Holiday Tips for Childcare and Afterschool staff

Holidays are a busy  but fun time of the year. With so much going on, it can be stressful. Here are some tips that’ll get you thinking about things you can do in your daycare and afterschool programs.

Holiday Tips for Childcare

 

1. Plan Holiday Gifts for your Daycare Staff. No better way to appreciate your staff than to give them a gift to let them know that you care. You can even engage your families in this gifting. Here are some suggestions – (a) A $10 giftcard to Starbucks, or Dunkin Donuts or a Target Gift Card (b) Giving them a surprise paid time off. As your attendance starts to reduce because of the holidays, there are opportunities for you to give your staff surprise time off during the afternoons.

2. Encourage parents to give, it’s a time to Thank the care providers. Parents sometimes are very innovative in thanking the teachers. So, give them that freedom to thank your staff in their special way ((Don’t forget to remind them that there are office staff that need their love as well).

4. Have a Holiday Party. Have your staff and their significant others join you for an evening dinner. To make it inexpensive you could do it in the daycare center by having the food catered.

5. Holiday Activities for Kids. Parents love to see what their kids have done during the holidays. Here are some craft activities for children.

6. Staff planning around Christmas. This is a time when you have to plan your staff because attendance will be significantly lower. You can have your parents signup for the holidays specifically so that you can plan better. Have them tell you which days they plan to have their kids in your care.

7. Thank your parents. Give your parents a gift of time by giving them an opportunity to have a parent night.Throw a pajama party for the older kids party in their pajamas . Also, there is crafting, face painting, pizza and games.

8. Winter programs. Parents look forward to these. It’s a reflection of how your students grew during the last few months. These are great memories for you and your parents. Encourage your teachers and reward the classrooms who work hard towards these winter programs

9. Start your next year planning. Time goes by quickly. So, (a) start planning for next year staffing, (b) growth of your program, (c) marketing plan and the next school year enrollment.

 

Daycare app for Childcare management

Childcare management software has traditionally been very difficult to set up and learn. It was installed using CDs or even floppy disks, with training material in fat user manuals. This is what most users experience when using a legacy childcare software like Procare and EZCare.

Procare and EZCare software

Director using Childcare software of the 1990’s

This has changed with daycare apps like Kinderlime for

(1) Sign In-Out and Staff Time Clock

(2) Parent communication, Photos and Daily sheets

(3) Billing and Reporting

Thousands of Family Daycares, Preschools and Childcare centers have been using Kinderlime to make their business more efficient and their parents happier. With the Kinderlime option, daycare businesses are moving to a simple and yet full featured childcare software . Within an hour of signing up for Kinderlime, former Procare users like Joy Learning center and Neighborhood Christian center were sending invoices to parents.

The Kinderlime Parent app has been transformative for daycares and it’s families. Parents pay their tuition through the app, view photo and daily sheet notifications, and send messages to the daycare staff. So, check out what Kinderlime offers.

 

The Importance of Accurate Record-Keeping

importance of accurate record-keeping

Being a child care provider comes with a lot of responsibility. Ensuring that children are safe, healthy, getting an education, and learning social and motor skills is no easy task. Unfortunately, caring for other people’s children also comes with a lot of risk. No matter how well you run your child care business, lawsuits and licensing investigations can and do happen. It is also not uncommon for child care providers to get stuck in the middle of custody battles and child abuse cases. Learn how keeping accurate records and documenting everything can protect you if these unfortunate situations ever arise.

Signing Children In and Out

Having parents sign their children in and out is required by licensing, but you may not realize just how crucial this actually is. Making sure that parents accurately sign their children in and out can protect you in a number of situations.

  • Licensing Investigations – If licensing asks to look at your files, they will note whether you have been keeping track of attendance. If you have signed children in or out yourself, or if records are inaccurate, licensing may cite you.
  • Custody battles – Sadly, many providers get dragged into the middle of custody battles between parents. Often one parent will claim that they were denied their rightful time with their child, and you may be called upon to show when the child was in your care, who signed them in, who signed them out, etc. These records must be accurate in order to avoid any blame being placed on you.
  • Subsidized care – Many providers work with referral agencies that send them subsidized children. If a parent reports to the agency that their child was not in your care on the days that you claimed, you will be asked to provide proof that your information is correct. We have seen cases where parents did not sign their children in or out properly, and the providers adjusted the time sheets for them. When it came time to show those records to their agencies, they were accused of fraud and were not paid for the time that they provided care!

Daily Logs

Keeping a record of children’s behavior throughout each day, their activities while in your care, and parents’ feedback can be extremely useful to you in many ways. In addition, you should always note anything unusual when a child is picked up or dropped off.

