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Child Caregiver Duties and Responsibilities

While a child caregiver's day-to-day duties and responsibilities are determined by where they work, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these include:

Provide a Structured and Caring Environment Child caregivers, plan, supervise, and implement a structured learning environment that allows young children to explore their interests. For example, they may read and play with toddlers to introduce social skills such as manners. They help young children learn through creative group activities.

Maintain Child Hygiene Child caregivers are required by law to maintain a safe, sanitary, and clean environment for the children under their care. When needed, a caregiver may change the diaper of an infant or toddler. They may need to help a young child go to the bathroom. Throughout the day as kids play, child caregivers make sure their environment stays neat and may enlist the children's help to keep this standard.

Prepare and Organize Snacks A child caregiver ensures that the children they take care of have enough to eat. They normally prepare and organize mealtimes and snacks for kids. Great child caregivers prepare nutritional food selections for children and encourage them to try new things.

Supervise Play and Rest Since play is so important for the healthy psychological development of children, child caregivers combine playtime with other instructional strategies to aid this development. Caregivers create routines to make sure that children have a balanced amount of physical activity, rest, and playtime. While children are playing with each other, caregivers monitor for any safety concerns.

Communicate with Staff and Parents Child caregivers are responsible for carefully watching for any signs of emotional or development issues with children. When they notice something amiss, they must bring it to the attention of a child's parents or the appropriate team leader. A primary goal of a child caregiver is to create a positive relationship with parents, children, and other staff. They engage in active communication to help keep children safe and make them feel cared for.


Child Caregiver Skills and Qualifications

People who are exceptionally patient and passionate about working with children will thrive as child caregivers. Employers from larger childcare establishments typically prefer candidates who have a degree or certification in early childcare, CPR certification, at least one year of childcare experience, and the following skills:
  • Familiarity with childhood development - understanding how childhood development works is essential for child caregivers who address the emotional, physical, and mental needs of children every day
  • Physical fitness - child caregivers must be able to sit, stand, bend, and physically lift children weighing up to 40 pounds
  • Creativity - child caregivers often involve children in creative activities such as art, dance, and music to stimulate their development
  • Interpersonal skills - interpersonal skills are essential for child caregivers who need to communicate with children and their parents on a constant basis
  • Writing skills - many child caregivers maintain contact with families of children through newsletters and reports

Child Caregiver Education and Training

Most child caregiver positions at childcare centers require a high school diploma or GED. A bachelor's degree or certification in early childcare is strongly preferred by most employers but not required for all of them. Employers also look for candidates with current CPR and first aid certifications and at least one year of experience in a professional childcare environment.

Child Caregiver Salary and Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for child caregivers is $10.72 per hour. The lowest 10 percent of earners make less than $8.41 per hour. The highest 10 percent of workers in this field earn more than $15.75 per hour. The BLS predicts that demand for child caregivers will grow 7 percent through 2026, which is an average amount of growth when compared to all other occupations. Parents will continue to need assistance from child caregivers. However, the increasing costs of childcare may reduce demand.

Helpful Resources

We searched the web for the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as a child caregiver. Here are more ways to learn whether becoming one is right for you:

National Association for Family Child Care - visit the NAFCC website to join a national network of providers working to promote excellent childcare and get more tools, tips, and resources to start a career as a child caregiver

The National Office of Childcare - get resources, funding, and learning opportunities from the national Office of the Administration for Children and Families, which can help you build a successful career as a child caregiver

Daycare Answers - full of helpful tips and resources, this website can help you learn how to keep kids busy and give them an enjoyable daycare experience

The Daycare Provider's Workbook - this step-by-step guide simplifies the process of setting up and running a quality home daycare or child caregiver business

Positive Discipline for Childcare Providers: A Practical and Effective Plan for Every Preschool and Daycare Program - this easily adaptable childcare guide tackles some of the toughest childcare issues

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