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Is childcare a good career?

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    A great love for children is an important prerequisite to entering a career in childcare, but it isn't enough to make you a good childcare provider.

    Childcare can be incredibly demanding. Like any other industry, to make it in childcare, you need to ensure you've got the right personality traits. So if you're set on entering a career in childcare, you should probably answer these questions about yourself first.

    Taking care of children during their early years is simply one of the most fulfilling phases and foundations of being a parent. 

    On the other hand, it can be rewarding as a career more so if one considers cases where both parents in the family are working. 

    These kinds of parents need good care, security, and safety to be given to their children and proper education to be provided to their growing children.

    Also, the need for childcare professionals is greater today than in the past. As teachers continue to retire, the enrolment rate has tremendously increased; hence there is a continuous need for quality childcare providers

    Consequently, parents have recognised that a solid foundation is directly connected to their children's future educational growth and success. This, therefore, makes highly trained child care providers the need of the hour.

    What is a child care worker?

    Child care workers (also referred to as daycare workers) provide care services for young children while their parents cannot look after them. They help children through their daily routines, teach social skills and encourage healthy development with play and activities. They can work in various settings, like after-school programs, nurseries, creches, family daycare, and private homes.

    Roles and responsibilities

    Child carers are responsible for fostering the development of children in their care, attending to their basic needs and organising daily activities, meal times, and playtime. 

    A typical child care worker job description will include the following duties:

    • Provide care for toddlers and young children
    • Plan and implement early learning educational programs
    • Organise games and recreational activities
    • Prepare food and snacks
    • Monitor kids' hygiene
    • Encourage interpersonal skills through mediating social interactions
    • Take legal responsibility for children's health and safety
    • Supervise kids on play equipment
    • Working as part of a close-knit team of carers

    Safeguarding the health and safety of children is a big part of the job, and you should be familiar with Early Childhood Australia's Code of Ethics.

    What skills do you need to be a childcare worker?

    These skills are essential to any child-caring role:

    • Verbal communication skills
    • Planning and running activities
    • Relating to children
    • Critical thinking and decision making
    • Compassion and patience
    • Monitoring and evaluating children
    • Problem-solving skills
    • Fitness and stamina
    • An understanding of the code of ethics in childcare

    Do you love kids?

    childrens-books

    Kids are great. Well, it's easy to say they're great. However, when it comes down to it, kids can be loud, annoying, and dirty. While working with kids can be incredibly rewarding, there will be times during every day when they drain you completely. Dealing with frustrating and difficult children is tiresome, especially if you have a room full of them. If you enter a career in childcare, be prepared to deal with tantrums, dirty undies and nappies, incredibly hyperactive kids, constant crying, screaming, and some pretty wild physical altercations.

    If you think you can handle all of the above (and have a little bit of experience to prove it), then you might be ready for a career in childcare. If it sounds horrible, then it may not be worth it. These are all aspects of dealing with children, and you have to take the good with the bad if you love kids.

    How good are your communication skills?

    Those who work in childcare will readily tell you that sometimes the most difficult aspects of the job aren't the kids – it's their family. You'll need to work with very young children, very young parents, and even grandparents and great grandparents.

    To effectively get along with this broad range of age groups, you're going to need great communication skills. Not every day is pushing around trucks in the sandbox and reading books – sometimes you'll need to take a quick step back into the real world and deal with demanding parents.

    That's the keyword – demanding. Some parents can be incredibly sensitive about the needs of their children. You'll need to effectively communicate details about the development, achievements, struggles and growth of children in professional terms.

    Do you have flexibility and patience?

    Even the most saintly of people sometimes snap under pressure from a room full of difficult children. Therefore, flexibility and patience are two of the most important skills for anyone interested in a career in childcare.

    Sure, you won't be able to handle it every single day. However, it's important to be sure you can take most days. This issue is compounded when you work with physically or mentally disabled children. Even in children with no developmental issues, there is a range of personality traits such as shyness, anger, or hyperactivity that will require great patience.

    Are you prepared to get further training?

