10 Tips for Breaking into the Childcare Field
Changing careers can be difficult, especially if it involves a completely new industry. Childcare is a path popular among those searching for second careers. Although it may seem overwhelming at first when considering the significant task of managing the care and well-being of someone’s child, it doesn’t have to be a difficult transition. Here are 10 tips to help ease newcomers into the childcare field:
1. Read Childcare Books: Books are able to provide you with guidelines, suggestions and resources of how to interact with children of all ages and backgrounds. The more you read, the better prepared you can be to adapt to the unique set of abilities and challenges that each child brings to the table.
2. Volunteer: Taking advantage of volunteer opportunities involving children can give you an example of what you could be facing on a daily basis in the field of childcare. The best part about volunteering is that you gain hands-on experience, learn tried-and-true techniques from professionals, and can stop at any time if you find it too difficult to manage.
3. Offer to Babysit: Like volunteering, babysitting for a co-worker or neighbor can offer insight into what spending extended periods of time with children is like. There is no substitution for real-life experiences caring for children.
4. Research Trends: Conducting regular research of childcare trends on the Internet will ensure that you stay current on the latest studies, theories and techniques about childcare and childhood development. Consider using a notification service such as Google Alerts to receive emails with the latest relevant Google results for your desired subject matter. Subscribing to childcare RSS feeds and blogs could also be greatly beneficial.
5. Take a Part-Time Job: Unless you are 100% positive that working with children is what you want to do, take a part-time or weekend childcare job first to test the waters.
6. CPR and First Aid: Knowledge of CPR and first aid procedures is not only an important skill to have, it is often required of people who work with children. It also looks good on a resume for a wide range of career paths.
7. Take Classes: Check in your community for free or low-cost childcare classes or workshops that teach skills for dealing with children. Depending on the area where you live, these classes could involve anything from early education theories to parenting techniques.
8. Research the Target Age Group: Caring for a three-year-old is much different than caring for a pre-teen. Before deciding to work with a specific age group, it is important to understand the social, cognitive, emotional and educational development of every age range. Do your homework to better understand the needs and abilities of the age range that you wish to care for.
9. Kiddie Trends: While you certainly want to keep a finger on the pulse of emerging childcare and parenting trends, you may also want to pay attention to the latest trends popular among children themselves. Kids will develop a newfound respect for someone who can hold a conversation with them over the latest games and television shows.
10. Meditation Techniques: Knowing and applying effective meditation techniques are useful to keep yourself centered when chaos surrounds you. Childcare can be a fun and rewarding experience, but like any job, it can take its toll on your patience some days.
Working as a childcare provider requires an enormous degree of patience and empathy. However, the rewards are great when you are able to connect with a child and become a positive role model in his or her life. Whether you want to be a private nanny or a preschool teacher, you can be poised to help shape the future of the world by nurturing and encouraging young minds.
Ken Myers holds a master’s in business leadership from Upper Iowa University and multiple bachelor degrees from Grand View College. As president of morningsidenannies.com, Ken’s focus is helping Houston-based parents find the right childcare provider for their family. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his three children and his wife.