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Your Guide to Daycare Sign-In & Sign-Out Sheets (Free Printable Templates)

Your Guide to Daycare Sign-In & Sign-Out Sheets (Free Printable Templates)

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This post is part of our series that covers all the basics you need to create or update your childcare program's administrative paperwork. Read more at 7 Child Care Forms You Need To Run A Better Business.

The childcare forms you use for your early childhood education program are often so simple that you may easily overlook their potential for improvement. 

Take childcare sign-in sheets, for example. Daily attendance sheets are vital in accounting for children's whereabouts in your care and gathering accurate attendance data for licensing record keeping and billing purposes. 

Optimizing your childcare center or preschool's check-in experience can make the process easier for parents and staff. Optimization can also save your childcare business time, money, and frustration.

Let's look at the pros and cons of traditional childcare sign-in methods and explore the benefits of moving to a more modern, digital solution for child check-in and attendance tracking.

Traditional pen-and-paper daycare sign-in sheets

Childcare sign-in sheets are typically structured one of two ways: 

  • Each child has their own check-in sheet that records their movements throughout the week
  • All children's whereabouts are noted on a new sheet every week

Both have benefits and drawbacks to consider before choosing the suitable method for your program.

 

Daycare sign-in sheets per childSign-in sheet per child

Pros:

This method stores all of a child's attendance information in one place. You don't need to cross-reference an entire class roster to tabulate which days or how many sessions a child has attended. 

If you bill parents based on how many days a child comes to your childcare or daycare center, or if you have a surcharge for certain activities, attendance sheets by child can make calculating invoices easy.

A child's sign-in sheet also gives parents a concise overview of their attendance and drop-off times, and its information remains relatively confidential.

Cons:

Customized daycare sign-in and out sheets can make drop-off and pick-up more hectic for parents, who have to find the right paper to sign. You’ll also have more sheets to keep track of, store, and file.

This method also makes calculating total attendance more difficult, as you must consult each child's attendance record to reach a group total. In addition, this can make adding up business income and expenses more time-consuming.

 

child-care-sign-in-sheet-image-1

 

Daycare sign-in sheets per week

 

Sign-sheet per week

Pros:

Having one sign-in sheet per week is much less paper for staff and parents to deal with at drop-off. In addition, it can simplify your preschool or childcare center's morning procedures and reduce some of the sign-in chaos.

It is also easier on your bottom line to print one sign-in sheet per week rather than printing separate sheets for each child. Using one sheet per week will also take up much less storage space at your center.

Tracking children's attendance by week makes it easy to work with your weekly or monthly attendance numbers. You can also see who participated in which activities, which is convenient for calculating weekly or monthly costs and expenses.

Cons:

If you split attendance at your childcare center by days of the week — such as an M/W/F group and a Tu/Th group — you will need to print more than one attendance sheet every Monday morning. If you have a more flexible daily schedule, a weekly sheet may not be able to accommodate this.

Additionally, it is harder to see the attendance of one child at a glance and you will still need a separate sign-out sheet.

Paper sign-in sheets are not a one-size-fits-all solution. What you choose to use depends on how your childcare center runs, how many children you have, and your scheduling and billing practices.

Digital sign-in sheets: The best of both worlds

Digital sign-in and sign-out solutions allow families to sign in quickly and securely. You and your childcare center staff can view sign-in information by child, classroom, or length of time. And the best news? Digital sign-in sheets are more manageable for parents to use than paper forms.

With digital sign-in sheets, parents can use an app to sign their children into child care. Every enrolled child will be in your digital system, and parents can select their child's picture on your digital device. Then, they either digitally sign their signature, like signing an e-receipt on a credit card screen, or can use a unique four-digit passcode to mark their children as dropped off or picked up securely.

When you are ready to look at your attendance data to calculate bills, check tardiness, or late pick-ups, you can quickly run a check-in report that allows you to sort that data.

You also don't have to worry about storage — all your check-in data is stored in the cloud for easy access when you need it, and no file cabinets are required. This will save you administrative costs of paper, ink, and storage, making recordkeeping a breeze.

Integrating the monthly attendance sheet with your childcare billing system is one of the most convenient features of using a digital sign-in and sign-out system. Rather than tally the number of sessions a child has attended or which days they attended, you can automatically generate an invoice based on what has been logged in your digital sign-in system. 

We recommend seriously considering a digital childcare solution because of this flexibility. In addition, the configuration options and automated reporting of electronic sign-in save you and your staff time both at check-in and when it comes time to look at your records for billing, enrollment, or preparing for a parent meeting.

Digital sign-in and sign-out is just as secure as paper sign-in because each parent has a unique code to verify their identity. Parents can quickly get in and out during drop-off without waiting for staff to oversee the check-in process. 

An efficient, digital drop-off means that families and teachers can improve the quality of their connections in the morning. It also means more time spent greeting parents and welcoming children.

With brightwheel’s check-in system, you can also use a QR code scanning feature. Parents use their device to scan a QR code at your center to quickly and securely sign their child in. Parents can scan to check their child in, add notes, and even sign in multiple children at once.

Simplify sign-in for success

Digital sign-in systems minimize your check-in efforts and maximize your ability to work with daily attendance data. You can use a digital sign-in system to reduce friction during hectic times while maintaining a secure process to manage attendance daily. 

Plus, digital systems do the lion's share of the administrative work for you when it comes to billing, attendance records, and calculating costs.

If you choose to use paper sign-in, think carefully about whether a weekly sign-in sheet or a sign-in sheet for each child works best. Then, you can check out our free templates for weekly sheets and sheets for each child and decide what is best for you!

At brightwheel, we are immensely grateful for everyone making an impact in early education. Thank you for all that you do!

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