Child care daily sheets were created to keep parents informed of their child’s development and growth. They are a tool used to keep parents connected to their child, even when they are not there. However, too many child care centers have turned daily sheets into a mundane report, and overlook the opportunity given to them.
Child care daily sheets have the potential to make parents feel connected to their child at the end of the day and helps you make positive and meaningful connections with parents. Instead of viewing the child care daily sheet as a report, see it as a way to show off how amazing your child care center and staff truly are. Here are a few tips on how you can use daily sheets to stand out from the crowd.
How to Make your Child Care Daily Sheets Stand Out
The extra effort put into daily sheets can be potentially time consuming (and child care directors need every minute they can get). Thankfully, a little pre-emptive thought into your daily sheets can save a great amount of time, as well as keep down your stress level.
Use Kinderlime’s daily sheet template to create a report that can be used for all children in your program. You may not know if Susie will like tomorrow’s lunch or activities, but you do know what you will be serving and what activities you will be doing. This allows your staff and teachers to only worry about inputting the unique and detailed information into each child’s daily sheet report.
Many parents may appreciate the time and effort you put into your paper daily sheets, but paper has a way of getting lost. With e-mail you are providing a way for parents to easily locate their daily sheets. Aside from being convenient, your electronic daily sheets are environmentally friendly (a sheet for every child each day can add up). Sending an electronic child care daily sheet also gives you the opportunity to attach photos of your child’s day.
Still unsure about the perks of going electronic? Which daily sheet would you prefer?
There is practically no parent on the planet that doesn’t love seeing photos of their child having a great day. Sending a young child to a daycare or preschool can be a huge challenge for many parents. They leave staff with a crying child, and worry all day about whether they are making friends or having a fun time.
Child care staff and teachers do their best to tell parents about the fun day their child had, and the new friends he or she made, but a picture is worth a 1,000 words. Sending photo of a child will put parents at ease, and show how much your child care center cares. Use the Kinderlime Daily Sheets app to easily take, edit, manage and share photos with your parents.
We do our best to say hello and have conversations with our parents during pickup and drop-off, but sometimes there just isn’t enough time. Daily sheets are an additional opportunity to communicate with parents.
Leave a blank section on your child care daily sheets to say whatever is needed. This blank section can be used for reminders, thank yous, praises, inspirational quotes and more. This is the space to tell parents the things you don’t’ always have time to tell in person, as well as a space to be creative.
Simply putting a little extra thought and care into what you write to parents in a daily sheet can make all the difference. Instead of telling parents what activities their child did that day, describe how they did and what they enjoyed. By making a daily sheet personal, you are standing out and showing you care.
Creating personalized daily reports doesn’t only make parents happy, but creates trusting and meaningful connections with parents. Parents will know you truly care about their child, and feel comfortable coming to you with any problems they may have.
In child care, word of mouth remains to be the best marketing tool for increasing enrollment. When the time comes for a parent to choose a child care program, they will choose the program with staff and teachers that are thoughtful, and have proven they are willing to go above and beyond.
It’s the first week of the month, and you just spent hours upon hours creating, printing and sending weekly invoices to parents. Instead of focusing on the next month’s activities for your child care program, you are recording payments, and chasing down parents who are late on their tuition. The child care billing process has become tedious , and is taking too much time away from the important parts of your child care program.
This situation is too common in child care centers. While we can’t make the billing process vanish, a few small changes can make make a vast difference. Here are 5 simple ways you can simplify the child care billing process:
1. Collect Online Payments
Collecting payments on time is an enormous challenge for many child care centers. We can’t control late paying parents, but we can make it as easy as possible for parents to pay. In the digital age, parents are doing almost everything online from holiday shopping to ordering dinner. Almost every parent carries a credit card, but cash and checks are frequently left at home.
Give parents the option to pay online with a credit card or set up automatic withdrawal for tuition with their bank account. This makes it much easier for busy parents to pay, and, most importantly, child care owners to collect.
Not sure how to start offering online payments to your parents? Try using a child care billing software. This will not only help parents easily pay online, but make it easy for you to send and update invoices for parents.
2. Be Consistent
It’s easy to let a late pick up slide, or cut a parent some slack when their tuition is late. While we may think we are helping, in actuality we are just hurting ourselves. Most parents may mean well, but if you let a late fee or payment slide, it is much more likely to happen again. By staying consistent you are simply enforcing the rules, and letting parents know it’s not personnel.
