As a working parent, one of the hardest things to do is to find a suitable childcare professional to look after your child while you are at work. Parents are always asking themselves questions like:

  • What if my child has an accident while he or she is at day care? Will the childcare worker notice? Will he or she respond in time?
  • What if my child doesn’t get along with the other children at the day care centre?
  • What if the childcare worker forgets to feed my child, or feeds my child something that he or she is allergic to?
  • How will I know if the childcare worker fails to comply with basic safety and hygiene procedures?
  • Will my child develop to his or her full potential if I am not there to look after him or her during the day?

To set their minds at ease when it comes to these questions, parents put a lot of time and effort into finding the right childcare professionals to look after their children. If you are considering a career in childcare, therefore, you should know what the various factors are that parents look at when they choose a childcare worker.

To help you find out what these factors are, we spoke to Lauren, mom of a 16-month-old daughter, and a full-time employee at Oxbridge Academy. She mentioned that she would consider the following when choosing a childcare worker to look after her daughter:

Is he or she friendly and approachable?

Lauren says: “It’s extremely important that the childcare worker is approachable and friendly. No parent wants to have their child surrounded by any unpleasant behaviour. As a parent, I expect a childcare worker to greet us with a smile and to give me feedback about my child when I pick her up at the end of the day.”

Is he or she responsible?

Taking care of children is a big responsibility, especially when other people’s children are involved. In this regard, Lauren says: “I expect the childcare worker to supervise the children under his or her care at all times and to make responsible decisions when the parents are gone.”

Is he or she trained to work with children?

Lauren says: “Looking after children is a tough job. Yes, experience in working with children allows you to develop certain skills, but I feel more comfortable leaving my child in the care of someone who is qualified and trained to work with children.”

And, in general, parents are more likely to trust qualified childcare workers to:

  • Handle emergency situations
  • Set good behavioural examples for their children.
  • Follow appropriate nutritional guidelines.
  • Implement good hygiene practices and follow relevant safety regulations.
  • Assist their children in developing to their full potential, not only physically, but also intellectually, socially, and emotionally.

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Does he or she have plenty of patience?

Lauren says: “When looking after children, you have to have loads of patience. You constantly have to remind and prompt a child to do things – like sitting still, playing nicely, and sharing with their friends. The last thing you want in a professional childcare worker is someone who is easily angered when a child misbehaves or acts out. Impatient behaviour would create a very tense and unhealthy environment for a child.”

Does he or she have basic first aid skills?

Lauren says: “I wouldn’t leave my child in the care of someone who wouldn’t be able to administer basic first aid. What if something happens to her that could have been prevented if she’d been treated in time? I would feel responsible.”

Now you know what characteristics parents are looking for when they choose a nanny, au pair, or day care professional to look after their children.

If you’re thinking of pursuing a career in professional childcare, you might also be interested in checking out the following resources: