As your summer programs get under way, family vacations will be coming up too. And although getting away to a favorite fishing hole may be fun, you don’t want to be fishing around when it comes to tracking child vacation hours.
If your child care policy allows families to take a specified number of vacation days, you’ll certainly need a way to record that time. You may also want to issue vacation credits—or skip vacationing families when posting summer tuition for a given week.
As any young fisherman will tell you, there’s more than one way to catch a fish. There’s also more than one way to manage child vacation hours.
How many vacation hours has a family used?
A good practice is to record the hours as soon as a parent lets you know about their vacation plans. An easy method for doing so is to enter vacation time in a child care database. If you’re using Procare Software, you can track all kinds of absences (including vacation) and check the balances to see how much vacation has been used (images below).
One nice thing about tracking vacation this way is that it will be reflected on the Child’s Schedule, so any reports that look at scheduling (like certain roll call and sign-in sheets) will automatically adjust for the days a child is away. See: How to Schedule Overrides, Vacations & Absences.
Is the child "Enrolled" or "On Vacation"?
If a child is attending programs through most of the summer, you may choose to leave them enrolled the whole time and issue vacation credits as needed (more on that below). Another option is to temporarily change their enrollment status to being “On Vacation” and set them back to “Enrolled” for the day they will return. This can all be done in advance, as soon as you know a family’s plans. One advantage to changing their status is that the child is skipped for billing purposes (during periods when they are not enrolled) and another is that they are eliminated from roll call sheets. See: Child’s Enrollment Status.
Some centers choose to charge families their normal weekly rates while they are away and then issue vacation credits (image below). An advantage to doing so is that financial reports show how much was given out in vacation credits and families also see this on their statements. If you choose this approach in Procare, the child must remain “enrolled” throughout the summer. You can even set a Calendar Reminder so you’ll remember to give them a vacation credit in the future.