Do you love working with children? Did you know that you could turn that passion into a career? But before you start on the path, find out if you have the right skills. Here are the 5 most important skills you’ll need as a child care assistant.
Maybe it goes without saying, but if you’re going to work with little kiddos, you’ll need an abundance of patience. Children can sometimes be a challenge, especially as they adjust to new environments or are away from their parents and comfort zones. You’ll need to respond to toddler tantrums and mini meltdowns in a calm, reassuring manner. And sometimes it’s the parents who will really try your patience. But put yourself in their places. If you were a scared little kid, you wouldn’t want someone pulling you away from mom and dad or hurrying you onto the next task. And if you were leaving the most precious thing in your life at a daycare doorstep, you’d want the person there to answer your questions and calm your nerves with patient understanding.
You need to deliver instructions to your students in a clear and easy to understand way. With parents and colleagues, you need to relate the progress of the children in your care and speak to accomplishments and challenges. Communication is a two-way street. You also must listen well to understand colleague’s recommendations and parent’s requests. And because there will always be written communication, you need to make sure that the way you write is professional, clear, and concise.
3. Physical Stamina
Kids have a lot of energy! If you want to keep up, it helps to be in good shape and willing to get down on the floor at circle time or participate in outdoor activities. You will stand for long periods of time and will need to move and lift things—including little people from time to time. You’ll also need a certain amount of hand dexterity for all those art projects. Exactly what you’ll be responsible for depends on where you choose to work and with what age level kids, but expect to be in motion for most of the day.
Every child is different. That means what works really well for one child may have no effect at all for another. That’s why good judgment and quick decision-making skills are vital. You need to be able to respond to the individual child in the situation at hand. Maybe little Abby is struggling with transitioning to the next activity. Do you patiently tell her what’s coming? Or can you easily distract her attention to what’s next? You need to be able to respond to children’s needs as they arise, whether during routine activities or when there’s an actual emergency. Those kids—and their parents—rely on you. Can you handle the responsibility?
5. Ability to adapt
Your kids will be learning and growing every single day. You need to be able to keep up with them and adjust how you react to their needs. Children learn and explore at different rates and your skills in adapting to each child will help you better navigate your classroom, while helping the children feel loved, respected, and important.
If you are interested in learning more how to hone the skills you already possess to become a child care assistant, fill out the form to schedule a school tour today at the Jackson campus of Career Quest Learning Centers.