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11 Ways to De-Stress Over the Holidays

It’s that time of year to de-stress! You’ve managed, taught, and enabled students to learn and grow all day for months and now you get some time away from the stress. It’s time to enjoy that much-needed, and well-earned, break. You may have plans to lounge on the couch, binge watch your favorite show, or go on a trip somewhere warm. Whatever the case, these tips may offer you some new ideas. If not, they will at least remind you of what’s to come!

  1. Do something you enjoy but never have time for during a regular week. Go to your favorite store during the middle of the week to avoid the long lines. Take your dog on a walk while it’s still light outside. Make yourself a cup of hot cocoa/coffee and enjoy it before it gets cold. Go skiing. Read your favorite book. It’s the little things. Reading to De-Stress
  2. Catch up on sleep. We’d bet that you’ve dreamed of taking naps or sleeping in on a Monday. Well, now is your chance to fully embrace these dreams and make them a reality!
  3. Binge watch your favorite show. Netflix recently released their most watched TV shows of 2017. You could watch one of those or catch up on one of your favorites. Or go get your Hallmark Channel on! The movies can be pretty incredibly cheesy at times, but they’re great at spreading love and holiday cheer. There’s nothing quite like getting cozy on the couch or in your bed and watching TV to get your mind off of grading and lesson planning.
  4. Visit somewhere new. A new place nearby to eat in. A mini-road trip to a park or a neighboring city. A flight to somewhere you’ve never been before. You don’t need to indulge on a lavish trip to Hawaii to enjoy the benefits of travel and experiencing a new place. De-Stress & Relax
  5. Spend time with family, but also remember to take some time for yourself. For most of us, holidays are about spending time with family and loved ones. While important, it can also drive you a bit crazy. Have a day or two marked in your calendar where you can block off the whole day. Maybe even turn off your phone that day. Make it a day for you and only you. Here are a few great ideas for how to spend those few days away from email and family.
  6. Keep time spent on work to a minimum. If you feel like you need to get some lesson planning or project work done in order to start the new year fresh, please do — but remember that the second half of the year has fewer vacation days!
  7. Keep some music going in the background. Who doesn’t like a little music in their life? Whether you are doing chores, cooking dinner, or reading, music can help create ambiance for any occasion. It is also a proven tool to help reduce stress and anxiety
  8. Don’t be afraid to say no. This is your time off. If you don’t want to do something, don’t feel obligated to say yes at every opportunity presented. Be selective with how you spend your time. 
  9. Get out of your comfort zone. Be playful. Try some laughing yoga. Laughing yoga might look cringeworthy to most of us, but it may be just the thing some of us need to get out of our comfort zone. At the very least you will have a VERY interesting story… Freedom & Dancing
  10. Create and share a gratitude list with your loved ones. How often do you share your appreciation for your family, friends, and loved ones? Tell them what they mean to you. It will make their day and help spread the holiday spirit of giving.
  11. Volunteer. It may not sound relaxing, but volunteering, especially around the holidays, can make you feel more connected and more involved with the community. You gain perspective and a sense of accomplishment. Not only are you giving back to those less fortunate, you are in many ways showing them that when things aren’t going well, there are people who care. 

If you are feeling stressed, anxious or depressed this holiday season, please know that this happens to many people. Know that you are an amazing, unique individual with a lot to offer the world. You matter. Here are a couple articles that could help you; Stress, Depression and the Holidays: Tips to Cope, Mayo Clinic; Holiday Depression and Stress, Behavioral Health Services North. If it is more severe, please call the Samaritans 24-hour hotline at (212) 673-3000.

More Resources

“What Do Teachers Really Do During The Holiday Break?” by Lisa Hollenbach

“10 Fun Ways to Rest, Relax and Recharge Over Winter Break” from ClassroomDirect.com

“Top 5 Ways to Really Relax These Holidays (Without Alcohol or Yoga” by Lisa Cox

“9 Ways to De-Stress This Holiday Season” by Leta Shy

“7 Tips to Relieve Holiday Stress” by Connie Bennett

Out of School Podcast: Brainerd Baptist

Listen as Fraser Speirs and co-host Bradley Chambers review Kinderlime on the Out-of-School Podcast. You can check out the full podcast here.

The Kinderlime review begins at time 16:15.

Brainerd Baptist found Kinderlime at last year’s NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) conference. After some discussion, they implemented the Kinderlime apps within their program. Here is a small excerpt from the review by Bradley Chambers:

“What I wanted to talk about the day was a new solution we rolled out called Kinderlime and what Kinderlime is it’s really at its core is like daycare management software…. So we’re using it for our afterschool care which, different schools do it different ways, but for us it’s a pretty decent revenue generator….

