Kinderlime innovates on Electronic Billing and Payments for Childcare and Afterschool

This was long coming. Kinderlime had been a fantastic tool for Sign In-Out and Parent Communication for our Schools. But there was a vacuum, it never felt like the platform was complete. Our Preschool and Daycares were using clunky solutions in Paper or in Old style PC solutions. This looked so outdated and and they were wasting valuable time and following a process that was error prone.

Kinderlime today released the Billing Feature for Afterschool and Childcare / Daycares. This we believe will liberate our childcare customers from the agony of collecting tuition, extended care and activity based payments. A daycare can easily create invoices, email statements, record payments and print out the family billing history in our easy to use Family Billing Feature. This new Feature is FREE for Daycares as long as they are paying customers of our Sign In-Out product.

What follows is even more exciting. Now you can collect Bank to Bank Payments or Credit card payments from Payments. Parents can click on the invoice you send them and add their payment information. Thereafter you’ll be able to Do Batch Billing and Payments for all parents who have entered their payment information. After collecting the payments, the Daycare will be able to send the parents the monthly statement.

For Afterschool, a time based charge can be created and then billed to parents. There is a lot that we have addressed in this latest release, so Sign Up on Kinderlime and experience the revolution.

Daycare Billing

Childcare Student Withdrawals: What’s Fair?

Sooner or later, ALL of your preschool students are going to grow up and move on to “big school” so at some point they’re going to withdraw from your school or daycare. Here are a few questions for you to consider:

Do you have a policy in place that clearly lays out the process?

How much notice are you requiring from your families?Students playing in classrooms
2 Weeks?
30 Days?
1 Calendar Month?

You may even ask, “what’s the big deal?” The big deal is, you need time to find a new student to fill this soon to be empty space. It is important to think about the operational expenses of your childcare and being able to cover them consistently. You’ve worked hard to find quality staff and you don’t want to have to lay them off because you suddenly have less income. They won’t be able to wait around for you to recall them to work. They have bills to pay and lives to live. It is stressful to not know if you’re going to be getting a paycheck consistently. That stress transfers into your classrooms! The students will know something isn’t right. A clear policy will help control these things.

If you charge tuition weekly, then you need to know how long it takes to replace the departing student. Is two weeks sufficient? Should you require more? If you charge tuition on a monthly basis, is a month enough notice? That brings up the question, “what’s the difference between 1 month and 1 calendar month?”

One month translates to a 30 day notice. They can file notice at any point during the month and have their last day to attend be 30 days later. This leaves you with a partial month unpaid.

One calendar month means that they can file at anytime during the month prior to leaving but they’re here to through the end of the month. For example, if they wish to have May 31st be their last day to attend, they need to file their notice no later than April 30th.

Whichever option you choose, you need to allow enough time to find a replacement student AND they need time to complete your registration packet/process before their start date.

Your questions and comments are always welcome.

 

Supporting your Daycare Staff

You’re hard at work on a project, quickly approaching your deadline when a teacher emails you something that they really need to send out to parents but when you read it, you quickly notice several errors that need to be corrected and time is not on your side. What do you do? Do you send it out as is or do you take the time to correct the errors? shutterstock_153435986

It seems more and more that people will choose to send it out as is. This is a rather large mistake in my opinion. This simple email isn’t just a simple email. It is a representation of your preschool! I personally consider it an embarrassment to my preschool when I see output that does not meet the high standard that I expect in my work. Do you want your families to see inferior work and poor grammar? You’re teaching their children! They will not rise to a higher standard if you’re not providing the ever constant example of what that higher standard is.

Now, we all make mistakes at different times so please don’t think I’m expecting perfection, but we should all be striving to produce better and stronger communication with our families. If you’re a weak speller, take a moment to ask help from someone who is a strong speller. If you don’t know how to format a new document, look for someone who knows how to.

In my daycare office, I have inherited forms that have been handed down through three or four Office Admins and they contain quite a few formatting errors that I personally find very irritating to work with. I happen to be very good at formatting forms so that they look and work right. Rather than make a few changes to the existing forms, I have taken some serious time to correct all of these errors. It has taken a while but next year, I won’t have all of the irritating little issues constantly popping up and everything will update much faster. This will save me way more time in the long run but more important to me, my efforts now have produced work across the office that is seamless and professional. When a parent brings in an emailed form that they printed at home, it prints correctly and looks right! You might even say that, “they won’t even notice it”, but I guarantee you that they will certainly notice when it’s not right.

