Discovering how to manage child care staff scheduling can streamline the operation of your child care program. You’ll always have the right number of staff members scheduled on a given day, regardless of the circumstances.
With the right strategies, you can perfect the staff scheduling at your child care program. Here’s everything you need to know about managing child care staff scheduling and how to get it right.
The Benefits of Managing Child Care Staff Scheduling
Child care staff scheduling isn't just a necessary administrative task. It's a duty that offers many benefits to both you and your staff. To maximize these benefits, strategizing your scheduling policies and procedures is essential. Here's a breakdown of the benefits of managing child care staff scheduling.
- Managing your budget: Scheduling can help you manage your child care program's budget. You can avoid losses by over-scheduling staff and or under scheduling and having to pay overtime.
- Maintain a healthy work-life balance: Both you and your staff benefit from a healthy work-life balance where staff members aren't overworked or under-appreciated. Giving staff advance notice of when they will be scheduled enables them to plan around work and encounter fewer scheduling conflicts.
- Better Collaboration: Collaboration is most successful when everyone is on the same page. Whether you're managing a staff of four or forty, staying organized is crucial.
Always Meet Student-Teacher Ratio
A low student-teacher ratio has been touted as one of the most beneficial strategies for promoting student learning and development. The fewer students a teacher has, the more individualized attention they can give each student. Whereas, in a larger child care setting with a high student-teacher ratio, the ability to provide individual attention is limited. The student-teacher ratio within your child care program should be as low as you can feasibly manage.
When it comes to scheduling, this means that you'll have to have a set number of staff members present daily. You may plan to schedule an additional staff member to ensure you have a replacement if another member must leave early. You may want to set up an on-call policy in which staff may be called in to fill in for an absent member. This will ensure that you can always meet the ideal student-teacher ratio and give children the attention they need!
Track Staff Hours and Time-Off
You'll need to ensure staff members can maintain their full or part-time status, which means tracking their hours and time-off. Generally, to maintain full-time employment status, a person needs to work at least 130-hours in a month or 30 weekly hours on average. For many people, full-time employment isn't just a title. It can affect benefits and other important services. So, you must help them maintain their status via scheduling.
If your program staff members are working overtime hours, you'll need to track that as well. Your child care program's budget might not be able to accommodate many workers earning overtime. You can avoid this problem by scheduling enough people to handle their duties during their shift.
When it comes to tracking time off, you want to ensure you have reliable staff members. If you notice a staff member's trend of clocking out an hour early every Friday, you'll have to address it. You'll also be able to track vacation days, PTO and unscheduled abscesses. This data will enable you to establish the reliability of your staff.
Prioritize Communication and Schedule Sharing
Managing child care scheduling requires the lines of communication to stay open between program staff and families. Staff may need to call out of work on short notice, and students may need to be picked up early due to illness. Your program should have solutions in place that support fast and responsive communication for these situations.
Staff and families should have equal access to the schedules that are relevant to them. In addition to providing digital access to schedules, send out paper ones to families and keep a master staff schedule in a centralized location that staff can access. This will prevent headaches and mixups.
Establish a Strong Attendance Policy for Students and Staff
Some daycares have policies in place that require students to attend a minimum number of days a week or times a month, especially if you utilize a tiered payment model. Concerning staff scheduling, this can help you avoid over or under scheduling staff members according to wildly fluctuating student attendance rates.
Noticing trends in attendance can also help you recognize peak times and low times so you can adjust your staff scheduling. For example, snow and poor weather may require you to have staff stay longer in the winter. You can use this data to your advantage by scheduling according to trends.
For staff, you'll need to establish a scheduling policy that addresses everything from tardiness to excessive time off. Requests for vacation time, paid sick days and more must also be established. If you have a more generous PTO package, it may serve as an incentive for prospects to join your team. Regardless of the policy you choose for staff, be sure that it strikes an even balance. Making too many exceptions or placing too many limitations may cause headaches in the future.
Regardless of the industry, staff scheduling can make or break your business. Your staff benefits from advanced scheduling and consistency. When staff benefit, so does your child care program. Suppose you're committed to making the best scheduling decisions for your child care program. In that case, it's important to keep accurate scheduling records, communicate with staff and families and ensure that you can make changes on the go. You need the right child care management software to help you achieve that goal.
Vanco's Smartcare software is the child care management software designed to handle all the administrative duties that child care programs require. When it comes to scheduling, you'll be able to manage everything from staff hours to incorporating the school district's calendar. Additionally, staff will be able to track billable hours and fees in one place. Discover what Smartcare can do for you and your child care program today!