When it comes to being a caregiver, the job typically requires someone to come in and fulfill a list of important needs. From doing laundry, to school pick-ups and drop-offs, the role as a caregiver can be quite demanding, leaving you to feel like you must leave parts of yourself at home. While remaining professional and completing tasks is important, it’s also helpful to just be you.
Being You At Work
Working in an environment that allows you to show up as your most authentic self is sure to make for a very enjoyable work experience. Who wants to come to work feeling like a different person? The good news is, you don’t have to. There’s nothing wrong with expressing your passions, your needs, or challenges at work. After all, you are a human who has a whole life outside of being a caregiver. Allowing these parts of you to shine on the job will ensure that you are staying true to who you are and what you love. This is also an excellent way to strengthen communication and connection with the children you are working with. Here are a few examples.
Let’s say you love to travel. It may not be in your job description to go on vacations with the family, but you can bring travel to you.
- One way to do this is by getting out of the house and exploring something new. Talk to the parents about planning weekly field trips with the children. The zoo, local parks, museums, and events happening in the area are all great ways to explore travel.
- If you work in a larger city, you might also consider using different forms of public transportation to make the experience more immersive. A train or bus ride through town would be a fun way to teach the children about exploring.
- If public transportation isn’t an option, you might consider implementing arts and crafts that are related to travel into your day or using an interactive map to learn about different parts of the world.
Create A Playlist
Do you love music? You probably know this, but most children do too. Here are a few fun ideas you can use to bring that love to work with you:
- Add some more tunes into your day by partnering with the child to make a playlist. Creating a playlist can do a few things: first, this is a great way to engage with the child(ren) you’re working with. You can use this time to learn more about their favorite songs and the types of music that they enjoy listening to. Add them to the playlist and have dance parties throughout the day.
- If you want to take it a step further, think about what your workday consists of and create playlists according to your schedule. A playlist with upbeat songs would be great for playtime while a more relaxed playlist could be used during meals.
- Another easy way to incorporate more tunes into your work life is by using songs to transition to the next activity. Transition songs are helpful when establishing a routine and also give the children gentle reminders of what’s to come. For example, it’s time to clean up and get ready for a nap, but the child is having a hard time parting ways with their favorite things. Singing or playing a song that signals to them that it’s time to put their things away can show them that clean-up time doesn’t have to be so bad, in fact, it can be a lot of fun.
Cooking With Kids
Are you someone who loves trying out new recipes? Cooking with the children is a fun, and maybe a little messy, way to do what you love on the job. Start by talking to the parents about what meals or snacks would be the best to try with the kids. This is a snack or meal that the children will also be eating so you need to make sure it’s parent-approved before diving in. Something to keep in mind is the preparation that will take place i.e. grocery shopping, food prep, kitchen utensils needed, safety precautions, etc. Once you’ve chosen the recipe and gathered your materials, it’s time for you the little one to get cooking.
Do What You Enjoy
Maybe you’re not a lover of travel, music, or you’re not the best cook. That’s okay. Take some time to make a list of your favorite things to do outside of work. Now, think about how you would include the children you work with in this activity?
Although you’re a caregiver and have been given a role to fill, you are also a person who has unique interests and abilities. Showing up as your whole self on the job will help you to be more comfortable while doing your job, form deeper connections with the family, and allow you to enjoy the work that you do even more.