My advice to you is to change your expectations to a higher standard. Take the time to proofread AND correct the mistakes. You’ll soon begin to see and feel better about what you produce. You’ll be able to ask parents to conform to the higher standards. You’ll soon find yourself taking less time to fix the errors. Your students deserve the very best from you and your staff! Step up to a higher standard today in your preschool and daycare!

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Are you leading teachers to success or out the door?

Originally posted on Creative Learning Care:

There are so many lessons that I learned and continue to perfect during the course of owning and operating my childcare centers. What I have found is that having a wonderful staff is the key to successfully running a childcare center. There are so many important tasks and jobs that others have to fill and complete in order to keep the business running smoothly.

The teaching occupation suffers from chronic and relatively higher staff turnover compared to many other occupations.  That is true of management as well as the teaching staff. Total teacher turnover is fairly split between two components: attrition (those who leave teaching altogether); and migration (those who move to teaching jobs in other centers).

Unfortunately statistics show that half of administrators fail within 18 months of a new position. It also shows that half of all hourly teachers leave new jobs within the first 120 days.

It…

View original 395 more words

Late Fee’s: How Do You Handle Them?

How many times have you had the same parent running late picking up their child?  You’re either having to pay daycare staff overtime or stay late yourself.  Do you make a big deal of it, or do you let it go because you don’t want the hassle?  If you give in to the excuses, you’re just perpetuating the problem and telling them that it’s ok to not follow the rules.  On the other hand, if you remain strict about following policy, they might get mad about paying late fees and threaten to leave your school.  Call them on their bluff and stick to it!  They’re not going to withdraw from your school.  Creating policy only works when you enforce them.  When you do, you’ll break the cycle and be able to get home for your own family time.

So, if your childcare center closes at 6:00 pm and your closing staff has to wait around watching children rather than closing the school or daycare, you’re suddenly faced with paying unscheduled wages and forcing them to lose out on family time at home.  This is where late fees come into play.  If your preschool closes at 6:00 pm and your policy states that penalties begin at 6:01 pm at $2 per minute, then increases to $3 per minute at 6:16 pm, then you need to charge the late fee each and every time.  By being consistent with charging late fees, you’ll eventually break the cycle and the chronically late parent will comply, after all, who wants to pay late fees if you don’t have too?

The next question is, “how do you determine how many minutes to charge?  This is where the Kinderlime Sign In/Out App really helps.  You can easily pull up the students sign in/out record and show the parents what time they signed out their child.  It is hard to dispute the time when using Kinderlime.  I have found it to be an accurate and simple way to support enforcement of your policies.  I encourage you to try it out.

Dueling Roles: Daycare Office Registrar vs. Parent

I am the Registrar and Childcare Office Administrator for a larger preschool where my daughter also attends. I manage parent relationships, staff communication, daycare tuition collection and the goto person for accounting in our childcare software.  We have several staff who also have children attending the preschool.  Our paths cross in the classroom, out on the playground, and on occasion, in the office.  Yes, my daughter gets sent to the preschool office once in a while too!  This can quickly become a sticky situation.  Think about it, how often have you seen a staff members child (or your own) in your office because they’ve done something to merit a trip to speak with the Director?  How many of those times were they allowed to get away with breaking the rules because they are children of staff?  How do you handle such situations in your preschool?  Solutions are not easy.

I remember her first trip to the office very well.  I had no warning that she was coming!  She was brought in and told to sit “criss-cross applesauce” quietly until our childcare Director was convinced she was ready to talk about her offense.  She saw me and was all smiles, excited to see daddy!  How sad it made me feel when I had to tell her that I was “not daddy” during work. I needed to “let the system work” so that she could learn the appropriate lesson.   It is so very important that she learns to follow and obey the rules just like all of our other students, otherwise she will become one of “those children” who believe that the rules do not apply to them.  I had to tell her to listen and obey and let her “suffer the consequences” of her own actions.  In some ways that was difficult but as I listened to the conversation between her and our Director, I knew that my daughter was going to learn a great lesson on following rules.  It is extremely important to be sure that staff children don’t play by a different set of rules or they will grow up with a distinct disadvantage in life.

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Top childcare stories for 2014

If were too busy managing your childcare, we have picked the top three stories of 2014 for you. Enjoy!

1. Childcare costs more than college: The average cost of childcare is at least a quarter of the median income of single parents, according to a report Thursday from Child Care Aware, a group that provides resources to parents and caregivers.

2. Obama’s plan for Early Headstart and Preschool for all: Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, aimed to increase the availability of high-quality infant and toddler care, and the Preschool Development Grants, which are meant to expand preschool programs in disadvantaged communities

3. Should Children Be Held Back for Kindergarten?: Many parents are holding back their 5-year-olds from school for a year, but the benefits are doubtful