However, we know staying consistent can be much easier said than done. Try using Kinderlime’s Late Fee Notice to help hold parent’s (and yourself) accountable. By giving parents an advance notice of the late fees they have accrued, you avoid surprises and angry parents in the future.
3. Make it Simple
At Kinderlime, we hear all kinds of child care billing methods, and have quickly learned what works, and what does not. While there are many different ways of billing, the most effective forms all have one thing in common: they are often simple.
To make the child care billing process as easy as possible, maintain a consistent billing schedule, and avoid intricate rates and discounts. The simpler you make it, the easier it is when invoicing time comes around. Using these tips will help you keep the child care billing process simple and effective:
-Minimize the amount of Invoices Sent to Parents
While it may be nice to receive weekly payments, the time it takes to create, send, and receive a weekly invoice can simply take too much time. By sending parents an invoice once or twice a month, you are simplifying the billing process for you and your parents.
-Create basic hourly rates
Charging hourly is a great choice for many after school programs. You are directly being paid for the exact amount of time a child spent in your center. However, hourly billing can make child care billing tedious when programs charge different rates depending on the amount of time the child has attended that day.
Try and stick to a one time hourly rate, as adding too many variables not only makes billing harder on you, but is confusing for the parents. A straightforward billing process will decrease the billing disputes from parents, and give you more time to focus on other aspects of your child care program.
4. Give parents a reminder
While we hope parents get in the habit of paying tuition on time, the truth is, we could all use a reminder once in a while. Sometimes a simple reminder is all parents need to remember to grab their checkbook or pay online. Here are a few creative and effective ways to help parents pay their tuition on time:,
-Send an e-mail blast
Sending an e-mail blast is easy and effective. Create or use our tuition reminder template, so you can quickly create and send out your tuition reminder.
For those tech savvy parents, you could also try a text blast. After messaging your parents it will be harder for them to forget than remember.
-Post a tuition reminder sign
For the parents who do not use text or e-mail, a sign is a great way to catch the attention of parents. Be sure to put a sign in a location where parents will see it, such as near the sign in-out location, or on the front door.
-Create a photo message
While emails and signs work fine, getting a little creative will produce a reminder that parents will never forget. Work with your staff and kids to create a photo message blast. Take photos using the Kinderlime Daily Sheets app and make child care billing a little more fun.
5. Go Paperless
Child care billing invoices, receipts, and late fee notices are not just wasting huge amounts of paper, but take time to create, print and distribute. Thankfully, going paperless expedites the tedious billing process.
File cabinets, manual tracking, and human error mistakes become a thing of the past. An online child care billing software can do everything from calculating, creating and sending invoices, to recording and maintaining family account history. Getting online, and moving your billing process to a child care management software can make the world of a difference.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can save time, and expedite your billing process, head over to Kinderlime and request a demo.
Justin is no stranger to the world of summer camps. He first started working at the Pav YMCA as a camp counselor his sophomore year of high school, and has been hooked ever since.
It’s hard for Justin to imagine a life without the Pav YMCA. His years working with kids at the YMCA’s summer camps have shaped who he is today. He fell in love with the rewarding environment that working with children created, and pursued his teaching credentials.
He is now working as an elementary school teacher, but still finds himself returning to the Pav YMCA every summer.
When you walk into the Pav YMCA’s summer camps, you immediately see why Justin has returned year after year. As parents and children walk in they are greeted by friendly camp counselors. Parents quickly sign in their children in seconds using the Kinderlime attendance app set up on tablets and iPhones.
After the quick sign in-out process, children are off to have a fun filled day. Campers have the opportunity to participate in many YMCA themed camps including healthy cooking, a drama camp where campers can write, act and direct their own movie, and even a camp where children can learn to scuba dive.
When it comes to summer camps, the Pav YMCA seems ahead of the game. The sign in-out process is anything but hectic, and the activities offered are incredibly unique and interesting. However, according to Justin, the Pav YMCA was not always this organized and innovative.
When Justin first started working as a camp counselor, he dreaded the parent sign in rush. Like many other summer camps, the Pav YMCA used paper sign in-out sheets. They tried to maintain some level of organization by giving each child their own paper daily attendance sheet, and using binders to separate campers by groups. However, with 200 campers coming through the Pav YMCA daily, the sign in-out process was simply chaotic.
