To many people the word childcare or working in a childcare jobs is synonymous with working in a crèche or nursery. There are however a whole range of jobs that fall under the umbrella of ‘Childcare’. It is important to appreciate the range of jobs on offer and what they entail if considering a job in childcare.
Whether you are returning to the work place full-time, planning a night out with your better half, or looking for an extra pair of hands to keep older children entertained while you take care of a toddler or new-born, child-care providers can help give you a break. But you may be overwhelmed with the variety of child care services and providers. Should you choose a nanny or an au pair? A mother’s helper or ask a trusted relative? Which type of child care is the best fit for you and your budget, remember childcare is not cheap -so it is important to understand what differentiates one from the other in the first place.
The good news: Whether you can spend a little or a lot, whether you need full-time care or you just an hour of help here and there, there is a childcare provider who can meet your needs.
Types of Childcare available and childcare jobs:
- Childminders: A childminder is somebody who provides childcare for children in the childminder’s own home for more than two hours a day. A childminder must be registered in order to work.
- Nannies: A nanny provides childcare for one or more children in the parent’s own home. Nannies can sometimes live-in with the family. Many families have a full-time nanny but it is also popular to employ a part-time nanny or after school live-out nanny. Some nannies will have a formal education in child development or related fields. Nannies who provide care for newly born babies during the night are known as night nannies. Nannies generally charge by the hour and rates are higher than a babysitter. There are many nanny services available to assist you in hiring a nanny and to do background and reference checks for you.
- Babysitters: A babysitter usually babysits in the parent’s home for a few hours during the day or most commonly the evening while the parents go out. A babysitter is paid an hourly rate.
90 second Youtube video on how to be a good babysitter
- Au Pairs: An Au Pair will live with you and your family, in return for board and lodging and a small allowance. They will normally expect to do some light housework and will care for your child or children.
- Private midwives: A private or independent midwife will help with your pregnancy and also help with the birth of your child in the comfort of your own home as well as giving help and support for the initial weeks of parenthood. This type of care can be rather expensive.
- Nursery/ day care or crèche and Montessori staff provide preschool structured day care service for pre school children.
- Maternity Nurses: A maternity nurses helps the mother with all aspects of caring for a newborn. They are usually very experienced in dealing with not just the baby but also in supporting caring and teaching new or first time parents how to look after their newborn but also in giving the parents that all important rest period in what can be quite a daunting time of one’s life.
- Private tutor: A private tutor generally is a teacher by profession who offers extra coaching in certain academic subjects or in cases where the parents both work or would be too busy to do homework the tutor can assist with the children’s homework or for prepping for upcoming school exams.
- Housekeeper: A housekeeper comes to your house and does cleaning chores that you don’t want to do or unable to do. Housekeepers also help with the duties or responsibilities concerning the children of the house. Mostly associated with large houses or estates with considerable wealth.
- After school care providers care for children of school going age after school until the parent finishes work.
- Childminders: Provide a childcare services in their own home and are self employed.
As you can see there are many categories that fall under childcare so once you have some experience your job search does not have to just focus on a specific sector, in most cases as long as you are good with dealing with children and in some cases the parents ! You can fit in to plenty of the categories above.
Most if not all childcare jobs will require that you are vetted in advance of employment – for the simple reason that you will be around children all of the time. This will be in the form of police vetting and past work references. Jobs like babysitting, nanny or au pair do not require any educational qualifications, but these do help, whereas if you are working in a nursery or crèche with children you will be required to have certain childcare qualifications. Then there are government jobs which will have more stringent employment criteria – but perhaps at the end of the day more job security.
The most common of all childcare jobs has to be babysitting – and most would not even consider or think to consider it as a childcare job but when you look at the job spec ‘ caring for the children while the parents are out’ it ticks all the boxes. A nanny on the other hand cares for children on a full time basis so the ability to relate to children is a key requirement. In addition more and more nannies today have some childcare qualifications. see this article on 7 step guide on how to become a nanny.
For me though if I could choose a childcare job to dip my toes into the industry it would have to be that of an au pair. Going to a foreign country to live with a host family and learn their cultures and language while getting fed and paid for it! …oh and of course minding the children sounds rather appealing. Pick a country, say South Africa …..Look up au pair jobs South Africa, do a little homework on the country and a job search and see what you can get. Even if you did not want to go for a prolonged period you could consider summer nanny jobs for the experience and then if you like the country and the people and so forth you could dabble further into the au pair world. It is a perfect way to determine if dealing with children is for you while being exposed to a new culture and exploring the country in your spare time.
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