Whether you’re a classroom teacher or childcare director, proactive, ongoing, and open family communication is critical to your job. Parents want and need to know about the ins and outs of their child’s day when they’re not around. Infant daily reports are a traditional communication tool to keep parents and providers on the same page.
This guide will show you how to create effective infant daily reports and how digital daycare daily reports can improve your day-to-day operations and strengthen communication with families.
What is an infant daily report?
An infant daily report is a simple form with space for teachers to give families updates about their child’s time at daycare. Whether printed or digital, a daycare daily report is a straightforward document that outlines the details parents care about the most.
Why are infant daily reports important?
Infant daily reports matter because daily family communication matters. In any early learning setting, building strong relationships with families is important. Every parent wants to know that their child is valued as an individual. A personalized daily report is one small but important piece of this puzzle. No matter how busy a parent might seem, they want to know about their child’s day when they are apart.
Think about the conversations you have at morning drop-off. It’s helpful to know if a child was up three times in the night or if their parent is traveling for work. These are important pieces of information to help you set their child up for success that day and know what to expect regarding mood and behavior.
The infant daily report returns this favor to families at the end of the day. For example, knowing whether or not their child napped, how much of their lunch or snacks they ate, and if they had any bathroom accidents gives the parent an idea of what kind of evening they might have together as a family.
What to include in your daycare daily report forms
A quick internet search will reveal an infinite number of daycare and preschool daily report templates you can download and use in your classroom. Whether you’re interested in creating your own or want to make sure to choose the right template, here are the most critical features of any daycare daily report.
Add space for the child’s name and the date of the report. This helps ensure that the correct messages are sent to the appropriate families.
Child’s mood and behavior
Families want to know how their child felt and behaved that day. Were they fussy or struggling to stay awake? Did they have a normal, happy day, or were they more easily irritated?
Mood and behavior information helps families know what to expect when they pick up their child from daycare. It helps them continue with their feeding, sleep, and discipline in a way that corresponds with their time at daycare and the information on their infant daily report. This knowledge is beneficial for families of nonverbal children or children who are too young to express their emotions with words.
The information you provide in the food section of the daycare daily report will depend on the children's ages. For babies, what time was their bottle feeding that day, and how much did they consume? For toddlers and older children, how much of their meals and other snacks did they eat? Food information helps families keep an eye on their child’s health and determine whether their child ate enough to help them supplement accordingly.
When children consistently don’t sleep enough, it can be a sign of a health concern. On the daycare daily report, include the number and duration of each nap. Parents will be thankful to get a heads up about a potentially grumpy, sleep-deprived toddler!
Add space for the child’s “potty activity” on your preschool daily report. The columns in this section will vary based on children’s ages. For babies, parents will want to know when their diapers were changed and what type of bowel movement occurred. For older toddlers, it’s helpful for parents to know where they went to the bathroom (in a diaper or potty) to guide potty training and watch for any concerning patterns.
What they learned
Including a few details about the themes and activities you taught will equip parents to talk to their children about what they learned and give parents a look into the valuable education the child is receiving at your preschool.
Notes or requests for families
The preschool daily report can be a great space to talk with families through notes. A notes section can be where you give an overall summary of the child’s day, request more supplies, such as diapers, or send families a reminder.
Space for additional notes
These blank spaces on the preschool daily report are useful for parent comments and any other messages you need to send that don’t fit in other sections.
How to create an infant daily report
At its core, an infant daily report is a valuable tool for preschool teachers and parents. They’re a tool that helps daycare centers communicate with parents and record a child’s progress. They’re a useful resource to help families prepare for the rest of their child’s day and reinforce what their child learned at preschool.
Here’s how to create a preschool daily report that records each child’s development and strengthens parent-teacher relationships.
Personalized for each child
The most important feature of a preschool daily report is that it is specific to each child. You can use the same template for everyone in your class, but the information on the report will need to be personalized to reflect how each child’s day went.
Cover the basics
At the very least, you want to cover the basics of eating, sleeping, and using the bathroom. You want parents to know how much their child ate, whether or not they slept and for how long, and how their diaper or potty training went that day. This will be slightly different for each age range: infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
Summarize the day
Beyond the basics, a high-level summary of a child’s day can be helpful for a parent. Was the child generally happy? Was it a hard day? Was the morning great, but the afternoon more difficult? Be sure to give a final overview of their day.
Go above and beyond for families
To go above and beyond for families, your infant daily report should also give insight into the day's activities. Did their child spend a lot of time in the block area? Did their child play with some specific friends? Did their child show excellent behavior during class or lend a helping hand to a fellow student? Did the whole class do a special science experiment? These kinds of details help with family engagement in their child’s learning.
You can also add notes about health and any incidents that might have occurred throughout the day. Naturally, parents will want to know if their child fell and hurt themselves or experienced an allergic reaction during snack time.
As childcare centers continue to navigate COVID-19, it can also be helpful to include a temperature section on your infant daily report. Recording this information will remind families that you’re proactively monitoring the health and safety of your students every day, and families will appreciate having a running log of their child’s health details.
