5 Skills and Qualities To Hone If You Want To Work With Children

Working with children is fun, and perhaps one of the most rewarding jobs you can think of. However, it isn’t for everyone. Working with kids requires a unique set of skills and certain personality traits to do it well and overcome the various challenges that come with it. Kids are often considered “regular people in the miniature form”, but nothing could be further from the truth. Children are unique beings who are still in the development journey to become the regular people you are used to dealing with in the adult world. This means that they don’t yet possess the skills, coping mechanisms as well as boundaries that seem natural to you.

Thus, you should keep in mind that working with children will significantly differ from working with adults. What’s more, it also significantly differs from working with older children. If you are thinking about pursuing a career working with children (whether as an entertainer, educator, or in human services) here are five key skills you need to work on:

Patience

Topping the list of the skills you need is patience, and this is for a good reason. As noted earlier, children are not adults. They don’t think or process things the way adults do. Marrying what you know with what they can understand can be incredibly frustrating. You’ll find yourself explaining a lot and repeating yourself many times. Keep in mind that kids are also easily distracted and keeping their attention on one thing is difficult. Thus, you will need a lot of patience to avoid getting frustrated.

Note that kid time differs from adult time. Those who have ever played “house” with a young child know this all too well. See here for salary calculator for nannies.

The Ability to Mask Frustration and Annoyance

Children can easily notice even the smallest changes in their behavior. You need to possess the ability to hide frustration, annoyance, boredom, tiredness, etc. This doesn’t mean that you always need to be happy as it is also important and okay to show them that you aren’t pleased when they misbehave. However, you need to do it in the right way, for instance, groaning when they insist that you read them The Hungry Caterpillar for the twentieth time can make them feel demoralized. It is important to know how to hide your exhaustion, boredom, and frustration.

The Ability to Keep Calm in an Emergency

Have you ever noticed that children usually become distressed when adults are distressed? If you are ever in an emergency situation around children, it is crucial that you know how to keep calm to avoid making the situation worse. If you’ve made up your mind that you want a career working with children you need to learn how to maintain a calm presence even when things around you are overwhelming. Keep in mind that the children will look to you for how to react and how to handle everything.

Tip: Learning how you need to act and deal with difficult and emergency situations is the best way to develop this sense of calm. For instance, undergoing a first aid training course and child and infant CPR classes helps you to know exactly what to do in case of such an emergency thus helping you to keep calm.

Communication

Working with kids doesn’t always mean that you need to “dumb down” whatever information you are trying to get across. This is not only unnecessary but also an extra hassle. Rather than “dumbing down” information, it is better to use information that the children can relate to when illustrating an idea. The best way to teach children new skills and concepts is through stories and examples that they can relate to.

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