Working in the child care industry isn’t one size fits all. There are many different avenues that you can take, but how do you know which one is best for you? How do you determine when it’s time to move away from what may have been doing for years or when it’s time to try to make changes in your current position? Below are a few steps that you can take to help answer these questions and discover which avenues may be right for you.
Take Inventory Of Your Passions
It’s important to be passionate about whatever you decide to do because working with children and families is no easy task. Working with children in an environment you aren’t passionate about is a recipe for burnout or feeling unfulfilled.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- What do I enjoy/love most about my current job?
- What do I like least about my current job?
- What is my reason for wanting to work with children and families?
- What do I do really well?
- What do I need to work on professionally?
- What kind of environment do I feel comfortable with?
- Do I want to work directly with children or do I want to provide services that work with parents and impact children?
- What age group do I enjoy working with?
- What would my ideal schedule look like?
Asking yourself these questions will help you to discover your passions and identify exactly what kind of job may work well for you. Continue to ask very specific questions—whether just to yourself or processing out loud with a trusted friend. This is an important step because getting specific about what you enjoy doing and what drives you can help you along in this process.
Research Different Paths In The Child Care Industry
Once you’ve taken inventory of your passions, research different paths in the child care industry that are aligned with what you enjoy doing. Here are some paths and a little about the work you may be doing:
As the name suggests, you’re working inside of a parent’s home. This could be a nanny, babysitter, house manager, newborn care specialist, and more. Typically you’re caring for only a few children—most likely only siblings, unless it is a shared position.
There are many types of child care centers, but what they all have in common is that you would be working with other adults to care for a large group of children.
From tutors to teachers, and camp counselors to coaches, there are a lot of positions that are specifically designed for educating a child.
Regardless of the age of the child, there are many roles in medicine that specifically address the well-being of children and their families.
With any career path, there’s always the option to pursue entrepreneurship within it. Your only limit is to what you can imagine.
There are endless opportunities within the scope of the child care industry. There aren’t specific paths you have to take but rather, your journey is what you make it. Research everything about the positions until you feel sure about your decision.
Make A Plan
After you’ve decided what your passions are and researched the paths that align with your passions, it is time to make a plan. When creating your plan, think about the following things:
Is your current position aligned with your passions? Sometimes all we need is to make a few changes in our current job to make it more aligned with our goals (i.e. a different schedule, days or hours off, etc.)
If your position isn’t aligned, what do you need to do to change your path?
- Do you need to take a course?
- Do you need to network and meet others that do what you would like to do?
- Do you need to get experience?
- Do you need to put in your two weeks notice or work towards that?
Asking questions like this can help smooth the transition into a different position.
Once you’ve made your passion plan, it’s time to follow through on it confidently. Whether you have to change paths or ask for what you need/want at your current job, transitions can be scary. Try not to put pressure on yourself, know that you have done the work to follow your passion, take it one step at a time, and know that you can switch positions as many times as you need until you find the best fit for you. Go for it—you can love what you do!!