The paper sign in-out process created long lines of parents waiting to sign in their child. Parents would become frustrated with camp counselors, and some would simply drop off their child without even signing in.
Staff struggled to manage the check in process, and wasted hours upon hours manually going through daily attendance sheets. There was no easy way to keep track of how many kids were signed into the program. Staff had to count the attendance totals, and find missed parent signatures manually.
Justin and his super team at the Pav YMCA managed, but knew there must be a better way. The Pav YMCA provided amazing camp programs; however, they felt their camps and counselors were overshadowed by the unorganized sign in-out process.
The Pav YMCA decided to try out Kinderlime’s Child Care Management Software, and to their surprise, it changed everything! Immediately the long lines for parent sign in disappeared. The sign in out process went from looking unorganized and hectic, to easy and enjoyable.
The camp counselors now had more time to connect with parents during the sign in-out process, and could focus more on camp planning, and less on attendance counting.
Kinderlime’s child care management software helped the Pav YMCA take their summer camps to the next level! Staff and parents immediately noticed how Kinderlime improved the sign in-out process, but as time went on, they experienced the true value of having a child care management software like Kinderlime.
Kinderlime not only helped with attendance tracking, and the sign in and out process, but became a useful tool to ensure the safety of campers.
While Justin never expects to have any accidents or problems on a camp field trip, he is comforted knowing that if an emergency ever occurs, he is prepared with Kinderlime. With his unique staff login, he is able to access campers’ allergy information, a picture if a child is lost, and parent contact information right from the Kinderlime app on his iPhone.
Justin’s director, Stephanie Robinson, is comforted by the fact that she has the ability to check up on her campers and counselors from practically anywhere. She can quickly access staff to child ratio, and see how many kids are still signed in to camp during closing time from anywhere at any time.
Kinderlime’s attendance tracking, sign in-out, and safety features have proven to be an irreplaceable tool for the Pav YMCA. Ever since Justin started as a camp counselor 8 years ago, he knew that the Pav YMCA provided a place where kids could learn, grow, and create memories that will last a lifetime. The themed camps and passionate counselors created an amazing summer for the campers, but Kinderlime’s Child Care Management Software filled in the missing piece.
With so many child care management software options available, the process of choosing a software that best fits your programs needs can be daunting. We have put together a few questions to guide you through the decision making process.
1. What are my goals?
When choosing a child care management software, the first thing you will want to ask yourself is “what am I looking to get out of this software?” Child care software’s vary in features. What is right for one program, may not be for another. This list below displays some of the key features offered by child care management services. Evaluate and choose the features that will help you achieve your goals.
Key Child Care Management Software Features:
Sign In and Out
Attendance Tracking and Reports
Staff Clock In-Out
Online Billing and Invoicing
Daily Sheets and Reports
Emergency Text Blasts
Food Program Records
Child health records
Wait List Management
2. What is my budget?
During the decision making process evaluate the importance of price. If cost is important, then decide which features you would be willing to give up for a lower price. Here are a few tips on coming up with a budget that works for you:
How much time and money will the software save you? Depending on the type of program you are running, various features will not only make your job easier, but actually save you time. Evaluate the amount of time you spend on certain tasks (attendance tracking, auditing sign in and out sheets, filling out daily sheets, ect.) Doing this will allow you to see the value of certain software features.
How much can you realistically spend? Regardless of the value of certain features, some software programs may simply be too pricey for your particular program. Decide on a maximum price you can afford.
Are there ways to save? Many child care software programs offer special discounts and deals. Be sure to ask your child care software of interest about any discounts available.
3. How easy is it to use?
.While every new program may have a small learning curve, you should not find the system extremely confusing to use. Using a child care management software is supposed to make things easier, not harder. To evaluate how easy the program is to use, try signing up for a free trial or request a demo.
Many companies provide the option of testing out their services to help in the decision making process. Be wary of companies that do not allow you to first test out your service. You want to make sure the software you chose will work for your program’s needs, and this is one of the best ways to evaluate this.
Depending on your programs needs and the size of your program, you may need the assurance that you will be provided top quality customer service. Here are a few things to keep in mind when evaluating the customer support options:
What methods of contact are provided (e-mail, phone, text, instant messaging)?
5. Do they listen to their customer’s needs?
The tech world has exploded over the last two decades. 20 years ago you would practically never find child care programs using a child care management software, but today it is an incredibly valuable tool used by many. As technology continues to develop, as do the needs of programs.