  • Parent Satisfaction – You should always make note of conversations in which parents tell you they are happy with your care. If you ever have a legal dispute with that parent later, it will be harder for them to uphold their claim if you have proof that they have never complained in the past. You may consider having parents fill out monthly satisfaction reports that let you know how satisfied they are with your services.
  • Behavior – Keep notes about each child’s behavior every day. If you notice changes in a child’s behavior, notate it and discuss it with the parents. If a child has consistent behavior problems, be sure you are keeping track of it and recording the discussions you have with the parents. This can help you in a number of situations. If a parent accuses you of anything, if licensing comes to investigate, or if you get called to testify in an abuse case, it is vital that you have records of each child’s behavior for every day that they were in your care. Also, although we never want to see this happen, tracking behavior changes can help you in noticing signs of abuse at home. As a mandated reporter, these are signs that you need to be looking out for.

Incident Reports

When writing an incident report for an accident or an unusual incident, be sure you include very detailed information, such as dates, times, who witnessed the event, and exactly what happened. You need to write incident reports to give to the following people or agencies:

  • Parents – Whenever a child is injured in your care, even if you think the injury is minor, make sure you write an incident report and have the parents sign it. Keep one copy for yourself, and give one to the parents. Licensing can cite you for not reporting injuries to parents, so this is an important step.
  • Licensing – You are required to report unusual incidents to licensing. Unusual incidents are defined differently in different states, but usually it includes any injury which required a doctor’s visit or any incident which could threaten the physical or emotional health of a child. It is also a good idea to report any disputes you have with parents. This will help you if that parent makes a false allegation about you to licensing.
  • Insurance – Your insurance company should be notified if a child has an injury which requires a doctor’s visit or if anything out of the ordinary happens and you think it has the potential to lead to a claim. Remember that your insurance company is on your side and is there to help you. If you aren’t sure if you should report an incident, call your insurance agent and ask them. Many companies will not raise your rates when you have a claim, so you should always err on the side of safety and report everything.

These are just a few of the ways that accurate record-keeping can help you. Remember that in addition to running a business, you are also caring for a parent’s most precious asset. It is in your best interest to record everything that happens, no matter how small. Make sure all of your information is detailed and accurate. While we always hope for the best, you will thank yourself for your preparation if anything ever goes wrong. For more information on how to protect your business, visit www.dcins.com.

Family Daycare: Strengthening Family Relationships with Kinderlime

Helping Hands Family Daycare

Bridget being presented her 4th star by the Lieutenant Governor Matthew Denn. She recently received her 5th star from the Delaware Board of Education.

 

Helping Hands Family Daycare reading time

Bridget teaching children about the U.S. Presidents

After working in technology for 25 years, Bridget Williams decided to make a change in her career path. She always had a passion for children and helping her community, and decided to open her very own family daycare.

Bridget’s technology background gave her an innovative and creative approach to running Helping Hands Family Daycare. When parents came to her with problems, she did not only give advice, but started offering workshops to educate and encourage families. She found that if one family was struggling to get their child to sleep or needed help teaching their children about hygiene, there was most likely other parents facing the same challenges.

 

Helping Hands Family Daycare

Teaching children the importance of brushing their teeth

As Bridget continued in her new career path, she also began to look for ways technology could make her life easier as a daycare director.  However, she was immediately baffled by the lack of technology in the childcare industry. She went from being surrounded by the tech world, to doing everything on pen and paper. She knew there must be a better way, and continued to search for something that could help create a more efficient family daycare.

She found various tools and methods to make attendance tracking and billing easier, but few seemed to truly fit her needs. Nothing seemed to be created with daycares and childcare centers in mind.

 

 

Helping Hands Family Daycare

The Helping Hands team brings creativity into everything they do and teach

She then came across Kinderlime, and immediately fell in love. One of Bridget’s toughest challenges was maintaining her sign in-out sheets. She not only needed a system that could count the hours a family attended her daycare, but something that was licensing approved, and could record signatures. Kinderlime was the only tool she found that fit her needs. As she continued to explore Kinderlime she found that they did not just provide a solution to her problem, but helping childcare centers was what they did! Kinderlime was “The Childcare App!”

Today, Kinderlime has helped the Helping Hands Family Childcare to eliminate paperwork, and go completely electronic. Bridget’s team uses Kinderlime to create and send daily sheets, communicate with families, record staff hours, and manage billing.

 

Helping Hands Family Daycare

Parents love hearing how their baby is doing throughout the day

Bridget loves Kinderlime for making her life easier and saving her time, but she found that Kinderlime was also an amazing tool for building strong family relationships. Her parents love Kinderlime just as much as Bridget does.

