Attendance tracking may be the most important aspect of your childcare center. Don’t believe us? Read our recent blog post: Why attendance tracking could be the most important thing you do all day. With that in mind, how you track attendance is essential to your childcare center’s success.
- Set forth clear expectations for parents at check in and check out. Start with a policy that clearly states what parents must do each morning when they check in their children and then at the end of the day when they check out. Without a policy that parents sign when they enroll at your center, it will be difficult to enforce strong practices so be sure these are in place from the beginning.
- Create clear and concise attendance tracking templates that make management easier. This template should clearly indicate where parents sign, date and place the time of day. Keep these templates consistent over time to ensure parents are placing the information in the correct boxes. This will make your administration of the process easier.
- Prepare and print many sheets and store in a binder to make sure you never run out during a crucial time. You’ll want to have several copies of your attendance sheet prepped and ready to go to ensure you don’t run out of space in the middle of drop off in the morning, which might just be your busiest time of day. Keep all attendance records in a tidy binder and file them week-by-week or month-by-month depending on how large your attendance is and your own record-keeping policies.
- Ensure accuracy of the sign in/out sheets. With clear expectations and templates, you’re now equipped to manage the process. Have a staff member at the entrance ensuring compliance with the attendance policy for parents and ensuring they are completing all required fields before leaving. Provide a digital clock near your timesheet to ensure the times input are accurate and always make sure a signature is present. Without a signature, your timesheet will be worthless. Your staff member should be well-trained in how to ensure accuracy, but also a friendly morning person. After all, don’t forget that these are your clients who you want to welcome and treat with the utmost service.
- Keep good documentation. You’ll want to file and store your attendance records according to your records retention policy. Check your licensing documentation to see if there are requirements for how long these materials must be stored securely. If your license does not set forth requirements, you may want to talk with legal counsel about best practices to ensure you’re covered in the case of needing to prove attendance.
- Go digital with childcare management software and reduce errors and administration time to manage the process. If that paper process sounds exhausting, there is another way. You can completely digitize the attendance process with childcare management software like iCare Software. Our technology allows for face-recognition to check children in and out. This ensures only approved caregivers can pick up the child each day, time stamps will be completely accurate, and you no longer have to be concerned about how to securely store and manage paper records on an ongoing basis. iCare Software also enables you to follow the child throughout the day with journaling, photos and messages to parents so that you can also share what the child did between sign in and sign out.
You could spend hours each week to ensure accurate attendance tracking and record keeping, or you could spend as little as 10 minutes one time to configure iCare Software for strong attendance record keeping with added benefits to you and the parents you serve. Learn more about the process of implementing iCare’s Childcare Software in our getting started guide.