Communication with parents in a specific way, and on a daily basis, about the big and small events, activities and milestones of each child’s day in childcare is an essential means of connection between teachers and parents. If your program is not currently using a system of daily sheets to report to parents their child’s daily progress and developments, you are overlooking a valuable means of teacher-parent communication.
In our conversations with owners, we’ve learned that while most childcare programs DO use some sort of daily sheet system to facilitate this communication, many do not use them for preschool-aged or older children. Others use them for children of all ages in their program. Some use hand-written sheets, while others use a computer-based program to generate the daily report. There are many new technologies available for this purpose, including mobile apps that can be sent via smartphone. You may prefer to stick with a hand-written version, something to give to parents in a face-to-face interaction. Whatever system you prefer to use, this is a valuable tool to connect with parents and retain them as satisfied clients.
From my own experience, the daily sheet was a valuable way for me to reconnect with my children at the end of the day, asking about the day’s activities. I used the daily sheet as a prompt to ask my daughter Maeve to remember highlights, such as the color, shape, animal, number or letter of the day. These are just some of the ideas you can include on daily sheets. Teachers often highlight favorite play centers that children choose or playmates and activities that seemed to be extra special to them during the day. Some centers ask each child when they wake up from their nap to tell them what their favorite part of the day was and then include that information in the child’s own words. Whatever information you may choose to include, parents value the daily sheet as a specific means of reconnecting with their child.
The daily sheet is of particular value late in the day when centers often have substitutes or floating teachers arriving to cover the end of the day and entertaining the majority of parents’ questions about their children. This specific information is an invaluable tool for them to be ready to greet parents with the knowledge they seek about their child. Daily sheet use is an effective way to bridge the gap that might otherwise be apparent if a teacher doesn’t know what particulars happened in each child’s daycare experience, and such gaps can be real confidence and satisfaction killers from the parents’ perspective.
Use this valuable tool to keep withdrawal rates down and happily informed parents returning as your loyal customers. Daily sheets are a successful and easy way to prevent communication gaps in your program and make parents aware of the attentive service you provide.
Your “Success Assignment”: Analyze your daily sheet reporting & communication system as it currently exists. How could you improve the system to “tighten your loyalty fence” with parents? Can you change your daily sheet content to better give parents a memorable, heart-warming experience? Do you have issues in the transition from lead teacher to “floater” that need to be addressed? Examine your daily communication process with parents and brainstorm.
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