6 Traits and Skills Child Care Workers Should Have

  • Business
  • Employees

Creating the perfect environment for kids to learn, grow and have fun is no simple task. It all starts with great teachers and child care workers. But what job skills actually make for a great child care candidate? On the flip side, what skills should potential child care candidates work to add to their resume in order to stand out to great employers? We’ve broken down the top skills you should be on the lookout for. First things first, if you’re looking through resumes (or writing one), you want to see experience.

Key Skills and Strengths to Look For In Child Care Workers

1. Experience

No matter the industry, employers will almost always prefer someone with experience. Of course, experience comes with a little higher price tag. The more experience they have, the more a potential hire expects to be compensated…as they should! The truth is, as an employer, you will probably get what you pay for. That’s not to say a new, enthusiastic teacher won’t turn out to be a wonderful choice! But if you have the budget, we promise, you won’t regret putting it toward hiring experienced teachers for your classrooms. They will already have naturally developed more of the child care job skills to come on this list, plus, an important X factor that comes along with experience –– confidence. And that comes in handy when managing children.

2. Decisiveness

Depending on the age of the children and ratio guidelines, a child care worker may have up to 12 kids they’re responsible for at one time. There’s no time for indecisiveness! If kids are fighting or misbehaving, a decisive teacher can curtail the issues quickly, rather than letting things get out of hand. And that means a safer environment for the children. Kids also pick up on indecisiveness quickly. If they sense someone is unsure of themself, it could lead to problems.

3. Certifications in key areas          

Early childhood education

A degree in early childhood education is a big bonus to see on any child care worker’s resume. Having degreed teachers on staff will stand out to families and could potentially boost enrollment. As an employer, you can stand out and retain these kinds of qualified candidates by offering tools to your child care workers to simplify and streamline education and development. Child care management softwa allows teachers to plan weekly lessons, manage curricula and assess children’s developmental progress. Your facility can also easily stay aligned with early learning frameworks through pre-loaded standards for all 50 states.

Special needs

Children with special needs require dedicated care and consideration. Additional certifications in this area can mean the world to a parent with a child struggling with learning or development challenges. A candidate who not only has a degree in early childhood education, but also a focus in special needs, may be of great value to your facility. If you’re a child care worker looking to find great early education degree programs, check out this handy list.

CPR training

Last but not least, CPR training is a must for any child care worker. It’s so important to be prepared and practiced for any dangerous situation that could arise. These certifications need to be renewed, so be sure your staff members are up to date on their CPR training.

Side note: Always make sure your teachers have access to the poison control number. The national number is 800-222-1222. They will connect you to your local office in an emergency situation.

4. Patience and adaptability

Parents know better than anyone, kids can test your patience. Some days, they aren’t their best little selves simply because they didn’t get enough sleep. Other days, they’re rays of metaphorical sunshine. Regardless of the kids’ moods on any given day, a patient, adaptable child care worker can handle both sides in their classroom with grace. Of course, it’s not always easy to know if a candidate is patient and adaptable in real life. So, why not put it to the test? Try a role-play situation in your interview, or explain a difficult scenario and ask them how they would handle it.

5. Clear communication

Kids need clear direction and structure to thrive. A big part of creating that kind of positive environment is to have a teacher in the classroom who knows how to communicate effectively. A resume can’t necessarily show how well someone communicates in person. As an employer, it will be important to meet with several candidates in person –– or these days, on video conference –– to get a picture of how they communicate.

The other important piece of communication is parent-to-teacher. Parents want to stay informed and involved in how their kids are doing at school. They will greatly appreciate it if their child’s teachers are in consistent communication with them. With the right parent engagement app, you can build stronger connections with the families your business serves.

6. Passionate

Parents put a lot of thought and consideration into which child care facility is the best fit for their kids. One thing that shines through to parents is whether or not the teachers are passionate. You may have a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility, but without teachers who really care? Parents will have hesitation.

Who their kids are around all day and learning from truly matters to parents. They won’t enroll if your employees don’t seem inspired and passionate about the kids. Keep an eye out for teachers who can share personal experiences from their time teaching previous students. The more they want to share, the more likely it is that they were genuinely invested in the lives of those kids.

The bottom line is the caliber of your teachers and child care staff will directly affect enrollment numbers. You can stay up to date on what’s affecting child care enrollment and other trends in the child care industry by downloading Procare’s latest Child Care Industry Report.

Extra Credit Point Skills

There are a few other areas of expertise that prove to be beneficial in creating fun and engaging classrooms. Here are a few bonus point skills that are sure to make a child care worker job application stand out.

Experience with yoga, dance or fitness

Being active is an indicator that someone has worked to master discipline and patience. Plus, they’d likely be able to incorporate their fitness-related skills into the classroom routine. Who doesn’t love starting their day with a little yoga? Or even a little dance party!

Focus in nutrition

Parents nowadays really care about their kids’ nutrition. Having teachers who can speak to those choices and help parents who need guidance in that area could be a nice perk to offer.


Nearly 14 percent of the U.S. population is Spanish-speaking. When a child care worker can speak both English and Spanish, it actually benefits both sides! Kids who haven’t learned to speak English well will develop those skills, and children who don’t speak Spanish can learn in the process.

Once you have the right staff, you’re one step closer to running a successful child care business. Don’t forget to equip them to keep them with the right tools! Procare can help you create a seamless experience for both your teachers and your parents. Request a demo today!

Procare is here to help.

We know the business of child care. For more than 30 years we’ve been guiding child care professionals just like you to help stay connected and in control.