    The majority of reputable childcare institutions require their employees to undergo a fair amount of childcare training specific to their needs. If you truly want to take your career in childcare to the furthest possible limits, you'll need to stay up to date with training and stretch your capabilities as far as possible.

    Other training requirements, such as first aid courses or work health and safety courses, can greatly benefit your employability. A career in childcare requires a fairly constant focus on your skills and education, especially as the demands of parents continue to increase.

    Are you dependable?

    When parents search for a childcare provider, they need someone who is both dependable and responsible. They're trusting you with their pride and joy – it's imperative that you can be relied upon.

    You will be responsible for the lives and development of the next generation. You will greatly impact the way these children view the world and the people they grow to be. They will be looking to you for guidance, love and entertainment. Furthermore, you will be solely responsible for their safety.

    When you hold a position of such significant trust, it's important that you can be relied upon. However, if you often fail to live up to your responsibilities, it may be worth reconsidering your career choice.

    Are you a positive role model?

    The children under your care will look up to you. Additionally, parents will examine you closely to determine whether or not they want their child to learn from you.

    Children can be incredibly receptive to outside influence at a young age. If you exhibit good moral character and "do the right thing", you can be a good role model.

    Is salary the most important thing in a job to you?

    Are you chasing the money? If so, a career in childcare might not be quite up to your alley. While highly rewarding, most childcare workers don't out-earn bankers. However, you won't be at the bottom of the salary scale by any means; in fact, childcare workers tend to earn an income that hovers around average.

    Of course, for most people who enter a career in childcare, it's not about the money. The rewards of watching a child grow and develop far outweigh any dollar value.

    Reasons You Should Choose a Career in Childcare

    The joy and fun experience.

    Hearing the children's voices and seeing their faces lighting up with enthusiasm each time they learn something new undoubtedly brings boundless joy. 

    Remember, childcare professionals make the children's day worthwhile. Also, the time spent with the children allows a person to experience a first-hand child's transformation. As a childcare worker, children can be helped to develop into healthy and happy little people.

    Increases employment prospects

    As one advance in the childcare industry, there are diverse opportunities in the industry. After working in the childcare career, one can be taken on as a childcare centre manager. It also makes it easy for a person to set up their own daycare business. 

    Many childcare courses are now available in various higher institutions of learning. If one receives a nationwide renowned qualification from a college, their chances of being considered for greater tasks in the industry increase. This

    It's a reliable source of steady income.

    For people looking to secure a stable source of income, studying to qualify in childcare helps them obtain the requisite knowledge and skills required to work as a childcare professional.

    Flexible working hours

    This could be one of the major reasons many people may choose a career in childcare. This career allows one to decide when to work according to their chosen programme and availability. Essentially, a childcare profession is the most appropriate job for people with children and may want to pursue another career to earn extra income for the upkeep of their families.

    It is a well sought after career.

    With the notable increase in demand for qualified childcare workers, taking a course in childcare becomes a competitive edge in the industry. While taking the course, a person gains the skills and knowledge required, hence becoming an appropriate candidate for employers. In addition, the qualification becomes substantial proof of proficiency in the industry. Remember, childcare workers, are requisite instruments to a child's growth.

    Sharing knowledge and experience

    It also brings an indescribable joy to support new parents. Just figure out a parent calling and expressing how happy they are for what their children have learned. It really would melt one's heart with gladness. Having such impact and outcomes in the learning process of kids is a rare privilege.

    Benefits of working in the childcare industry

    Watching children grow and develop

    Working with children brings many rewards. It is a chance to see children flourish in their development and become confident, independent learners. For many educators working in the industry is the realisation of a long-awaited dream. These are the people who make the best educators – they have passion, drive and a willingness to succeed in the industry.

    Childcare is a growth industry set to increase at a rate of at least 20% per year.

    Childcare is a growth industry, and in the age of technology whereby many jobs are becoming redundant or obsolete, the childcare sector is set to only grow in size and increase demand. Therefore, there will always be an industry need for qualified and capable childcare workers.

