If you are starting a childcare business, you will likely need assistance in one way or another. One of the ways you can expand the number of children you can care for is to hire child care providers. If you are hiring additional staff to care for children, you must understand the duties of a child care provider.
Child care providers are expected to maintain a safe environment, prioritize cleanliness, exert energy, provide for the needs of the children, and communicate well with all parties involved.
There is much more to understand about each of these duties, so read on to dive deeper into the expectations for all child care providers.
If a care provider can excel in each of these areas, the children attending your center will be well taken care of. It is important to have a conversation with your employees about each of these categories to make sure they know how to best care for the children under your roof.
Child Care Providers Maintain a Safe Environment
Safety first, right!?
Maintaining a safe environment can mean many things depending on the situation.
If your care provider is driving the children around, they must understand all of the rules of the road.
They must also know that they are safe to drive before entering the vehicle with the children. Are they awake enough? Are they focused? Are they distracted by technology or life circumstances?
Even the smallest mistake can be critical when in a moving vehicle, so care providers must be safe every step of the way.
Kitchen safety is extremely important as well, especially if children are assisting in the area.
Hot stoves or sharp knives can make for a very poor experience if a child is not properly monitored. Not to mention, they can quickly cause a problem for a full-grown adult if they aren’t paying enough attention to what they’re doing.
Sometimes the children your care providers will be tending to will not come from healthy or happy homes. Child care teachers may find themselves on the front lines of a crisis at home, a child in poor living conditions, or even an abusive family.
In these circumstances, it is a child care provider’s duty to respond to the situation immediately. They must speak up for a child that may not be able to speak for themselves, reporting to the proper authorities so they can follow up with an official investigation.
Unfortunately, injuries will likely happen at your childcare center. Kids will be kids and sometimes kids get hurt.
A quality child care provider will respond to injuries well. They will tend to the minor wounds and have a good sense of when a child needs additional attention.
If a child is not well cared for at the start of an injury, it could lead to infection, permanent damage, or worse, so be sure your staff is well trained on all injury protocols.
Finally, all child care center staff must be on the lookout for hazards at all times. This constant awareness may take some getting used to, but your children, staff, and business will benefit from the added effort.
Child Care Providers Prioritize Cleanliness
Many times, cleanliness is connected to safety.
If a situation is unclean, it is often unsafe. This is why prioritizing cleanliness is second to maintaining a safe environment for all.
At some point, children will likely need to use the bathroom under your care. Different children may have differing needs when it comes to potty time.
Babies will need a complete diaper change. Other smaller kids may need assistance getting on the toilet and remembering to wipe. Even older children will likely need a reminder to wash their hands after using the bathroom.
Child care providers can assist by accompanying children to the bathroom, asking if they need help along the way, and reminding children to tend to themselves where they are able.
Mealtime is another time when cleanliness will need to be prioritized.
Once again, students will need reminders to wash their hands. They may also need reminders to not eat off the floor, share food with friends, or wipe their faces.
Making sure mealtime remains clean will help children remain safe, even when they least expect their safety to be an issue.
Play Area Cleanliness
Child care providers will also be ultimately responsible for making sure play areas are properly cleaned up.
On their own, most children will neglect to put their toys away after they’ve moved on to another activity. Staff can help by offering gentle reminders to help kids remember the equipment they’ve left out.
When all unused items are put in their place, the environment will immediately be safer for all involved.
Child Care Providers Exert Energy
Another responsibility of care providers is to exert energy.
Keep Up with the Kids
Children want to spend time with fun people… and so care providers should do their best to keep up with the kids.
Even if your staff isn’t the most “fun,” they should still be able to follow along with the activities of the kids throughout their time together.
Another way care providers will need to exert energy is by exerting emotional energy.
While the problems of children may seem small, they will need their adult figures to truly listen, empathize, and respond appropriately.
Even the tiniest of fights between kids can completely rock their world. A quality care provider will need to be able to react well to these situations, supporting their children.
Mental energy may also need to be exerted by child care providers, especially if homework is involved.
Just because a child has homework doesn’t mean the adult needs to understand how to complete the homework.
However, it will be helpful to children if their caregivers are willing to walk with them through the learning process, so they can give their best effort on their assignments.
Child Care Providers Communicate Well with All Parties
Communication is a crucial duty every child care provider must take part in. There are many ways communication is lived out in a child care center.
Communication Between Children and Staff
First, children need to understand the roles of their care providers. They need to be clearly told the rules and then disciplined appropriately if they neglect to follow them.
While children and staff can enjoy their time together, they must also have clear boundaries about who is in charge and what that means for all parties involved.
Staff also need to understand their children well. As they get to know the kids more and more they will be more equipped to look for abnormalities.
This way if anything changes about one of your kids’ personalities, the issue can be properly addressed with parents.
Communication Between Staff and Parents
Caregivers must also communicate well with the parents of their children.
Parents will be looking for updates – positive and negative. They will want to be properly notified when there are issues with their children. They will also want to hear all the wonderful advancements their kids are making under the care provider’s care.
Checkout these questions every daycare should know the answers to HERE!
Child Care Providers Provide for the needs of the Children
While providing safety, cleanliness, communication, and energy are important duties of any child care provider, children also need someone to simply provide for them.
This may look like making them lunch or breakfast, depending on the time of day.
This might look like actually feeding them if they are very young.
This also could look like keeping them on schedule so that they do not miss any of the important activities that help them develop into well-rounded young people.
Ultimately, the care provider needs to be constantly focused on the child’s needs so that the child can have the happiest, safest, and most productive time possible.
How many child care providers should I hire?
To properly answer this question, you will need to look at your budget.
How many child care providers can you actually afford? To know this, you will need to know what you are going to pay them, how much money you will make per child, and how many children you plan to take on.
It would also be helpful for you to understand how many adults you are legally required to have per child. In many states, there are regulations about exactly how many kids there can be per adult.
Be sure you are making an informed decision in regards to the legality of your decision as well as the financial repercussions.
How do I choose the right child care provider?
You will want to be sure the person you hire is prepared to complete these duties daily. They will want to be fully informed of the expectations ahead of them.
To gauge what type of person they are, you will want to talk to a few of their references. This will give you insight into how they have performed in the past.
Getting to know their interests and dreams will also help hire the right child care providers. Some applicants will be applying because this work will be a stepping stone to future work with children. Others will simply need a job for some extra cash. This can make all the difference in their attitude and ability to fulfill their duties as child care providers.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
To learn more on how to start your own daycare checkout my startup course and documents here.