When deciding to choose a software program, investigate the growth of the company. Are they continually adding new features, or have they stayed the same? It is valuable to work with a company that values innovation, and is constantly listening to their customer’s needs.
If you find that a child care software does not have a feature you desire, let them know. This is a great way to gauge how they handle customer requests, as well as letting them know what features you desire.
6. What is the deployment of the child care management software?
When it comes to child care software companies, there are typically two options available: Web based or Installed.
Web based software runs on a web browser. You need an internet connection to access the child care software. This secure method of deployment allows for users to access their information from anywhere at anytime.
Installed software is installed on a particular computer or laptop. Some installed software may require you to purchase additional hardware or pay to add the software to multiple computers. If you are going with this method of deployment, be sure to check if any additional hardware or software will need to be purchased to avoid any surprise costs.
For further guidance on choosing a child care management software, please contact us.
You do not need to be an expert or have an expensive camera to have fun with photography in your after school program. All you need is simply one digital camera, or even a smartphone, and you will be on your way to discovering the world of photography in the classroom. Fill your program with enriching and academic photography activities that your students, staff, and parents will love.
1. Put Together A VIDEO YEARBOOK
Schools are not the only ones who can have yearbooks. After school programs spend tremendous amounts of time with their children. It’s always a little bittersweet when the school year comes to an end, and you must say goodbye to your graduating students. However, a video yearbook is a fun and affordable way to celebrate the end of the school year and commemorate your children that are moving on.
. Create a video yearbook by using pictures taken through the year at holiday events and fun activities. Put the pictures together and create something that your children, parents and staff will love. Either show your children and parents the video at an end of the school year event, or burn DVDs of the video as a farewell gift.
2. Create a Photo booth
Try creating your very own photo booth for your after school program. Throughout the month have your students work on planning, drawing, coloring, decorating and creating props for your photo booth.
. Look up wacky weird holidays such as World Penguin Day or Watermelon Day for a photo booth theme, and get creative! If you are still not sure where to start, check out photo booth ideas for kids on Pinterest for a little inspiration. Your children will have a wonderful time creating and taking pictures in the photo booth, and parents will love to see the photo booth pics.
3. JOURNALISM CLUB
Creating a journalism club is not only a great way to use photos in your childcare program, but a great academic alternative that captures almost every student’s interest. Students can become writers, interviewers, photographers, comic strip creators, or even take on leadership roles. Help your students create a quarterly journal where they can discuss their interests, concerns, and what is going on in your after school program.
. Be creative with your journal, and cater it to your children’s interest. After your journal is put together, you’re students will have something tangible they can be proud of and show off to their friends and parents. Check out these school newsletter ideas to help you get started.
4. PHOTOGRAPHY WRITING PROMPTS
Coming up with academic activities that students enjoy can sometimes seem impossible. Thankfully, photography does not simply have to be a fun hobby or after school club, but a way to fully engage students in academic alternatives.
Have your students take a few pictures. You can either give students the freedom to take pictures, or give them a guideline on types of pictures to take. Use these photos as a writing prompt. Have your students tell a short story, write a poem, or describe how the picture makes them feel. Students will be much more likely to engage in a writing prompt when they took the pictures themselves.
5. Take a Stand
Photography is an incredible tool for assisting social change movements and non-profit organizations. With the help from your students, come up with a way you can use photography to make a positive impact on the world. Which problems in the world do you feel most impact your students and your after school program?
Create a photo contest that asks students to take a photo that demonstrates “taking care of the planet,” “kindness,” or anything else you and your students want to take a stand on. Create a collage of your student’s photos to help spread awareness of how to be “green” or “kind.”
For older students, use this activity to teach your students the negative and positive uses of photography. Teach students not only how to stay safe when using photos on the web, but how to use photography as a tool to make the world a better place.
6. Parent Communication
Photos are not just for kids. They can be a great tool to keep parents updated, and let potential parents learn more about your program. Use photos you or your students snap during program, and post them to your program blog or website.
Don’t have a website? Use these photos in your monthly newsletters. Parents will love seeing their child having fun and representing your after school program. Just be sure to have each parent sign a photo permission form before taking and posting pictures for the public to see.
Have you tried any of these fun photography activities? How do you use photos in your after school, child care, or daycare program?