What Are the Roles of a Child Care Worker?

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    Child care workers (also known as Daycare Workers) take care of children when their families are at work. 

    Their primary duties include ensuring that the children in their care are safe, fed, and engaged in developmental activities.

    What are the roles and responsibilities of a child care worker? If you're considering becoming a child care worker, it may be helpful to know what your day-to-day responsibilities would be.

    Or if you're a parent of a child that will be needing child care services and you are looking for daycare, after school care, or backup care, finding the right person to fill this critical role can be daunting.

    The early years of a child's life are the most important: they develop motor, sensory and social skills and start to learn about the world. 

    Child care workers work every day knowing that they are planting the seeds for the next generation to bloom into good human beings.

    A Child Care Worker 

    A reliable child care worker has lots of energy and patience. The child care worker will mainly be responsible for preparing meals and feeding children, bathing. 

    They are also responsible for ensuring overall hygiene, assisting with stimulating and age-appropriate games and tasks, accompanying younger children to social events, and helping older children with their homework.

    To be successful as a child care worker, you need to love children, understand the principles of child development, be physically fit and care for their basic needs, and be informed about what to do in an emergency.

    Types Of Child Care Workers

    The following are examples of types of child care workers:

    Child Care centre workers work in facilities that include programs offering Head Start and Early Head Start. 

    They often take a team-based approach and work with preschool teachers and teacher assistants to teach children through a structured curriculum. 

    They prepare daily and long-term schedules of activities to stimulate and educate the children in their care. They also monitor and keep records of the children's progress.

    Family child care providers run a business out of their own homes to care for children during standard working hours. 

    They need to ensure that their homes and all staff they employ meet the regulations for family child care providers. 

    They also prepare contracts that set pay rates, when payment can be expected, and the number of hours children can be in care. 

    Furthermore, they establish policies such as whether sick children can be in their care, who can pick children up, and how behavioural issues will be dealt with. 

    Family child care providers may market their services to prospective families.

    Nannies work in the homes of the families whose children they care for. Most often, they work full time for one family. 

    They may be responsible for driving children to school, appointments, or afterschool activities. Some live in the homes of the families employing them.

    What Does A Child Care Worker Do?

    Child care workers are qualified professionals who care for young children while their parents are busy, working or otherwise. 

    They work in child care centres, early learning centres, afterschool programs, nurseries, creches, and in people's homes as nannies. 

    They provide children with a consistent daily routine and supervise educational and recreational activities to help children in their development.

    Alternate job titles include child caregivers or childcarers.

    There's a perception that child care is an easy and fun role, but the critical work that child care workers do often goes unnoticed. 

    There's so much more involved than just playing with children all day. Roles and responsibilities of child care workers include:

    • Caring for toddlers and young children in various environments and providing educational, social, physical and intellectual support to aid appropriate development.
    • Preparing materials, activities, games and meals.
    • You will often be directly involved with children (e.g. playing games with them), and you sometimes might be required to take on a more supervisory role while interacting with other kids.
    • You will also need to be willing to accept legal responsibility for the health and safety of children in your care; you should be familiar with Early Childhood Australia's Code of Ethics.
    • Most child care work involves working as part of a small team, so working intimately with other carers is essential.
    • Ensure that children are safe and that their everyday needs are met – this may include diapering, dressing, grooming, and feeding.
    • Engage in positive interaction with children to build confidence and self-esteem.
    • Ensure children are kept active, entertained, and engaged in developmental activities.
    • Effectively discipline children who are misbehaving.
    • Plan and oversee daily schedules.
    • Model and encourage good social skills, e.g. strong communication and conflict-resolution skills.
    • Monitor and report developmental or safety concerns.

    What Qualifications Do I Need To Become A Child Care Worker In Australia?


    At a minimum, child care workers in Australia will need to complete a Certificate III in Early Childhood Care and Children's services. 

    If you wish to take on the role of manager or coordinator, you will also need to obtain a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care. 

    It would help if you had a Certificate III before you can study for the Diploma. Courses can be taken through a VET provider, TAFE, or through an on-the-job traineeship.

    Qualification options include:

    • Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC30113)
    • Certificate IV in School Age Education and Care (CHC40113)
    • Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC50113)

    During your course, you'll be required to learn about children's emotional, physical, mental and social development, as well as how to plan and carry out activities for children and the code of ethics in child care. 

    With a child care qualification, you can work anywhere in Australia, whether Melbourne, Sydney or Adelaide — all you need is a qualification.

    It's also worth noting that you can undertake early childhood education and education support courses if you wish to upskill and become a teacher or assistant in early learning.

    Child Care Worker Requirements

    In addition to your qualification, you will also need to fulfil the following requirements:

    • Police checks
    • Working with children, check
    • First aid certificate, updated annually

    Depending on where you're applying to work, you may also need to register with the Department of Human Services, which can be a long and thorough process.

    Suppose you need more information surrounding the rules and regulations in child care. In that case, it's a good idea to check out the ACECQA (Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority), which assists governments in administering the National Quality Framework for children's education and care.

