How to Organize Your Child Care Home
As with any good business, organization is the key.
When starting your daycare, do not forget about the paperwork aspect. The organization is the key. Keeping good records on each child in your care is an essential component of any good child care business.
How you choose to keep your files current is entirely up to you. Some choose to use folders and file cabinets, others find it more efficient to purchase child care management software. Either is fine, and a combination of the two is even better.
There are certain documents you will find useful to maintain for all your children. If you are regulated then your licensor will supply most of them. These forms are:
Demographics, allergies, information about the child’s interests/special needs, parent employment, etc.
Emergency contact information.
One copy for your files, one to be kept in a portable bag in case of an emergency
Most states require current immunization information of all children in care. Whether regulated or unregulated, it’s a good idea to have it
Layout all your policies in clear black and white for your families to acknowledge. It may save time and waylay disputes later on
This can not be emphasized enough. Like the handbook/policies sheet, this document is worth its weight in gold. Outline all the agreement stipulations and have both parties sign. Be certain to include the tuition amount and when payment is due. Days and times of attendance are also important components of any written agreement. If you are instituting any late fees or other fees include that verbiage in the contract as well. Now is your opportunity to reiterate certain policies in your handbook. This may be your paid vacation days or the fact that you will or will not supply diapers. This contract is legally binding once it bears the signature of both you and your clients.
Daily take home sheets
- These can be as simple or complex as you feel comfortable with. You may choose not to offer daily sheets at all as part of your program, and that’s ok, too.
You will want to obtain and keep on file written permission for
- Application of sunscreen
- Field trips
- Water play such as sprinklers, pools, etc.
If you are accepting any time of child care subsidy through the State, Military, Native American societies, etc. then you will want to keep copies of all communications from such agencies in the child’s folder and likely in a centralized folder. Whatever you can do to save yourself time and headaches later down the line is a good thing.
Keep active credits and debits log that tracks all financial transactions such as payments, expenses, mileage, household bills, food program income, etc. This log will be critical to have come tax season!
As previously mentioned, much of the above can be obtained from your licensor or child care resource agency. Your contract and handbook can be entirely drafted by yourself (handwritten or typed) or you may use one of many publicly available and invaluable forms altered to your specific needs. The same goes for all the documents listed in this article.
Computerized software is a good alternative to paper files. They do an outstanding job of keeping all files current, organized, and readily available. Some programs even track financial data.