    Flexible working hours

    Given childcare facilities usually open for between 10 and 12 hours per day, there is the opportunity for split shifts and early or later starts. This may work well for people who want to finish at 3 pm or prefer a bright and early 6:30 am kickoff! Usually, these shifts are rotating. However, you should have a chance to have some flexibility. This works particularly well for parents who have heavy home life responsibilities. There are also opportunities for diverse roles in the industry. For example, working as a Family Day Care educator can be a great way for parents to work from home while still earning a good income.

    It enables career progression.

    The childcare industry now requires that its workforce have (or be working towards) either a Certificate 3 or a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care. This is good for two reasons: it ensures a better quality of care for children, and secondly, it gives its workforce more knowledge, which ultimately means better pay and better working conditions for everyone.

    Fun and enjoyable career

    Working in the industry can be pretty awesome. Children are amazing, and watching them grow and play and reach their milestones can bring joy beyond words. Yes, the work is tough, but the payoffs are huge. 

    Qualities of a Childcare Provider

    child-book

    As any established childcare provider will attest, being a good parent doesn't mean you're suited to being a childcare​ provider. Your temperament, organisation, the physical environment you offer, the ability to work well with all types of kids, adaptability, and patience are a few things you need to consider. Do you have experience working with youngsters for an extended time? You might try that first to double-check your interest and then find financing options (if needed).

    Choose a Setting

    Prospective child care providers need to determine what age group they want to work with and the setting they want to be in. For example, daycare centres primarily focus on infants through preschoolers; pre-schools are typically toddlers, and children often must be potty-trained (ages 2-5); and out of school care is tailored to providing childcare of school-aged kids on a before-school or after-school basis or during school breaks, such as staff development or holidays. Faith-based care options also abound.

    National Accreditation

    Several different organisations have developed accreditation programs to recognise excellence in child care and early childhood programs. 

    The accreditation process typically requires higher standards than those required by state regulations. 

    Accreditation is a voluntary process and involves extensive self-study, leadership skills, validation, and parent evaluation. 

    Focus is on relationships, environment, health and safety, learning, and professional and business practices.

    Local Childcare Provider Licensing Laws 

    Opening a childcare centre is an opportunity to develop your own business while providing a much-needed service. 

    The state licenses, Centres and requirements may vary but typically include that care professionals meet educational/training requirements and regularly inspect. The facility must also meet specific building, fire, and zoning codes. In addition, specified adult to child ratios are enforced, and background checks are usually required.

    Pay Attention to In-home Care Regulations 

    There can be a difference between being "regulated" vs. being "licensed" by the state, so check for details and contrasts. In Texas, for example, the Department of Family and Protective Services typically registers, rather than licenses, family day care homes, although it does license in some circumstances with higher standards.Both types of care include inspections, minimum standards, and maximum numbers of kids. Listed family care homes provide unregulated care and meet no requirements.

    Child-to-adult Ratios

    Ratios of children to providers is an important question to consider. The answer depends on what type of care option is selected, whether it is in the home or a facility, involves more than one caregiver in the same setting, and even the age of the children themselves. Another consideration often factors in the length of daily care.

    Child Subsidy Programs 

    There are all types of subsidies and federal or federal assistance for child care. The key is to know where to work and also to consider what kind of paperwork wrangling you're willing to go through to get aid. There is help for low-income parents, providers who care for children in some low-income regions or circumstances, and even for meals and snacks provided to children. Start with your state to see what options exist and whether the programs offered provide benefits.

    Working With Parents and Kids

    Caring for kids is one thing; working well with parents is very different. Childcare providers often confess to a "love-hate" relationship at times. They adore the child but become frustrated with a parent's demands (food choices, time outside, nap arrangements, discipline, art time, and relationships, in general, are some hot topics). There are also liability and payment issues to consider as well.

    Caring for young children is a rewarding and enjoyable career, yet at the same time, the associated stress and demands of the role can cause serious health impacts. ... Working with young children can be physically, emotionally and intellectually draining.

    Causes of Stress for Children in Child Care
    • changes in routines.
    • a new child care setting.
    • conflic with peers or bullying.
    • lack of sleep.
    • overcrowded child care settings.
    • a new sibling.
    • loss of a loved one.
    • conflict at home.

    That's despite the fact 97% of childcare educators are female, and earning significantly less than the rest of the population.

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