“What problems does it solve for us?

“Number one, it solves a billing tracking problem. So what we did in years past is parents when they kids who come into aftercare is a paper notebook teachers would write their name their grade or what have they checked in and the parents would initial when they picked them up. So then you have to get that into something that can be billed to the parent and that was paper. And what we would do in years past is we had someone to manually calculate all that up and we would apply it to their FACTS account. They use FACTS billing management software so it would be applied as an incidental and that’s not perfect because it is time consuming and it’s manual so there can easily be errors and there can be discrepancies such as, “I was here an hour before that.” So now everything is tracked to the minute and there are no questions about that anymore. So there’s one problem it solves for us.

“Number two is it solves a security problem. It’s not that we had an issue with this before but we’re just trying to get out ahead of it. And so basically the way it works is each parent or caregiver as it’s own in the system is assigned a pin and it’s a four digit pin that is randomly generated and emailed to them and that’s the pin they use to pick up. So when they come in the home in the school there’s somebody sitting there with an iPad. And that happened there when they choose a child to pick up a child. That generates an e-mail to all caregivers on the account. They’ve been picked up and then that you know they’re able to proceed with getting their child. That’s huge. You can verify that this is someone who they say they are. Because we have sent “permission to pick up” forms, but things change with every parent and maybe that person can’t do it anymore. I love the e-mail notifications as well because my wife knows when I’m heading home because she sees that I picked up our kids. You can create additional pins like parents going there, additional parents, grandparents or friends. There’s even a carpool section. So let’s say I have a neighbor whose kids I pick up. Well in the system they can allow me to pick up their kids with my pin. They don’t have to give me their pin and I don’t need to remember two pins. Parents can all do that on their own.

“Also, from any iPad that has the Kinderlime app – and we have four iPads that we’re using for Kinderlime – we can see what kids are in what rooms at any given time. And so as kids move around the after care, for example if they’re in a playground for a little bit and they come and go to the gym they are moved around in the system. So what that solves let’s say there was like a fire drill or there was a fire that was an issue we have a digital copy of who’s supposed to be where and who is where.

“The last problem this solves for us is parents knowing where their child is when they get to campus and that seems trivial. But we have a building that’s quite large. I believe it’s 100,000 square feet – quite a large building and especially in the winter or if it’s raining they can be a multitude of places. Obviously, right now it’s pretty outside most of the kids are just on the playground. There’s basically two rooms they’re in. But when you start getting cold they may be in the gym, they may be in the cafeteria, they may be in this room. There could be maybe seven rooms they’re in. And what happens is if a grandparent was showing up they might come in the front school (main entrance). We would have no idea where their kid was at. We knew they were probably here. We just had no idea where.

“Now you just have to say, “OK. We have no idea where they’re at…let’s go find them,” and walking around school, are they at the playground? No. Me as a parent I’ve been in that situation I’m trying to find my kids. I don’t know what room they’re in. So the cool thing is now so along with the pin codes parents get an app registration code. And what this is they can download the Kinderlime Parent App and when they get to school they can pull up their app and see exactly what room their kid is in. ….”

You can find Bradley Chambers on Twitter @BradleyChambers.

His co-host, Fraser Speirs can be found on Twitter @FraserSpeirs.

Real time child care ratios and attendance

Kinderlime is continuing to innovate on how child care centers can proactively look at ratios and attendance. We released a feature which is being loved by daycares all across the world. This feature allows daycares to look up attendance chart and find out which rooms need the most staffing.

Have you ever faced a situation where Licensing was to come in and check on whether you were keeping adequate staff and child ratios? California has severe citations for not keeping up with ratios. Here in Kinderlime we take this seriously and want to help you manage staffing. On the Sign In-Out app, directors can view how many teachers are there in the room along with the kids. They can view historical reports in 30 minute increments and schedule their staff based on how many children are present in their school.

Ratios in Child care
Ratios in Child care

Something all childcare directors love on their Kinderlime sign in out smartphone app : the live Ratio status. It’s like having your school operations in your hand. It’s so comforting to watch this when you can’t be at school that day and still see how kids and your staff are doing.

Real time ratio and attendance status on a Tablet
Real time ratio and attendance status on a Tablet

7 New Year Resolutions for Child Care Workers

Child Care Workers Resolution

 

The new year is upon us, and it is the perfect time to reflect on the past, and make resolutions for the second half of the school year. Get motivated with our 7 new year resolutions we think every child care worker should have on their list.

