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.
Child care forms, especially daily report forms, are an integral part of the workings of a child care center for staff and parents alike.
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. Child care staff use daily report forms 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 child care reports providing insight into what their child did each day and how they're feeling when a parent is not around.
Despite the upsides of childcare daily reports, keeping on top of them is often more difficult than it has to be. This is because many child care and daycare centers still use paper forms and because processing these forms manually is time-consuming and error-prone. Moving away from paper to digital is the best way to make it easier to handle daily report forms for child care. Read on to learn how using technology can help improve parent-teacher communication, lower your administrative costs, and enable your staff to work smarter.
Digital daily reports improve communication with parents
Unlike paper forms, digital child care reports 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 child care form is accessible online, and student progress reports are delivered in real-time, making it easy for multiple parents to access each form when needed.
Digital forms can be particularly helpful when it comes time to sit down and discuss a child's progress with parents. They make it easy for parents to prepare to meet with staff at your child care or daycare center, 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 daily reports provide an easy-to-access starting point for a conversation between parents and staff.
Beyond just the practicalities, child care management software 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 daily reports help lower administrative costs
Printing separate copies of child care daily report forms 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 your daily child care 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 daycare 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 child care 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. Child care daily apps like brightwheel allow staff to 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 records, historical forms, and irregularities are automatically collected, cutting time staff has to spend organizing this information and further reducing administrative costs.
Digital daily reports let your staff work smarter
Digital child care daily reports increase efficiency and give your staff more time to complete the work that really matters. Online 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 on a digital child care platform. Less time spent filling out daily report forms and handling one-time tasks means more time working directly with children.
Paper forms can also make it more time consuming for daycare staff to keep track of children's day-to-day activities internally. Rather than writing out key information twice — once on a daily sheet for parents and once internally — a digital daily reporting 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 child care 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 daily reports 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
Daily reports for child care are a valuable tool for connecting with parents, tracking milestones and ongoing care, and improving staff coordination. Digitizing your child care 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 using paper child care forms, you can download our child care daily report template to help you create your own form.
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