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Day Care Assistant Duties and Responsibilities
In order to adequately take care of the children they're charged with, day care assistants perform a wide variety of tasks. Based on the job listings we looked at, they typically take on these duties and responsibilities:
Maintain Daycare Facilities No matter the age of the children being cared for, it's essential that their environment is safe, clean, and comfortable. That's why day care assistants need to help clean and organize the daycare facility at the beginning and end of each day.
Play with Children Playtime is not only fun for children - it also helps them learn about the world around them, practice social interactions, and develop an array of new skills. So, day care assistants must be able to consistently and energetically play with small or large groups of children in a safe and controlled manner.
Prepare and Clean Up Meals Throughout the course of the day, children must be provided with at least one full meal plus additional snacks. To accomplish this, day care assistants help prepare meals and snacks, supervise the children while they eat, and clean up after mealtime.
Promote Personal Hygiene There's no getting around it: Infants and toddlers tend to get dirty, fast. Because of this, day care assistants help the children under their care stay clean and teach them the importance of personal hygiene habits. Depending on the age of the children in the daycare, this can also involve changing diapers or helping children use the bathroom.
Oversee Projects and Free Time Although children should be allowed to play freely and express themselves through art projects and crafts, they must be supervised at all times. That's why day care assistants oversee projects, free time, and other activities.
Day Care Assistant Skills and QualificationsDay care assistants should be compassionate and caring individuals who enjoy helping and teaching children. Depending on where they're employed, daycare assistants may also need experience in specific areas, such as working with disabled children or caring for newborns. Employers generally prefer day care assistants with the following skills and qualifications:
- Communication skills - in order to effectively interact with both children and parents, it's crucial that daycare assistants have excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Multitasking - because daycares are often noisy and hectic environments, it's important that daycare assistants multitask effectively and calmly
- Organization skills - when preparing meals, assisting with art projects, or playing games, good organization skills help daycare assistants keep everything running smoothly. These skills can also help daycare assistants keep detailed records of the children's activities
- Patience - since children can be loud, easily distracted, and reluctant to follow instructions, daycare assistants must have a high degree of patience and understanding
- Physical fitness - while it's not necessary for daycare assistants to be unusually strong, it is important that they're able to kneel down, pick up toys and other objects, carry infants and small children, and move around both indoors and outdoors
Day Care Assistant Education and TrainingGenerally speaking, day care assistants need no formal training. In most cases, a high school diploma or equivalent is adequate. However, some employees may require that daycare assistants have an associate's or bachelor's degree in early childhood education or be willing to take courses on the subject. For all positions, prior experience working with children is a plus, which can include babysitting or other similar jobs.
Day Care Assistant Salary and OutlookAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, childcare workers, including daycare assistants, make a median hourly wage of $10.72. The lowest paid earn $8.41 or less per hour, while the highest paid earn $15.76 or more per hour. Employment of childcare workers is expected to grow 7 percent by 2026, meaning that 84,300 new positions will be created during that period.
If you want to become a day care assistant, take a look at the useful resources we gathered below to help you achieve that goal:
National Child Care Association - NCCA is a countrywide organization that provides its members with advocacy, updates on legal matters, webinars, discounts on university classes, and more
The Encyclopedia of Infant and Toddler Activities - this book is extremely useful for parents and daycare workers of all kinds. It contains a wealth of ideas that will help you learn how to interact with children in a fun and educational way
HiMama - this blog features educator spotlights, tips and tricks, podcasts, lists of the best daycares, activity ideas, and more
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