Consistency is key to establishing a sense of stability for staff, parents and children, even when a situation is anything but stable.
With the constant transitions and upheaval to life as we’ve known it because of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone is on edge. With so much flux, the simplest task can seem impossible and new tasks are being added to already-hectic schedules.
People old and young alike are experiencing the stress of dealing with change and the unfamiliar on a daily basis. Between new state and federal rules and regulations and regularly updated safety protocols that require additional steps to be taken each day, how is anyone expected to manage it all?
Change is hard in any situation, but when dealing with a health crisis, change becomes an even more urgent challenge to face and handle. Keeping steady, daily routines and establishing open, transparent communications may seem next to impossible, but with the right tools in place, change can be more manageable.
Four things you need in place to better handle a constantly changing environment at any time, but particularly during a crisis, are:
- Awareness. Staying up-to-date on news, rules and protocols.
- Preparation. Being prepared to navigate each situation as it unfolds.
- Planning. Establishing flexible but clear processes and systems.
- Communication. Communicating each change clearly and effectively.
Here are some helpful tips for getting through this tumultuous time as smoothly as possible.
Keeping up with the changing rules and regulations including your state’s actions and federal mandates requires doing your homework. Childcare.gov provides a list of national and state resources that can be useful including links to the CDC’s website and state-by-state listings:
Staying on top of new mandated protocols requires a myriad of steps that must be taken to comply. Elevated hygiene routines and wearing protective gear means stocking up on EPA-compliant cleaning supplies and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff. If you are having trouble getting the supplies you need, the CDC recommends that you contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Agency through the Child Care Aware of America website.
See the FDA Hand Sanitizers and COVID-19 for general guidance on hygiene.
See the EPA-approved list of Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19)
Awareness and preparation set the stage for strategic planning in order to help keep children, families and staff safe. While there are many aspects of planning, monitoring staff health is one of your first lines of defense against the spread of illness.
Keeping track of staff temperatures and symptoms and rearranging schedules quickly, as needed, keeps your facility properly staffed. A customizable tool like Childwatch’s Child & Staff scheduling feature can help you fill gaps and keep ratios in check with ease.
What you communicate to staff and family, and how quickly and clearly you communicate those messages, can help ease the anxiety that everyone is most likely feeling. A new protocol, such as taking each child’s temperature on a daily basis multiple times, can feel daunting and adds a new layer of responsibility on staff.
Having a tracking system for inputting important data that can be seen by both staff and parents in real-time, such as daily temperatures, can make the additional work feel less burdensome. Childwatch’s Classroom Manager with Child Daily Journal lets you create custom event entries for tracking any new and relevant data that is critical to everyone’s health and safety.
During times of constant change, a customizable and centralized business management, data capture, and communications system can help you keep key details about staff, children and families at your fingertips and help you share critical information with all stakeholders. With a combination of flexible systems and processes and the right tools to manage them, you can not only have more peace of mind during a stressful time, but you can also provide steady and reassuring support to the families you serve.
Editor’s Note: Childwatch is offering a limited-time COVID-19 relief discount. Receive 50% off your purchase with the offer code: COVID19.