How to Organize your Daycare Paperwork
Staying on top of all the paperwork you need for childcare is more than a notion. This job is not for the faint of heart. There are mounds and mounds of papers that need to be stored, and you even need to be able to find them again when you need them, imagine that. It can be very overwhelming.
There are a few simple tricks and tips you can use to make your life a whole lot easier when it comes to organizing paperwork. Let’s start with the big one, TAXES! For your taxes you need every receipt ever known to man, along with your utility bills, bank statements, check stubs and payment records, just about anything you can think of. For more tax information, check out the blog for an article coming soon. Where do you put all of this stuff you so you can find it again?
Have a place to organize your daycare receipts and papers
You need a shoe box or drawer to plop all of your receipts in. Let’s face it, every time we clean out our purse, we don’t have time to log every receipt in there. You can have a place to plop and run and later, when you have a few minutes during nap to do some paperwork, you can grab out what’s in there and log it on a spreadsheet or in a notebook. Then when the end of the year comes, your totals are ready to be figured and you aren’t spending a month logging receipts after you have already forgotten what you bought.
Log your daycare receipts regularly
I would recommend logging NO LESS than once a month so things are still fresh on your mind. Some providers do it weekly. I’m not going to lie, my first years of daycare, I did it all at the end of the year. Every year I swore I never would again and then I would do it again. I try to start logging at the beginning of the year and generally I make it through about October before I fall back off the wagon, but any receipt that got logged in a timely manner gets you a step closer to victory.
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Another thing you need a plopping place for is your other bills, stubs, payments, etc. I have a drawer in my filing cabinet and after I pay the bills, I shove them in tat drawer. Bank statements, and my husband’s work papers go in there too and about once a month I try to file it all. It would be even better if you would file things as they come in, but for me, it’s probably never going to happen.
Keep good childcare records throughout the year.
Let’s talk about how to keep track of attendance, meals, and payments. I use Tom Copeland’s Calendar Keeper as a sign in and out sheet for my daycare and I absolutely LOVE it! I log my payments right in there with the sign in and out. At the end of the year, I have a handy place with all the info and I can transfer it to a spreadsheet and get my totals within a few minutes. I love doing that! I also use my sign in and out sheet from my calendar keeper to do my food paperwork at the end of each day (or two or three) I try to keep it up daily, but I just don’t always.
Each year, when I get my Calendar Keeper, I cut all the pages out of it and punch holes in them and stick them in a three ring binder. I have the calendar on one side that holds all of my important obligations, and on the other side is my daily sheet. This way I can have everything at my fingertips. I have a book shelf that is writing height, and it’s on the top shelf.
Keep all your daycare records together for easy access
In the back of the notebook I keep the school calendar, my waiting list, my grocery list for the cycle menu, and other important info I need on occasion. On the shelf under my notebook, I store my purse, my papers for our daily activities, my garden map and plans, and any other projects I have going on paper are in that pile too as well as things I need to go through. If I see a great idea in a magazine, I put it in that pile to work through later.
There is a bulletin board above this notebook with all of the required display items posted on it. My license, my emergency phone numbers, my fire and tornado drills, my cycle menu and anything else I have to have posted for DHS or the food program. The exception to that is my liability insurance information. We are required to post that at the entrance of the daycare, so it’s at the front door.
We are just getting started on the paperwork that we have to keep up with so let’s move to my DHS notebook. I have one three ring binder in which I keep ALL of the papers my licensing worker needs to see when she comes. She tells me how much she loves my notebook and how she wishes all her homes and centers would use it.
My notebook has my CPR/First aide certificates for myself and my husband as well as my vehicle insurance verification forms in the front pocket. The first section has all of my training certificates and my childcare organization memberships as well as our OSBI background checks. I use dividers like you used in high school to separate the sections and it helps her find just what she needs when she needs it.
The second section of the notebook has my child information forms, shot records, medication permission slips, transportation permission slips, a copy of everyone’s signed contract, their food program enrollment form, and any injury reports for that child. Each child’s information is stapled in a group so when I need to find something of theirs, I pull the whole “file” out at once.
In the next section, I have my policy and procedures and animal vaccinations. The last section of the notebook has my stars program compliance information. In recent years, I quit the stars program, so I no longer use that section, but that’s where I would store all of my necessary stars paperwork if I were in the program. If you want to see what I left stars, click here.
My next notebook contains blank copies of all the forms for enrollment and the mandatory food paperwork I am required to give to parents upon enrollment. I have a section for contracts. My contracts have a blank spot for the child’s name, parent’s names, and days of attendance and total fees per week. I can write all of this stuff in when we are discussing them at sign up, and they are in the notebook ready to use. Then there is a section for DHS enrollment forms, one for food program enrollment forms, one for medication/transportation permissions, and one with copies of program goals, policies and procedures, and food program sheets I’m required to give, or all of the parent information items.
Oklahoma childcare requirements
Next let’s talk about our compliance files. In Oklahoma we are required to have a file for parents continuing our last few monitoring reports from our licensing worker, Parents are allowed to ask to see it any time they want to check out how we are doing with licensing. I also keep my licensing requirements in it. I do this so I can easily locate them and so I can show them to any parents who would like to see them.
Let’s talk about the new FBI background checks next. They are required to be kept under lock and key so if you have a lock box or safe, that would be a good place for them, but if you don’t, you can do what a few friends and I did and lock them in a bag. This bag is like a bank bag with a lock and key and it’s not able to be cut open. I keep this in the back of my filing cabinet behind my files.
There are lots of new regulations in Oklahoma. If you need help navigating through them, click here for help.
My food paperwork is done online on Minute Menu, so I have my posted menu and other required notices on my bulletin board, and I have my in and out sheets on my notebook on the shelf. I take them out of the binder and carry them to the computer to do my daily paperwork and then put them back again. This works great for me. I love it.
Tell me what you do to keep your life sane with your paperwork?
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