Contributing to the upbringing of future generations is a truly important job that’s also extremely rewarding. If you run a childcare business or you’re considering a career in early childhood education, there are a few required skills you must have in your wheelhouse. Whether you’re looking to hire or get hired, consider these top ten childcare worker skills you need to thrive in the industry.
“Children learn more from what you are than what you teach.” Author and intellectual W.E.B. Du Bois understood the power of leading by example. It’s true: there’s no more important trait a teacher can have than integrity.
Your character seeps into every aspect of your life, from relationships to financial decisions to work ethic. If you want to be the best childcare professional you can be, it all starts with being the type of person children can look up to.
Teaching is a job of constant communication with children, staff, and parents. Kids need age-appropriate ways of being listened to and guided, which many early childhood education professionals are keenly aware of.
You must be able to demonstrate and explain new things to various types of learners, which can take practice. Childcare also requires clear, calm, and direct communication when dealing with conflict, which often comes up when managing young children.
Planning and organizing are everyday necessities for childcare workers. Children need a healthy level of routine and order as they learn basic mental and social skills during early development. If left without the safety and structure they need from you, the class unwinds into chaos.
From lesson plans to daily checklists to field trips, you’re in charge of making sure your team and your students have the best experience possible.
Do you struggle to stay organized in your childcare business? Check out this article for some tips: 6 Ways to Run Your Childcare Center More Smoothly.
Engaging children in daily learning activities takes a little enthusiasm and a lot of involvement. Kids pick up on the attitudes and behaviors of their caregivers, so remaining positive and enthusiastic is a major skill to focus on.
Studies show that excitement and curiosity have a ripple effect in teaching. Students tend to focus more on a subject when a teacher displays real interest in it. You want to be present and excited to teach, but not overly enthusiastic to the point of coming off as ingenuine.
Small kids aren’t the easiest group of humans to manage on a daily basis. Their brains are developing rapidly. They need someone who can remain calm when helping them learn to regulate their emotions and develop reasoning skills.
Childcare professionals need patience. Not only are you required to support different phases of learning, but you’re also required to approach different personality types throughout your business— from rowdy kids to gossipy teachers to challenging parents.
6. Creative Thinking
It’s not all hard work when running a daycare. Teachers benefit from playful, imaginative thinking at any moment on the job. From initiating art projects to calming a child’s temper tantrum, to be successful, you have to be able to take on issues in a creative way.
If your class becomes fixated on a minor interruption, you need to creatively guide them back to focus. When a student refuses to share or clean their toys, it helps if you can come up with fun strategies to encourage positive action.
As with any other business, problems are inevitable. Conflict resolution and problem-solving are essential skills to improve upon as a childcare worker. When it comes to interpersonal issues and technical difficulties, you have to be able to be resilient in the face of unexpected challenges.
On a regular basis, you’ll be pressed to consider differences and come up with solutions on the fly:
- Following childcare policies and laws in everything you do
- Respecting families with different beliefs and backgrounds
- Caring for children with different attitudes, abilities, and learning styles
- Facing class-wide concerns or emergencies
- Adjusting the class schedule or environment as necessary
- Managing team conflict
- And more
No matter what challenges arise at your childcare center, it’s on you and your team to respond appropriately.
8. Classroom Management
While you don’t want to be too authoritative with a classroom of young children (there’s plenty of room for play!), you need to be able to demand respect and maintain the direction of the class. Your students look to you as the leader of the group, and knowing how to lead effectively requires good management skills.
Classroom management can always be learned and improved, and it doesn’t mean every child should sit still and stay silent all day. It’s about creating a healthy learning environment, building positive relationships with students, and upholding behavioral expectations for all.
9. Stress Tolerance
One of the most overlooked but widely beneficial childcare worker soft skills is being able to remain calm under stress. When emotions run high or a big issue comes up, you can’t break down or give up. You have to remain calm, professional, and caring.
It’s not always easy to adapt to stressful changes. You have to lead with your passion and composure to focus on what’s important— the families and children you serve. It’s what will keep everything afloat when times get tough.
10. Tech Literacy
To be an efficient childcare provider, you need to know how to use the latest technology. A lot of childcare equipment today has a digital component. Learning tablets, computer games, electronic toys, smart thermostats— basic technology is an everyday staple.
Many childcare centers today also use some type of computer software to manage daily operations. Others use childcare management apps to track attendance, maintain parent communication, record learning outcomes, and more. You have to be open to learning new digital gadgets and tools, especially ones that help your business.
No matter how great your skills are, tech tools help you manage every detail of your childcare job. To learn more about how childcare software can help, reach out to Daily Connect.