 

New Year Resolutions for Child Care Workers

 

1. Stay Positive

Coming back from a much needed long break can be stressful as you try and get back into a routine. However, breaks also mean fresh starts. Stay positive, and use the new year as extra motivation to make some changes.

2. Strive to Be Paper Free

You may not be able to go 100% paper free, but technology can help you get  a little bit closer. Think of a couple common documents or handouts you can make paperless such as monthly newsletters, attendance records, or child care daily sheets.

3. Think Outside of the Box

Every once in a while child care workers may find themselves stuck in a rut of repeating the same activities and routines year after year. The New Year is the perfect time to stretch your mind, and think outside of your usual routine. If you take the time to think outside of the box you never knew what new ideas you will come up with.

4. Embrace Technology

Technology is a hot topic in early education. The tech tools available to early educators are abundant, and can sometimes seem overwhelming. We suggest picking a few tech tools to try in the new year. Some of our favorite tech tools include Kinderlime’s Daily Sheet and Parent Communication app, Skype in the Classroom, and Storybird.

 5. Give Yourself a Break

Child care workers are incredibly passionate, and put their heart and soul into their child care center and preschools. However, they are not always as good at allocating time to themselves. Make it a new year goal to set aside some you time. You absolutely deserve it, and in the long run, you will be a better child care worker for it.

6. Start a Project

The start of the year is the perfect time to take on a new project. Try building a classroom garden or finally make the preschool website you’ve been putting off. Starting a project is the first step in creating something you can be proud of this year.

 7. Reflect

We are constantly looking forward, but we don’t always take the time to look back. Be sure to not only plan for the future, but reflect on all of your accomplishments this year, as big or little as they are.

Child Care Licensing: Is your Attendance Software Compliant?

Child Care Licensing

 

It’s obvious why so many schools and centers are choosing to go electronic. It saves time, money and paper. However, one of the largest concerns of going electronic is having the confidence that the software is compliant for child care licensing.

Thankfully, child care licensing is embracing electronic child care management systems. Regardless, when choosing a child care software system, there are a few features you will want to keep in mind that will ensure you are licensing approved.

 

Child Care Licensing Required Features

  • Records Authorized Signatures

Child care management apps will help with recording parent and student sign in-out times. This helps make attendance and time tracking much easier, but child care licensing typically requires more than just the time the child was signed in and out.

To remain licensing compliant you will most likely need an authorized signature. Be sure to inquire if your child care management software provides some form of licensing compliant signatures.

  • Security

Another concern of child care licensing is the security of the child care software. Most child care software companies provide an increased level of security. However, you will still want to inquire as to what security measures in particular they take to keep all confidential information secure. Licensing compliant or not, you do not want to mess around with a child care software that lacks security.

  • Access to all previous attendance records

One of the exciting features of going electronic is no more printing and storing paper sign in-out sheets. However, before fully saying goodbye to paper, investigate how long your attendance records will be stored. Do not assume your attendance records will be stored electronically forever.

  • Printable Attendance Records

Does your sign in-out software allow you to print out previous attendance sheets? Licensing may ask for a printed copy of an attendance sheet from a previous day. Be sure to check attendance sheets can be easily printed before licensing pays you a visit.

 

Child Care Licensing Bonus Features

These bonus features are not necessary for child care licensing, but they are valuable features that are beneficial to have when inspection time comes around.

  • Child to Staff Ratio Tracking

Licensing requires staff and teachers to know their child to staff/teacher ratio at all times. It may be easy for a teacher to keep track of their 12 children, but when you have multiple teachers in different classrooms, keeping track of ratios can become a heftier task.

Some child care software apps give you the capability of easily tracking the total number of children signed in, teacher to child ratios, and some software will allow you to transfer students to  different rooms right from the app. This tool will help your center constantly know which child is where and with whom at all times.

  • Emergency Messaging System

While we hope an emergency situation never arises, it is important to always be prepared. During an emergency situation your first job is to ensure the children’s safety, but the second is to keep parents updated and informed. Thankfully, some child care software apps provide easy mass texting and emailing to parents right from the app, giving you the comfort knowing that you are prepared for any situation that may arise.

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Tips to ensure you are Child Care Licensing Compliant

  • Ask Questions

When it comes to choosing a child care software, do not assume they are licensing compliant. While most child care management software options cater to licensing, the regulations do vary from state and type of center. If you are at all unsure, ask questions. It is better to ask now, then find out later your software is not compliant.

  • Do not wait till your licensing visit

The time of your licensing visit is not when you should find out if your child care software is up to licensing standards. Be sure to communicate and get approval from licensing before your visit. Not doing so will simply result in more work on your part.

 

Please contact Kinderlime for additional help on ensuring your child care software is licensing compliant.