This post is part of our series that covers all the basics you need to create or update your program's administrative paperwork. Read more at 7 Child Care Forms You Need To Run A Better Business.
Communicating with parents on a daily basis about the milestones and activities children are experiencing is an essential part of the connection between staff and parents. Staff members use each daily report to identify any changes in a child's behavior and to keep a record of how each child is progressing. Parents, too, benefit with daily report forms providing insight into what their child did each day and how they're feeling when a parent is not around.
Despite the upsides, keeping on top of child care daily report forms is often more difficult than it has to be. This is because many child care centers still use paper forms and processing these forms manually is time-consuming and error-prone. Moving away from paper to digital is the best way to make handling your child care daily report forms easier. Here's how using technology can help improve communication with parents, lower your administrative costs, and enable your staff to work smarter.
Digital child care daily report forms improve communication with parents
Unlike paper forms, digital child care daily report forms never get lost, crumpled, or spilled on. Parents always know where to find each day's report, and they can quickly track their child's progress by looking back over past reports. Each form is accessible online, and progress reports are delivered in real-time, making it easy for multiple parents to access each form when needed.
This can be particularly helpful when it comes time to sit down and discuss a child's progress with parents. It's easy for parents to prepare to meet with a childcare staff member, because they can look over progress reports to see that everything has been going smoothly for their child. Unlike physical forms which can get lost or ruined, digital childcare reports provide an easy-to-access starting point for a conversation between parents and staff.
Beyond just the practicalities, a child care management solution like brightwheel lets you engage more closely with families. Staff can easily add photos, videos, messages, and other details that parents appreciate. These personal touches help parents feel confident in their choice of child care program and the thoughtful service your staff provides.
Digital child care daily report forms help lower administrative costs
Printing separate copies of a child care daily report form for each child every day can quickly add up, both in terms of paying for printing supplies like ink and paper and the time spent printing reports. Managing these reports digitally can help reduce this spend, helping your staff utilize their time (and your money) more efficiently.
With paper forms, making changes to your daily reports takes time and means reprinting each form—sometimes multiple times—until you're happy with the end result. It's likely you'll also end up wasting forms with older versions of questions that can no longer be used. Digital reports, on the other hand, are easy to change based on what's most important for any given child at any given time without spending more money or wasting supplies.
It isn't just costs associated with physical printing materials that are saved — it's the time it takes a staff member to inventory office supplies, keep paper stocked, and wrestle with jammed printers. Digital forms require no repurchasing and no maintenance on the part of childcare staff.
Child care management tools also have automation for routine tasks built in. With brightwheel, staff can easily update the app throughout the day and send out forms with a single click rather than stuffing cubbies or backpacks with printed reports during pickup. Attendance, prior forms, and irregularities are automatically collected, cutting time staff has to spend organizing this information and further reducing administrative costs.
Digital child care daily report forms let your staff work smarter
The increase in efficiency gives your staff more time to complete the work that really matters. Digital forms can be completed more quickly, ensuring information is accurate and always up-to-date, and tasks like parent reminders and special requests can easily be handled in a digital system. Less time spent filling out forms and handling one-time tasks means more time can be spent working directly with children.
Paper forms can also make it more time consuming for staff to keep track of children's day-to-day activities internally. Rather than writing out key information twice — once on a sheet for parents and once internally — a digital system neatly captures everything in one place. Staff can cut down their time on redundant tasks without losing detail or precision.
Every child is different, and digital daily report forms help meet their unique needs. Unlike paper forms, digital reports can easily be customized to meet the individual needs of each child. Adding comments for each child is fast and easy, and learning milestones can be shared instantly with parents. This flexibility lets your staff provide a more personal touch while also reducing their time spent managing each report.
Digital report forms are particularly valuable when sharing information with multiple staff members. No longer is one staff member responsible for maintaining a stack of report forms and ensuring each staff member completes forms consistently. Administrators, teachers, and temporary staff alike each have access to the same information, which is helpful when parents have questions about their child's experience.
Improve your child care daily report forms today
Child care daily report forms are a valuable tool for connecting with parents, tracking milestones and ongoing care, and improving staff coordination. Digitizing your daily report forms provides even more benefits to both parents and staff, helping your staff work smarter while providing parents with more personal insights into their child's care.
If you're still looking to keep using paper forms, you can download our daily child care report form template to help you create your own report form.
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