Qualities and Skills to be Good in Childcare
If you’ve been considering a career in childcare but aren’t feeling confident that you have the right skills and qualities, you may be surprised to find that you possess many of them already. While working in childcare isn’t for everyone, most people have the ability to be meaningful and successful early childhood educators. In this post, we’ll discuss what skills and qualities you need to work in childcare.
9 qualities of a good early childhood educator
Working in childcare involves communicating with children of varying ages, so good Educators can engage with those they’re caring for in a manner appropriate for each age group. Understanding the needs of different age groups will empower you to create an environment where children’s learning can truly blossom.
From the moment a baby comes into the world, they can take in information and communicate both verbally and non-verbally. Talking to a child regularly is equally as important as listening and watching for these non-verbal cues. Responding promptly with patience, warmth and encouragement lets them know that they’re genuinely cared for and builds trust between you and the child.
As babies grow into toddlers and young children, you’ll see a change in the way they communicate. It’s important for childcare educators to demonstrate active listening and respectful communication during this time by using kind, considerate and age-appropriate language. Children learn by watching the people they look up to, and as a childcare worker, you’ll be one of their role models. By practising good communication, you’re teaching children to do the same.
Patience and persistence
Patience and persistence are important qualities to have if you want to work in early childhood education and care. Children experience a wide range of emotions during their first few years, and caring for them with warmth, positivity and encouragement will support each child to thrive.
Remaining calm and continuing to work with them until a resolution is met teaches them how to successfully navigate difficult situations on their own, while helping build a healthy relationship between you and the child. When you persist in helping a child until you reach an outcome you’re both happy with, you’re creating a supportive learning environment where children feel safe, creative and free to learn.
There are a lot of different issues you could experience when you begin working in a childcare centre, such as tantrums, tears and disagreements between children. It’s important that you can effectively find solutions to these issues by understanding the best ways to respond to and anticipate their needs fairly and responsibly.
You may need to use problem-solving skills in a situation where a child is not responding well to instructions. Every child will have different reasons for behaving the way they do, and you’ll need to work out why they’re not responding well and how you can encourage them to reconsider their choices. Being proactive towards potential problems will help reduce them from arising in the first place, and good problem-solving qualities will help you identify and respond to these cues.
Organisation and time management
When you begin working in childcare, it will help to have strong organisational qualities. Childcare is a fast-paced environment and managing your time effectively will help you maintain good learning conditions for the children in your care.
You’ll particularly notice the benefits of a good organisation in the older age groups. As they grow and develop, your role moves away from just supporting children’s development and more towards teaching fundamental skills in a structured environment. You’ll get to plan out learning experiences and create play-based activities for children. Organising your environment and managing your time will make you more productive and create better learning experiences.
Time management is equally important with babies and toddlers, as there tends to be many different things going on at once. Good planning and prioritisation will help you provide a high standard of care to children and will provide families with peace of mind.
Love and kindness
Having loving, kind and caring qualities is a strong indication that you’ll be a fantastic childcare worker. If you’re able to show children empathy and warmth, you’ll be developing meaningful relationships where children see you as a safe and trusted role model in their lives. You’ll be encouraging learning, positive behaviour and a safe, secure and happy environment where they feel empowered to learn and thrive.
Children tend to show good listening skills, respond positively, and remain engaged when you interact with them in a thoughtful, caring tone. Children will feel a lot more calm, comfortable, and curious in these environments, and will be more encouraged to explore the world around them through play-based learning.
Planning and decision making
As a childcare educator, you’ll often be involved in creating activities and learning opportunities for children. You’ll also have a role in maintaining a safe and secure environment that supports children’s growth and creativity. Good planning skills will help you care for children at your centre in a more methodical, systematic way, while still leaving room to exercise your creativity.
You’ll not only experience a calmer, less stressful life as a childcare worker, but you’ll be providing a more fulfilling, meaningful start to life for the children you care for. You’ll be a positive role model who children look up to as someone who handles problems calmly and effectively. The example you set as a childcare educator will shape the rest of the children’s lives, and with strong planning and decision-making skills, you’ll be an inspiring leader with qualities that children admire.
Creativity is a quality that will go a long way in early childhood education. You’ll have a big role in designing fun, engaging activities that contribute towards developmental milestones. You’ll have a large variety of resources at your disposal, but you’ll need to find ways of using them to achieve learning objectives in your activities. Creativity will help you consistently come up with fresh new ways of caring for children.
A big part of building genuine relationships in your childcare role will involve your creativity. Childcare should be a fun experience that makes children look forward to coming to the centre each day. If they see your creativity in the games and activities they participate in, you’ll have a stronger influence on them and will have more of an effect on their learning and development.
Compassion and respect
Anyone who works with children should have the skills to act with compassion and respect. When you start working in childcare, you become a teacher, mentor and counsellor, all at the same time. If you can relate to children and interact with them respectfully, you’ll build trust and honesty in your relationships with them.
You’ll find that they look up to you more, which means they’ll learn and develop qualities that reflect how you behave. They’ll grow into kind and compassionate people themselves and will have more respect and empathy towards their peers.
Being emotive and offering empathy will make sure your childcare centre is a safe and secure place where children go to enjoy play-based learning. It won’t be a place to fear, but a place where they can thrive and become the best versions of themselves.
Leadership and management
If you’re interested in a long-term career in childcare, there’ll probably be times when you’re offered opportunities to lead and manage a team of educators. If you have the skills and qualities required for this type of role, you’ll find the transition much more smooth and natural.
You’ll have the chance to pass your skills and experience as a childcare worker on to the next generation of educators, while still interacting with children. You’ll get to put forward your own ideas on how to care for children and work together with families, children and your team members to provide the highest quality care in your centre.
Being a leader involves being a mentor to not just children, but also to your team. You’ll need to continually act in a way that the educators you’re leading should act. You should be able to represent your centre’s values and promote these to families in your communication and actions.
Are you looking for a great future in childcare? Call us today on 1300 765 560 or take a look at current vacancies at Guardian here.