    Child care workers read and play with babies and toddlers to introduce fundamental concepts. For example, they teach them how to share and take turns by playing games with other children.

    Child care workers help preschool-age children prepare for kindergarten. Young children learn from playing, questioning, and experimenting. 

    Child care workers use play and other instructional techniques to help children's development. For example, they may use storytelling and rhyming games to teach language and vocabulary. 

    They may help improve children's social skills by having them work together to build something in a sandbox. 

    Or they may teach about numbers by having children count when building with blocks. They also involve children in creative activities, such as art, dance, and music.

    Child care workers may also watch school-age children before and after school. In addition, they often help these children with their homework and may take them to after school activities, such as sports practices and club meetings.

    During the summer, when children are out of school, child care workers may watch older children and younger ones while the parents are at work.

    Child Care Salary And Job Prospects

    Most child care workers are paid hourly, at an average of $23/hr. 

    The typical salary for a full-time child care worker is $40,657 and ranges from $29,000 – $54,000. 

    Pay increases with experience and higher qualifications and jumps significantly when people move into more senior roles.

    Child care is a vast industry, employing over 150,000 Australians and growing at an incredible rate of 17% over the last five years. 

    Before the pandemic hit, the Australian government estimated that a whopping 30,100 jobs would open up over the next five years. 

    This is most likely due to Australia's growing population and increasing demand for both parents to return to work after maternity leave.

    This is also a career with flexible working hours, with just over half of workers being part-time. 

    This makes it an excellent choice for people who are returning to work after starting their own family, or if you are planning to start a family in the next few years.

    What Are Your Duties / Responsibilities As A Child Care Worker?

    As a child care worker, you have an endless amount of responsibilities. Below is an outline of the most common faults you will have while working in child care:

    Work with staff members to ensure the smooth operation of the centre's day-to-day running under your centre's policies and procedures (which you must be familiar with).

    Contribute to and assist in the programme's development and evaluation (it doesn't matter what qualification you have, all staff needs to share their thoughts and ideas on the programme).

    Assist staff in the daily routine of appropriate early childhood education and experiences.

    Supervise and engage in the activities of a group of children during the day that you are responsible for.

    Positively interact with all children, nurturing their confidence and self-esteem, giving each child individual attention and comfort throughout the day.

    Assist in planning for the ongoing development of each child (this also includes maintaining up to date observations and portfolios for the child).

    Assist in recording children's development (depending on your centre's policies, this can include developmental checklists).

    Assist in implementing a consistent daily routine for the children (the act does provide structure and guidance for the children during the day).

    Participate in supervising indoor/outdoor environments to provide safety for the children at all times.

    Ensure a clean and healthy environment for all children (this requires you to do everyday cleaning as part of your duties).

    Communicate with parents as delegated by the room supervisor or Director (talk to the parents about what their child has done throughout the day).

    Perform incidental administrative duties (filling out accident/incident reports when necessary).

    Attend to incidental cleaning and housekeeping associated with the individual and group activities, experiences and routines (this almost seems as what you spend most of the day doing, although it is a big part of occupational, health and safety).

    As requested, attend parent/staff meetings (staff meetings are held once a month at your child care centre, usually after work hours. Parent meetings are held twice a year, depending on your centre).

    As required, carry out other duties within the knowledge, skills and capabilities of you as the worker.

    Now that's many responsibilities that we are handling daily, but remember, this is only a basic outline. 

    As we earlier mentioned, your duties and responsibilities are also based on your qualification. 

    Suppose you are working with a certificate 3 in child care. In that case, your responsibilities regarding paperwork (such as observations, programming and planning) will be far less than those with the qualification as a child care diploma or higher. 

    If you are working as certificate 3, you will be asked for your input on programming and assist in the observations and maintaining records for the children. 

    However, you will not be held responsible for it; that's what the Diploma qualified worker is for.

    Professionalism/ Working Ethics As A Child Care Worker


    Parents do not clearly understand what we do after they leave their kids under our supervision. 

    We must show a sense of professionalism while working in child care. Here are a few tips to think about:

    Dress Appropriately 

    Suppose your centre provides you with a uniform then lucky you! However, if not, please dress appropriately. 

    Casual jeans/track pants and a loose-fitting top is the most comfortable to wear. You are working with children, which also involves messy activities, painting and playing in the sand. Leave your good clothes at home. You can still look good in casual clothing.

    Chit Chatter After Work

    Women primarily work in child care (we need more men to balance it out), and as women, we tend to chat a lot. However, in child care throughout the day, there is no time for chit chatter. 

    We're not saying you don't speak to any of your staff members, but when looking after children, please don't talk about what you did on the weekend; speak to the children.

    Bad Language Out

    This is a common mistake that all child care workers make on occasions, especially when we are having a terrible day.

    It is so important not to swear or say "bad words" in front of the children. If you accidentally swear, try another word, quickly over the top, like sugar or shoe and don't make it into a big deal.

