Running a day care can be a thankless job but there are steps you can take to improve the relationships your center has with parents. By providing a regular report to parents, you keep communication flowing and provide the parents with a chance to voice concerns. When organizing your day care take some time to make a day care progress report by following these steps.
- Determine how often you will report progress. A simple one page progress report can be provided daily to parents with infants and toddlers. This allows you to communicate meals, naps and medications given if necessary since parents need to know this information each day to care for their children the rest of the day. For older children aged three and older you might consider a daily report with the basics above in addition to a weekly report that addresses other activities and behaviors.
- Plan observation schedule. For the daily report consider breaking the day up into sections for morning, noon and afternoon time periods. This allows you to break out the morning meals and naps from the afternoon snacks, naps and activities. Children often go through different mood and activity cycles during the day. By breaking your observation into these sections you can help the parent track behavior. You can also monitor your staff to be sure they are following the planned daily schedule.
- Determine what activities will be included on the report. For a basic daily report you should include at minimum the meals and snacks, naps, toilet or diaper change times, any medication administered and then a comment or notes section. Consider adding more information regarding activities and development especially for older toddlers. For the older kids the activities such as reading time, coloring, playing with blocks and any other activities should be indicated on the form. This helps you direct parents if there is concern about motor skills, listening or ability to pay attention and sit still.
- Include a comment section. Every form should include a place to make comments and share anecdotes about events that happen throughout the day. This is not just a place for negative comments. Include at least one positive behavior, observation or great story with each report.
- Share report with parents. Reports do you no good if you don’t share them with parents on a regular basis. The good thing about a daily report is that if you hand it to the parents when they pick up the child each day, you get into a routine of providing the progress information. You should also schedule a regular weekly or monthly conversation with parents to check if they have comments or concerns about the reports they’ve received.
Day care progress reports help you as a day care provider to communicate with parents, show them what stars their children are and address any concerns before they become problems. Progress reports create a feeling that your day care is professional and reasonable which engenders trust in the minds of your parents.