Handling paperwork can be one of the most overwhelming parts of having a home daycare. Check out how to simplify handling paperwork for your home daycare.
Handling paperwork-productive solutions for daycare providers
Creating and printing daycare contracts and other forms for parents to fill out, filling out daycare paperwork, organizing and filing paperwork. It’s never-ending in the home daycare business. But there are ways to get things done that simplify the process and help you know where your stored paperwork is when you need it.
Ever have a visit from DHS and not be able to find the paperwork your licensing specialist needs? What about tax time? Is that ever a confusing nightmare of receipts and forms? I’ve been there and I’ve felt like I was drowning in paperwork from every side in this job. I’ve been doing home daycare for over 25 years and I’ve come up with a few ways to simplify the process.
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There are a million forms to make, print and have parents fill out. Daycare contracts and policies, enrollment forms, medication permission, and so on. The first thing that will help is storing them on your computer in a file together. I like to title all of my enrollment documents little sprouts so I can quickly look for them on the drive. Little sprouts contract, little sprouts business policy and etc.
Having a file or notebook to put all of these once they are filled out will keep them in a safe spot for your licensing visit. Here’s more on how to prepare for DHS licensing.
Filling out paperwork
Once you have all of the enrollment forms filled out and filed for your kids records, you still have to find a system to handle daily, weekly, monthly and yearly paperwork. Handling the regularly recurring paperwork can feel pretty overwhelming at times, but getting things done so you can have family time is important.
Daily, you’ll have daycare kids sign in and outs and keeping track of meals served. You’ll have to fill out your food program paperwork daily as well. If you do lesson plans, you’ll have to fill those out daily, weekly or monthly, whatever works for you. Weekly you’ll have to record payments received. Monthly you’ll need to log expenses for your taxes and finish and turn in food paperwork.
And yearly daycare paperwork includes income reports and taxes as well as renewing licenses, subsidy contracts, yearly paperwork for parents to renew, and things like that. You may have certifications that need to be renewed yearly or every few years.
Have a time for filling out paperwork every day. I like to do it as soon as the kids leave before I get distracted doing other things. You need to choose the time that works best for you. I don’t have small kids at home, so I have a lot of freedom in my schedule to do things the way I want. If you have kids, you’ll have to care for them when you need to.
But if you let the paperwork pile up, it’s far more overwhelming. We’ve all waited until the month was over to start our food paperwork. And besides the fact that we’re not supposed to for food program regulations, it just makes it much harder to complete. Be kind to yourself and keep up with it regularly.
Just sit down and work on paperwork for at least 15 minutes and see how much you can get done. You’ll be surprised at how much that actually is. Find a quiet place, put your head down and focus.
Organizing paperwork with binders
I love to use binders to organize my paperwork. I order a Tom Copeland calendar keeper every year. I cut out the pages and place the in and out forms on one side with the calendar for that month on the opposite page so I can see them at the same time. I use this calendar to plan and record everything. I love it. I have that in a binder with my waiting list in the back and all my important phone numbers in the front. I keep my grocery lists in there for food buying as well.
I have another binder with enrollment forms, insurance verifications, pet immunizations, training certificates and membership certificates for my DHS worker to review when she comes. I keep this on a shelf near my regular notebook. It’s labeled DHS. These binders will help you keep your life in order and make your licensing visits shorter. Your DHS worker will love you for it too.
There are other papers that need to be posted at the front door, by the phone, and on my bulletin board for parents, the food program and DHS. These forms include my license, menus, WIC brochure, drill records, notices to parents, and emergency phone numbers.
There is such volume of papers sometimes it can be overwhelming, but if you have a system in place for where each thing goes, you will get in the routine of having everything in its place. Your days will run more smoothly when you can find what you need.
You’ll need a filing cabinet or tote, two binders, a good system for your computer storage, and a drawer to put receipts in for expenses. If you keep everything in a good location when you first start, everything will be simpler throughout the year when handling paperwork.
It’s a great idea to put reminders in your phone to help you get things done. You can have one at the end of the day for daily tasks. Another alarm can go off on the weekend when you do your weekly tasks. And another on the first or last day of the month to remind you to do your monthly tasks.
You’ll have to arrange the jobs in the categories that work best for you. Some people log expense receipts weekly, some monthly, and some wait til the end of the year. You can do what works for you. I can tell you, the more often you do it, the easier it is.
You’ll also find that the more you do these tasks, the faster you’ll become at them. Practice always makes perfect. Forming good habits will become easier. Once you do something for a while, it becomes second nature. Check out more productivity solutions for daycare providers. Preparing for tax time, finding time to get things done, and more.
For more help in staying organized and planning out your day, check these productivity tools out on etsy!
For more tips for daycare providers, click here.
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