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It’s morning time at your daycare and the parent sign-in rush has commenced. You have a line of parents anxiously waiting to sign-in their child. You notice one parent write down the incorrect time and you’re tired from spending hours the night before, auditing your attendance sheets.

Monitoring and tracking daycare sign-in can be stressful and tedious. We believe that making a few small adjustments can help make daycare sign-in much more efficient for you and your families.

  • Plan ahead
    What makes sign-in efficient is not always what happens during the day, but what you do before your daycare doors open. Taking a few proactive steps can save you and your families tons of time and frustration down the line.

    • Stay on top of new enrollments – have your new child entered and ready to go on your attendance sheets. It’s important to get your parents used to the sign in-out process as soon as possible
    • Print out your attendance sheets ahead of time – you never know when your printer will run out of ink or the power will go out
    • Keep your sign-in sheets in alphabetical order and separated by alphabetical markers – This will make it much easier for your parents to quickly and efficiently find their child and sign them in-out
    • Use Grade A binders and paper – there is nothing worse than paper that constantly rips and binders that fall apart
    • Assign responsibilities – having certain staff assigned to preparing, checking, and reviewing sign in-out records makes the whole process run smoother
  • Make it as easy as possible for parents
    As daycare directors we are constantly thinking about licensing compliancy and sign in-out procedures. However, these items are most likely not in the forefront of our parents’ minds. Making the sign in-out process as easy as possible will make parents happier, and help eliminate mistakes.

    Some of the most common sign in-out mistakes include forgetting to sign in-out, inputting the wrong time, and forgetting to leave a signature. Here are a few tips to make the sign in-out process as easy as possible for parents:

    • Minimize the amount of binders and paper used – no one wants to search endlessly for their child’s sign-in page
    • Put a digital clock next to the sign-in desk – it’s harder to write the wrong time when it’s right there
    • Make it nearly impossible for a parent to sign out the wrong child accidentally – using single child sign in-out sheets will help alleviate mistakes
    • Keep the sign-in sheets at the drop off and pickup area – this will help parents move in and out of the classroom or office smoothly
    • Or, eliminate all of these problems with an electronic sign in-out system
  • Use a sign in-out software
    Choosing a high quality daycare software like Kinderlime makes the parent sign in-out process and attendance tracking easier than ever. Piles of sign in-out sheets and binders can make the pick up process time consuming. Using an electronic system makes it easy and safe for parents when picking up their child, and can greatly reduce the amount of time you spend managing your attendance records.

    When choosing a daycare management software be sure to see if they have all the features you need in order to make your daycare sign-in more efficient. Here are a few questions to get you started on choosing a software that is right for you:

    • Is the service easy to use and setup?
    • How long will the software store your records?
    • Do they provide electronic parent signatures?
    • How much time will the daycare software save me?
    • What type of customer support do they provide?

    These few questions are a great place to start for any daycare, but we also encourage you to think about your center’s specific and unique needs to ensure you are choosing the best software for your daycare.

  • Be ready for licensing
    Daycare providers are typically required by law to follow certain requirements in regards to attendance tracking and reports. Be sure to follow the correct rules and regulations, and don’t wait for a visit from licensing to find out if your daycare sign-in process is compliant. While every state’s requirements vary, here are a few practices that are always good to follow:

    • Have your sign-in sheets easily accessible in the back office, organized monthly and alphabetically
    • Check your attendance sheets at the end of each day – It is much harder to chase down missed signatures or sign-outs at the end of the month, rather than day to day
    • Charge parents a small fine for missed sign in-outs – your families will almost never forget with a policy in place to eliminate attendance record mistakes
    • Explain to parents the importance of remaining in compliance – parents will be much more understanding if they know how these policies affect the standing of your daycare and the safety of their children.
  • Maintain proper child-to-staff ratios
    Daycare sign-in could potentially be hectic if you did not have the correct number of staff to care for your children that day. While daycares want to ensure they always have the correct child-to-staff ratio at any given time, they also want to ensure they do not have too many staff coming each day.

    To help in maintaining ratios, we encourage daycares to manage and track ratio trends during the day on either a child care management software or paper ratio tracking sheet. This will not only ensure you are remaining in compliance for that day, but will also help you plan for the future. Ratio reports are a great way to visualize how many children you have on average each day and hour, and will help you with scheduling staff as efficiently as possible.

  • Communicate with Parents
    A parent picks up their child, but the time inputted on the attendance sheet is illegible. Possibly a parent is in a rush and forgets to sign out both of their children. These are just a couple of the many items that can go wrong during the sign in-out process.

    As daycare providers we tell parents to write a little clearer next time, or to ensure the time inputted is legible and correct. However, parents may feel that you are simply being “picky” or “critical.” We suggest not just telling parents your daycare sign in-out rules and regulations, but explaining the reasoning behind them. It’s important for them to understand that it’s a legal and compliance requirement for daycares and also helps in the security of their children. This will help give your parents a better understanding of the importance of the process, and hopefully encourage them to be more efficient and precise during daycare sign in-out.

Check out Kinderlime for more information on how you can save time and make your daycare sign-in more efficient.