    Don't Take Criticism Personally.

    When we get criticised at work, sometimes we take it personally or hold grudges against others. Well, it's time to stop that. 

    We should take criticism with open minds and suggestions. If you are doing something wrong, wouldn't you want to know about it rather than continuing to do it wrong? 

    When working in a team environment, we should be open to all thoughts, ideas and suggestions.

    Put On A Happy Face

    If you fought with your parents or your boyfriend and angry, don't come to work and take it out on the kids. 

    Try and leave your home life at home, even if you have to "put on a happy face". 

    Children can sense when you are angry, and they won't make it any easier for you. But we guarantee you in no time you will have a smile on your face when you see the kids' faces.

    Be An Efficient Worker

    There is a lot to get done during the day while working at a child care centre, so it's essential to be efficient.

    If toys are lying all around the floor, then help the children clean them up. If there is paint on the table, wipe it up.

    Please don't ignore it until someone else does it. There is no time for sitting down; you always have to move, move, move. 

    Efficiency is also an excellent personal quality to have too.

    Common Sense

    After you have worked at your centre for about two months, you should know what you are required to do on a day to day basis. 

    It's essential to use your common sense when working with children. 

    Even if you haven't been told what to do, you could still use common sense when handling a situation or at least let the room leader know. 

    We shouldn't have to be reminded of the same thing over and over again; remember it and do it.

    Stay Safe And Healthy

    As you are working in direct contact with children, it's essential to stay safe and healthy while working in child care. 

    If you are sick, it's best to take the day off than to go to work feeling ill. You are no good to anyone if you are sick. 

    There is a lot of lifting and bending in child care, so it's essential to take care of your back and have the correct posture and lifting technique. 

    With a back injury, you could be off work for months in total. In addition, many spills and accidents occur daily, so remember to wipe/mop any spills so you don't trip and fall. 

    Child care is a very demanding and sometimes stressful job that we need to stay healthy and safe.

    Is Being A Child Care Worker Right For You?

    Having a love for children goes without saying in a child care career, but there are a range of other traits that are vital to possess if you want to become a child care professional. 

    Before pursuing further, ask yourself these six questions:

    Do You Love Everything About Kids?

    Working with kids can be fun and highly rewarding, but there are times when kids can become draining, frustrating and challenging to deal with. 

    You will have to deal with tantrums, dirty nappies, hyperactivity, crying and screaming, making the job extremely challenging. 

    As a child care worker, you need to love everything about kids – the good, the bad and the ugly.

    Can You Communicate With Both The Young And Old?

    Throughout your career as a child care worker, you will be required to communicate with both children and parents. 

    Though most of your day will involve playing and caring for the children, you're also required to observe and report their behaviour constantly. 

    That includes talking to the child's parents about their development, achievements, struggles, and education.

    Can You Be Patient And Flexible?

    It may seem obvious, but patience and flexibility are probably the most important traits you should have in a child care role. 

    All children are different, and you need to be flexible enough to understand that while a specific method may work for some children, it won't work with all of them. 

    Also, they aren't your children! This means being patient and calm with them even when they drive you insane.

    Are You Willing To Pursue Further Education And Training?

    In any education role, if you want to be successful, you need to have a willingness to learn. 

    It's not only required as part of your employment, but it's essential to refresh your memory and keep you up-to-date on necessary training such as first aid and meeting the national quality standard.

    Are You The Dependable Type?


    A child's safety is of the utmost importance in a career such as a child care. 

    Parents and employers put their trust in you to both looks after the wellbeing of their children and their safety. 

    It would help if you were appropriate and responsible at all times; these children will look up to you as a guardian and a role model.

    Is Your Salary Level A Driving Factor In Your Career Choice?

    A child care wage is a low-to-middle range, and it won't be enough to get you rich. 

    If earning money is your main driving factor in choosing a career, child care probably isn't suitable for you. 

    There are plenty of rewards and highlights in a child care career that money can't buy, and it's a job that's guaranteed to fulfil you.

    Does this sound like you? Then look into getting qualified with a child care course that can lead to a diploma or certificate in early childhood education and education support.

    Even courses available can qualify you in teaching children with disabilities, education psychology, and first aid. 

    Being a child care professional can be an enriching experience, but it's not for everyone.

    By taking the time to ask yourself these questions before you commence your studies and career in child care, you can significantly increase your chances of having a successful experience.

    While centre-based care is typically provided only to children from a few weeks to five years old, family day care provides care for children up to 12 years old. Ultimately, deciding on the type of care you want for your child will depend on your needs and your preferences.

    Family day care is where a child is educated in a small group in a family style atmosphere at an educator's home, seeing the same educator or educators each day. ... The educator's children must be counted in those seven children if they are under 13 years and not being cared for by another adult at the premises.

    Overall, the average child care cost for one child in 2020 was $612/week for a nanny (up from $565/week in 2019), $340/week for a child care or day care center (up from $182/week) and $300/week for a family care center (up from $177/week).

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