For a person who enjoys reading Dr. Seuss, playing with Play-doh or creating masterpieces with crayons, a career as a childcare worker may be very enticing. Not many people get to play at work, but that is exactly one of the responsibilities of a childcare worker. They not only play with children but also plan activities that are both enriching and educational. Childcare workers also help children develop good social skills, which are very important to a child’s development. Working in this field is much more than child’s play, however. The safety and well-being of the children they watch are in the hands of the childcare workers. Workers must therefore be vigilant and enthusiastic to keep up with the demands of energetic young children.
Other qualities childcare workers need are an inordinate amount of patience, good refereeing skills and a genuine love for children. The work can be physically demanding because childcare workers are typically on their feet most of the day. They may seldom sit—or if they do, they may be sitting on the floor with their charges. Workers should be physically fit because they might have to lift children or equipment.
Childcare workers can be employed in various places, including private homes, schools or day care centers. The hours in this field can vary and can be either part-time or full-time. The ages of children that day care workers watch typically range from infants to preschoolers. However, childcare workers may also supervise school-age children after school. The educational requirements for childcare workers vary: Some institutions require only a high school degree, while others may want workers with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. Certification in child/infant CPR is also often required.
A typical day for a daycare worker can involve feeding children and preparing meals, changing diapers, putting children down for naps, playing with the kids and cleaning up after them. Childcare workers are usually part of a team of other workers, which can include teachers. Childcare workers may also be responsible for cleaning cribs, tables or toys. When the day is over, childcare workers may be exhausted. However, knowing that they have contributed to the life of a child can be very rewarding.
Childcare Worker Tasks
- Interact with other adults, including parents and fellow child care workers, on behalf of children.
- Contribute to facility's planning and administration.
- Provide a safe, orderly environment in which children's needs (physical, emotional, social, etc.) are met effectively.
- Maintain appropriate documentation.