Inside Child Care Provider Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Wide Range Of Child Options...
I was surprised how frustrating the parents can be. They are demanding and rude." (Preschool Director; 2014)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Early Childhood Education at Grayson County College in Texas; completed Associate degree in 2011

"Parents Just Don't Understand...
One surprising thing is the involvement of the students parents. Some parents tend to think the teachers are there to babysit. Another surprise is the support of the administration. I've always heard horror stories about administration but ours is pretty supportive. Probably because they were once teachers." (Teacher; 2014)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in Massachusetts, female
School: Studied Education at Springfield College in Massachusetts; completed Master degree in 1996

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Nanny: "The most amazing and rewarding part of my career is being able to see the children grow and learn every day. With young children, they are discovering multiple new things each and every day. Watching a child go from not being able to sit up to running around the yard is the best feeling in the world. Being able to be a trusted adult for the children and have them come to you for emotional support is extremely gratifying. The hardest part of this career is leaving a family if they do not need you any more, or whatever the reason may be. You truly become a part of another family and it is very difficult to leave." (2011)

Nanny: "Most of the time I love my job. Sometimes the tasks I have to perform are repetitive and tedious, and other times I don't have enough to do and so I am bored. I would love to work in a classroom or group setting with more children. The boy I look after is kind of wild at times and doesn't always listen, so that can be challenging. The kids do give me a lot of love which makes up for any hard situations, however!" (2011)

Nanny: "I love my job because the kids and I get to decide what we do each day. We can stay home and chill out and make popcorn and watch movies, or we can go outside and run around the backyard or go to the local park. It is my chance to act like a little kid again and I love it. The only bad part about my job is that it sometimes gets a little boring with only two kids to look after. I would love to have a few more children to watch." (2011)

Daycare Provider: "The best part of my job is knowing I'm making a difference in the growth and nurture of small children. Seeing the delight on children's faces when they show their parents their art work and the matching delight on the parents' faces is so gratifying. I've also developed a wonderful relationship with some of the families and actually assist in child care on a personal level. The worst part is dealing with parents who feel obliged to go to work even when their children are feeling unwell. It's difficult to understand why their jobs are more important than their offspring." (2010)

Child Care Provider: "The best part of my job is watching the kids grow up. I primarily watch pre-school children. Once these children enter the school environment, it is amazing how quickly they learn. After school when they come to me, it's like watching a sponge. They change every day and the questions they ask are amazing and thoughtful, most of the time. The worst part of the job is definitely discipline. What works for one child doesn't for another so I'm always trying to figure out what works with a child. Once I know what I need to do to discipline, then consistency is key and though it's pretty straightforward, it is not always easy." (2010)

Home Daycare Provider: "The best part of my job is definitely the time I get to spend with the children. Every day there is something they do that makes me smile or makes me happy. It is very satisfying to know that these children come into my home knowing they will be safe and will enjoy their time away from their mom or dad. The worst part of my job is sometimes dealing with parents who don't seem to have their children as a priority. (I do usually have a great group of parents, so this is not very often.)" (2010)

Career Background

Child Care Provider

  Job Tasks
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  How to Prepare for the Job
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Career Video

Career Tips

"Start Childcare Today...
Start early" (Preschool Director; 2014)

"Don't Settle...
One thing I would tell a new employee is not to take things personal. Everyone is going to respond to you differently. Positive and negative responses should be expected. Communicate to your superiors exactly what you want and need. There are no mind readers out there. Be consistent and persistent." (Teacher; 2014)

"Know How To Handle Emergencies...
Take as many child development-related courses as possible. This will help you to know what is and is not developmentally appropriate. Often times, parents will ask you development questions as well since they often look to you as the expert. Be sure that you are certified and up to date in first aide and CPR training Often times, you are alone with multiple children and you need to know how to handle an emergency situation on your own without panicking. Learn as much as you can about the children you will be caring for before you start your job. Knowing what the children enjoy, their fears, and any medical conditions can help you to prepare and feel confident about your role." (Nanny; 2011)

"Study Education First...
I would definitely pursue a qualification in education before becoming a nanny. It would open many more doors for you, and you could also move into teaching or tutoring later. A qualification in CPR is often essential for any childcare position. A good driving record is also usually required. Lots of love and infinite patience is also very important! Finally, registering with an agency, either a bricks-and-mortar or online agency, would also give you the best chance of securing the right position for you." (Nanny; 2011)

"Take CPR...
I would recommend that you are qualified in CPR and also take either early childhood education or child development courses. A lot of parents require these qualifications in a nanny. Being flexible in the hours that you work is also important. It is also vital that you are honest and trustworthy. A good nanny is worth his or her weight in gold to parents. Remember that your salary and benefits will raise as you gain more experience so don't be discouraged with low pay when you first start out." (Nanny; 2011)

"Dish Out The Hugs...
Working with children is so gratifying. But be prepared to exercise patience and affection. Children love attention, hugs and praise. A background in early childhood development is always helpful to day care providers, but in a private day care center may not necessarily be crucial." (Daycare Provider; 2010)

"Try Camp Counseling To Get Experience...
A student who's considering a career in childcare should know that it requires patience and consistency. I would recommend volunteering with children or working as a camp counselor in the summer. It is important to find out if you enjoy being around children before you start a career in childcare so that you can be successful. Find a mentor. Someone you know who does the type of job you want. Ask them the pros and cons of their job. Try to gather as much information as you can so that you can make an informed decision on a career path." (Child Care Provider; 2010)

"Work In A Day Care Center First...
I guess I would say that the basic requirement for my job would be a love of children. If someone wanted to pursue a career in home day care, I would suggest: 1. Work in a pre-school or daycare for a while. It is not an easy job. It takes a lot of patience and energy. 2. Take some classes in early childhood education. 3. Find out the rules and regulations for your area. Check to make sure your home would be suitable for this business." (Home Daycare Provider; 2010)