There are many internal and external reasons why effective child care attendance tracking is vital to a child care provider. While it’s possible to track attendance with traditional sign-in sheets, it can be intuitive and easier to reference in the long run if you work on streamlining your attendance tracking now - your future self will thank you.
Why Is Child Care Attendance Tracking So Important?
Child care attendance tracking is actually quite important for smooth operations within your child care organization. Child care attendance tracking can assist in predicting what staff and resources are sufficient. Billing and security are also major reasons to ensure accurate attendance tracking. Let’s dive deeper into why child care attendance tracking is important.
If a child care center provides transportation, they are legally required to take attendance before and after each trip.
For some children, child care is subsidized by the government. As a result of this, child care providers are required to keep the records of these children and report attendance on a regular basis in order to validate subsidies.
This may not be a "requirement" but if you are focused on improving your operations and growing your child care organization, it’s important to plan for the future. Part of planning ahead involves referencing the data that you have - and attendance can be a very valuable set of data to refer to.
Attendance can influence both short and long-term planning, including aspects of your operations such as enrollment numbers and child-staff ratio for adequate yet fiscally responsible staffing. Further, attendance can assist you in calculating full-time equivalency (FTE).
As a child care provider, your job is very important - but with that comes a lot of responsibility. When parents and guardians trust you with their child, the onus is then on you to ensure that children are safe and secure at all times.
Part of ensuring security is by tracking attendance with a sign-in and sign-out system. This means that only authorized pickup people can check each child out at the end of the day. Keeping a strong record of this minimizes your liability on this front, demonstrates to your children’s parents that you take children’s safety seriously and gives every involved peace of mind.
Do You Have A Legal Right To Track Your Child’s Location?
Of course, there are legal considerations when it comes to keeping track of children. As a parent, one can track their own child’s location legally as long as the child is under the age of 18. However, as a child care provider, this isn’t such an easy answer. For more information about children’s location, tracking, and children’s privacy, read this article by the Federal Trade Commission.
The best way to keep track of children is to keep regular attendance and make that a resounding priority amongst your team.
How Parents Can Ensure Child Attendance
A child’s attendance is not the sole responsibility of a child care provider - parents need to understand the importance of child care for their child and act accordingly to enforce it. When speaking with parents about child attendance, here are some tips and techniques to help both of you ensure children are receiving as much quality care as possible:
- Gently try to shift your child’s negative attendance patterns, such as faking sick or begging to stay home. Create more barriers to bad habits and reduce friction in acting on good habits.
- Form better habits; Make sure your child goes to school every day unless they are truly sick. This helps children to stop thinking about child care and education as an option and, rather, an element in their daily routine.
- Talk to teachers, counselors, or other parents if your child is worried or scared about going to kindergarten or school. Change is scary, and providing as much comfort and support as possible helps to make child care and school less daunting for children.
- Avoid scheduling medical appointments and extended trips when school is in session.
When you and parents work together, a child's early learning experiences will be far more positive, providing benefits for years to come.
How To Track Child Attendance Efficiently
Now that you know why attendance is so important, it’s time to discuss how you can accurately and efficiently track attendance, so it becomes just another seamless part of your daily routine.
Some child care providers tend to use physical paper sheets to track attendance, which is certainly the traditional and common method for tracking attendance, but it has its limitations. On the other hand, digital attendance tracking is a newer method for this vital child care task. Regardless of what you use, here are some tips for improving your child care attendance standards:
- Improve the sign-in sheet template.
- Create a dedicated sign-in sheet for each child - you may want to use separate sheets for each child if you worry about parents signing the wrong kid in/out on your records.
- Ensure enough copies of attendance tracking sheets, so you are never without a paper trail during busy morning and evening times.
- Review your attendance regularly - this helps you to find and correct errors. At the same time, they are still recent, rather than finding error months down the road.
- Consider implementing a digital attendance system to track your child’s attendance, records, and billing.
Early Learning Ventures has created Alliance CORE with child care providers in mind. Along with being an intuitive digital attendance tracking system, this child care management system is tailored for child care record keeping, child care licensing compliance, enrollment management and the various functions within billing.
Are you looking for more child care management information? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Child Care Management.
Our child care management system makes running your child care program simple and efficient. Get back to what's most important. You shouldn't have to spend more time on the administrative tasks than you do with children and staff.
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Do you run an early childhood association made up of child care providers? If so, check out our Ultimate Guide to Shared Service Alliance.
Header image courtesy of Jumpstory.