

Attendance tracking is necessary at any childcare center. It ensures that every child gets to and from the center or after school program safely. It also helps childcare staff to calculate accurate hourly billing rates, based on when each child arrived and departed. With Procare, there are several simple options to track child attendance, allowing staff to choose the option that best fits in with established processes.

Learn how Procare can help streamline child attendance tracking and other childcare tasks.

Related Articles

Want to learn more about keeping track of child and family data at your center? Check out these related articles.

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