Kinderlime helps remind parents about upcoming workshops, and sends newsletters with parenting tips and tricks.  The parent app allows families to quickly view and pay their bill, and see in real time what activities their child is doing throughout the day. For busy parents with young children, this tool is priceless.

 

 

Helping Hands Family Daycare

Learning to read at Helping Hands Family Daycare

Bridget and her team at Helping Hands Family Daycare can’t imagine how they ever ran without Kinderlime. It’s been an incredible tool that has helped in not only managing the business side of her daycare, but provides effective parent communication. Instead of keeping Kinderlime to herself, Bridget has helped and encouraged other childcare providers to start implementing tools like Kinderlime to help in creating more efficient and successful programs like hers.

How to Hire Quality Childcare Staff

childcare staff

 

I find myself frequently talking with childcare operators about the biggest day-to-day challenges they face. While there are many things that come up, I have found that finding, hiring and keeping quality staff are the most frequent instigators of headaches.  

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Managing staff is an unpredictable job. You don’t always know which staff will be a star player, how long a staff member will stay with you, or how long the hiring process will take to replace them if they leave. While there are some factors that are out of your control, there are a few ways you can make hiring childcare staff easier,  more predictable, and less stressful.

 

Where to Look for Childcare Staff

You are ready to start interviewing and training a new childcare staff member, but where do you go to find the best candidates? Not all job site are created equal, and different types of centers and schools may find some resources a better fit than others. Below you will find a list of some of the best job sites for childcare staff:

Craigslist– While there are many sites to post jobs on today, Craigslist still remains a great site for new job postings. They allow you to target your postings based on the industry and location at a very low cost.

Colleges with ECE Programs– Most colleges have an internal job board for college students. Universities with ECE programs are a fantastic place to find ambitious candidates that are currently looking for a job in early childhood education.

CCR&R– Most communities have a local CCR&R network that provides resources and referrals for the child care community. If you haven’t checked out your local CCR&R get on it ASAP. They provide tools that go far beyond hiring.

Indeed.com– A favorite tool to find qualified teachers and staff. It’s fairly simple to use and gives you the opportunity to search through resumes posted for candidates interested in early childhood education jobs.        

LinkedIn– LinkedIn is a helpful tool for networking with other people in the childcare industry, as well as finding new hires. Not having luck with a LinkedIn job posting? Search for candidates with a childcare background, and try recruiting candidates yourself instead of playing the waiting game.                                                                                               
Idealist.org– Is your center or school a non-profit? Idealist is a job site for nonprofit companies only, and is an outstanding place to find passionate candidates committed to making a positive change in the world.

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Referrals

Ask your best Childcare staff for referrals

Amazing childcare staff tend to know other amazing people that would be a perfect fit for your child care center or preschool. If you are lucky enough to have a star staff, let them know often how thankful you are to have them. The only thing more important than hiring quality staff is keeping them.

Let your staff members know that you are always interested in hearing about other spectacular staff and teachers that would be a wonderful fit for your center, even if you are not currently hiring.

Offer a referral bonus to staff

As we just mentioned, quality childcare childcare staff are priceless. Your current team is a great resource for finding other staff and teachers, but sometimes they need that extra push to reach out to their friends and let them know about the opportunities at your preschool or childcare center.

Try offering a referral bonus incentive for each new hire who stays with your center for a minimum of 3-6 months. Make sure your incentive is large enough to peak your team’s interest.

Ask parents too

Parents can be another helpful resource when you are looking for new staff and teachers. They share a similar interest of wanting to see amazing teachers and staff work at your child care center, as the staff they bring to you will be the same ones that work with their children.

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Have a job fair 

Hosting a job fair gives you the opportunity to bring candidates right to your door, talk with a larger amount of candidates at once, and help in expediting the hiring process. A successful job fair requires some preparation and planning to ensure candidates show up to the fair.

Publicize the job fair by posting the event on online job boards and social media platforms like the ones mentioned previously. When creating your job fair posting, be sure to input keywords that are related to the job you are hiring for (ex. preschool teacher, childcare staff, children). This will ensure the right candidates find you.

 

Never stop hiring

Ever felt a moment of panic after someone puts in their 2 week notice? Ever hired someone you possibly shouldn’t have? When you are desperate for new staff you will have a much harder time finding quality staff, and may not be as critical about who you do hire.

Most of the time it takes much longer than 2 weeks to hire someone. It’s good practice to not hire only when you need someone, but throughout the year. This gives you time to post jobs, screen candidates, and have an extensive selection of candidates to interview and choose from. 

We also suggest hiring a floater staff who is available to cover vacancies or help out when staff are sick. It alleviates stress for you and your team, and allows you to take the time to choose the perfect candidate for your center or school.