Ask your families for feedback
If you’re curious about what other information families want to see on their preschool daily reports, send a simple survey to collect their feedback. Once you receive the results, evaluate what families are requesting. Perhaps there’s a piece of information that multiple families are interested in or confusion about how your current daily reports are formatted. Make edits to your existing templates accordingly, and remember to let families know you’re listening to their input and acting on it.
Daily report templates for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers
Each age group (infants, toddlers, and preschoolers) will have different information that’s important to share in a daily report. Here, we’ll break down the basics of what should go into the ideal daily sheet for each age range.
We’ve also included free, printable daycare daily sheet templates for you to use for each age group!
Infant daily reports
When creating and filling out an infant daily report, it’s important to get very specific about each infant's eating, sleeping, and diaper changes. You’ll want to list the times and the results of bottle feedings, meals, naps, and diaper changes. When the infant was given a bottle and how much they consumed are equally important details. This is also true with napping and diapers — the when and the what are both important for families to know.
Toddler daily reports
Your toddlers are likely on a group schedule, meaning they eat and sleep roughly at the same time every day. This doesn’t mean your daily sheet doesn’t need to report on these things, but the focus of what you report on will be different.
Instead of the timing and quantity of bottles, you’ll want to highlight the types of foods offered at snacks and lunch and how much a child ate.
Once your toddlers are all on a one-nap-a-day schedule, it’s less about timing and more about the duration of the nap. Though, if a child falls asleep really late, it’s worth mentioning that to parents.
The toddler years are often when potty training is being introduced, so make sure to include space for those details as well.
Preschool daily reports
The focus of the preschool years is much more on learning and school readiness, and your daily sheets should reflect this. You can still include details about naps and meals, but the emphasis should be on the learning that happened throughout the day.
This serves two purposes:
- It allows families to continue the learning at home.
- It showcases the work you are doing to support their child.
For many adults outside of the early education world, seeing how play connects to learning is difficult. By explicitly sharing how the activities and play in your classroom connect to school readiness goals, families will feel confident in their child's care and education.
Paper daily sheets versus digital reporting
Daycare daily sheets are a powerful tool for building trust and strong relationships with your families. However, when you’re using pen and paper, it can be hard to stay on top of filling out forms for every child. Paper daily sheets can also be time-consuming for your staff, hard for families to keep track of, and even costly — paying for paper and ink adds up quickly!
For these reasons (and many more), moving your daily sheet process from paper to digital is one of the best things you can do for your childcare business. By using childcare management software, like brightwheel, you can effectively cut down on busy work, improve communication with families, and most importantly, focus on the work that matters—educating and developing young minds.
There are four key benefits to using digital reporting instead of paper daily sheets.
1. Effortlessly maintain your records
Oftentimes, paper daily sheets are easily lost in the shuffle between pick-up and home. They are difficult to organize or refer back to if families want to keep a record of their children’s activities and milestones. With digital daily reports, parents won’t need to worry about misplacing their paper forms. Families will always know where to find each day’s report and can easily look up past logs to see what their child did on any given day. Digital reporting also allows teachers and staff to update families in real-time on their child’s activities, helping families feel more connected and engaged with their child and their center.
2. Cut down on administrative costs
Paper daily sheets also require a lot of resources. The cost of paper and ink adds up quickly, and it’s time-consuming to print enough sheets for each student. If you make any edits to your preschool daily report template, you’ll also need to reprint each form, and you might end up wasting outdated printed forms. Digital reporting eliminates the need for printing, saving you and your staff valuable time and expenses. With digital reporting, you can easily customize the activities you log for each student based on their needs, your center’s programming, or even unexpected circumstances such as COVID-19. You’ll no longer spend hours updating templates and wasting supplies.
3. Save valuable time for your staff every day
Paper forms can also create unnecessary busywork for your staff and teachers. Writing each student’s daily sheet twice — one copy for parents and one for internal records — takes a lot of time and is hard to do thoroughly and accurately. Digital daily reports allow your staff to work quicker and smarter. By logging reports online, your staff can input information efficiently, cut down on redundant tasks, and include greater detail and precision in each child’s report. Most importantly, digital reporting helps your teachers focus on working directly with children instead of managing paperwork.
4. Keep your center safe and healthy
Digital reports can also help your center minimize the spread of germs. As many childcare providers continue to reduce their face-to-face interactions with families, digital reports eliminate the need to exchange paper and other materials during pick-up time, helping to keep your center safe and in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines.
Improve your daycare daily report forms today
Daily reports for childcare centers are a valuable tool for connecting with families, tracking milestones and ongoing care, and improving staff coordination. Digitizing your childcare daily report forms provides even more benefits to families and staff, helping your staff work smarter while providing families with more personal insights into their child's daily progress.
Brightwheel is the complete solution for early education providers, enabling you to streamline your center’s operations and build a stand-out reputation. Brightwheel connects the most critical aspects of running your center—including sign in and out, parent communications, tuition billing, and licensing and compliance—in one easy-to-use tool, along with providing best-in-class customer support and coaching. Brightwheel is trusted by thousands of early education centers and millions of parents. Learn more at mybrightwheel.com.