As I have said before, providers wear many hats. Especially those of us that are home childcare providers. That’s one of the reasons why finding strategies to make our workload a little lighter can be tremendous. You know the old saying “Work smarter, not harder”? Well, let me show you just how I automate some of my provider superpowers so that I can concentrate on spending more time with the children and not drowning in paperwork. Let’s look at how to automate your childcare work week.
How to Automate Your Childcare Work
While having the basics like a contract, policies, and schedule is a great starting point, finding ways to streamline or automate some of our tasks can make a big difference in your workload and actually help you get more things done.
You’ve got Email
Years ago I used to print out all of the enrollment forms for a new client. Boy did my printer and ink cartridge make me pay. When you think about how many forms that really is, between the state forms and our own enrollment forms (like a six-page contract), that can add up quickly. Can I tell you how upset this would make me when a client didn’t even wind up enrolling?!
Some years ago I realized that instead of me printing out the forms and then mailing them or having the client return to pick them up, why don’t I just send the forms through the email?
Can you say – Duh!
Most people have printers at home (or have access one at their jobs) so they could just as easily print the forms out themselves. automate your work
So what I did was set up a file folder on my computer just for enrollment forms. Now whenever I have a new enrollment, I simply email all of the forms in that folder. The parents can either print out the forms at home or complete the digital copy and return them by fax or email.
I have found that having letters or email templates can greatly cut down time consumed on routine tasks.
What do I mean? automate your work
Well, for example, as providers we are tasked with keeping up the immunization records for our clients. One way I am able to stay on top of this is by utilizing a pre-written letter template that I send out to all my parents during “Immunization Week” annually. I use the same letter each year, just change the date.
Listen, this is easy.
Other templates I use are weekly reminders that I send out to the parents right before tuition is due, policy ticklers, holiday reminders, etc. Having pre-written notes takes the emotion out of the task and allows me to deliver specific information about what is needed clearly and completely. automate your work
Listen, this is easy. Just take the next email, note or letter that you write for a recurring task and save it on your computer. The most you will need to do is pull that up the next time and change the recipients.
If you have a website (of course you do) make it work harder for you. Put as much on your website as you can.
Consider posting your holiday schedule, that will eliminate parents inquiring when you’re closed. How about posting your weekly menu or your sick and illness policy. You could even post your whole handbook right on your website for parents to easily reference.
Put as much info on the website as you think would be beneficial to your current clients as well as prospective clients.
Having a weekly task calendar can really help manage all the hat-wearing a provider has. I actually assign certain tasks to each weekday so that I can manage the majority of the tasks I need to complete during the week and not get backlogged or overwhelmed with all that needs to get done.
On Monday, I review a child’s file for current or updated documents. On Tuesday, I enter tuition payments from the previous week. I enter any new children in our database on Wednesday. Thursday I work on the schedule and menu for next week and if I can I grocery shop for the coming week as well. Friday is usually busy so I reserve it for dropping off bank deposits and payroll.
Full disclosure, I don’t always get to every daily task. But having a weekly schedule helps tremendously and allows me to focus on certain individual tasks spread throughout the week.
Not Everything Can Be Automated
Providers work long hours and it sure would be nice to be off work and enjoy a weekend
Truthfully, not everything we do as childcare providers during the week can be automated.
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could do all the diaper changes on Monday for the whole week?
Well until I find a way to make that happen or find the clone button on my laptop, I will continue to do as much work ahead of time to help shorten my work week.
Think You Will Automate Your Childcare Work?
After all, providers work long hours and at the end of the week, it sure would be nice to be off work and enjoy a weekend before we start it all over again. Challenge yourself to see if you can find ways for how to automate your work this week.
Did I forget anything? What do you do to get it all done? I would love to hear it. Leave a comment below.
- Things I Added to My Contract
- Essential Policies for Child Care Providers
- Daily Schedule for Child Care