As the holidays approach, I’m starting to make plans, including what I’m hosting and when I’m traveling. My staff is working on those same type of plans, as are the families we serve. My challenge is to merge all of these schedules, to the best of my ability, to most effectively meet everyone’s needs.
My staff members are starting to turn in their requests for time off in the next couple of months. While I have a thorough understanding of how I need to staff my program, and how many employees can be gone at any given time and allow us to still meet ratios and provide quality care, what I don’t know is which children will be in care on which days and for how long. I don’t want to be the person to tell one of my staff members that they cannot go away for Thanksgiving only to have that person twiddling their thumbs in a nearly empty classroom and being sent home early that afternoon because there are so few children in care.
We use a Holiday Attendance Survey to help us make these kinds of decisions, as well as providing a subtle way to remind parents which days we will be closed. On our Survey, we remind parents of our closure days, but also ask them about their child’s anticipated attendance on the days around the closure. For example, how many days between Christmas and New Year’s will your child be in our care? Will your child be there all day on those days or just part of the day?
Once I have this information, I can go to my staff time-off requests and approve as many as possible. If you don’t already have a Holiday Attendance Survey, you can find ours here.