A Career in Child Care

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It is Tuesday and Wendy has a busy day ahead of her. Wendy works with young children, and before her day is over she will: read six picture books, clean the rabbit cage, prepare and serve five "ants on a log" snacks, review a children's progress report with a parent, mop the bathroom floor and play Duck Duck Goose.

Do you think you would enjoy these activities? Is a career working children right for you?

Would You Be a Good Child Care Provider?

In choosing this career path you may wish to ask yourself whether you are "cut out" for a job in child care. What follows are (common) characteristics of successful caregivers. Can you agree with at least eight of these statements?

  • I love young children.
  • I am very patient.
  • I can be flexible.
  • I am able to work with people from diverse backgrounds.
  • I am dependable.
  • I can think on my feet.
  • I am sensitive to the needs of children.
  • I have good communication skills.
  • I am sensitive to the needs and concerns of parents.
  • I view myself as a partner with the family's effort to care for their child.
  • I am empathetic and responsive to children.
  • I am creative.
  • I am committed to the safety and welfare of children.
  • I am willing to pursue further education and training.

Though this is not a complete list, surely you can see caregivers are indeed special!

What Are the Rewards to Caring for Children?

Many of the rewards are intangible. For some caregivers, the enjoyment of playing a role in a child's development is enough. The satisfaction that they receive when a child masters a new skill is great. A caregiver's days are filled with variety, stimulation and fun. Many cite the #1 reward as simply,"making a difference".

What Are the Challenges?

Child care is still a predominately under-respected and low-paying field. It can be both mentally and physically challenging. You may find that your work doesn't end when the children go home, as you still need to complete enrollment forms, prepare next week's snack menu, or mend a teddy bear's ear. Yet, if you were to ask Wendy or the thousands of others who care for children, " Is it worth it?" the answer would most likely be, "You bet!"