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Career Development Tips

Child Care Skills: Definition and Examples

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

What are child care skills?Examples of child care skillsHow to improve child care skillsChild care skills in the workplaceHow to highlight child care skills

Guide Overview

16 child care skills to develop

Child care skills help you connect with children, providing them the assistance and care they need. Some care skills come naturally, whereas others require work. By identifying and developing these skills ahead of time, you can position yourself as a more competitive candidate. We'll discuss the most desirable child care skills, as well as how you can develop them further.

What are child care skills?

Child care skills are the soft and hard skills a person uses when working with children. A child care worker needs skills to help with hands-on tasks such as physically caring for children, as well as interpersonal skills to effectively communicate with and lead children. Some of these skills might come naturally, while others you can develop through recognition and practice.

Examples of child care skills

Hiring managers often look for certain child care skills when choosing the right candidates. Here are a few of the top skills needed for child care:


Children learn and develop at different levels, making patience an important skill. Additionally, learning environments and situations change frequently, which can be challenging for children. By demonstrating patience, workers can help children adjust to these changes. Patience can also help child care providers interact with parents and family members.


A child care worker’s goals and duties involve much more than monitoring children. They’re also often tasked with teaching skills and lesson plans. The ability to create lesson plans and classroom activities that promote cognitive and physical development is important as a child care worker. Additionally, child care professionals need to plan ahead to manage their time so they can complete all their daily duties.


The child care environment can be unpredictable. This makes the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills a priority. Child care professionals might need to come up with creative solutions to daily problems, always maintaining the safety and health of the children in their care. They might also need to find unique solutions to learning barriers. Other problem-solving skills, such as CPR and first aid, can be especially helpful for child care workers.


Strong communication skills are crucial as the children in your care learn to effectively communicate their needs and desires. Child care professionals will use both verbal and nonverbal communication to understand when a child needs help. They also need to practice strong communication skills when talking with parents about progress or development.

Learn more: How to Get Your Boss to Actually Listen to You


Child care workers come across many decisions in a typical workday. The ability to use good judgment and make fast decisions is important, whether you’re deciding which lesson plans to teach for the day or how to handle a conflict among children in the classroom. Child care workers might also need to use fast decision-making skills to respond to emergencies in the classroom that require logical thinking.


Child care workers take on many roles for the children in their care. They’re not only responsible for their physical health and well-being but also their mental health, development, and guidance. Strong emotional intelligence can help you develop and use compassion with children.


Creative skills can help child care workers keep children engaged and entertained. Child care workers might plan artistic projects or lessons to encourage acceptance and promote curiosity in the classroom.

Learn more: 14 Perfect Jobs for Creatives


Strong leadership skills can help child care workers take command and earn respect in their positions. The ability to guide and direct children, as well as other child care workers, can ensure productivity.

Interpersonal skills

Strong interpersonal skills can also be helpful. The ability to be aware, insightful, compassionate, and comforting can help child care workers connect with the children in their care. Child care workers have a big influence on the children’s lives, sometimes interacting with them five or six days a week. Interpersonal skills can also be helpful for interacting with other workers or parents.

Physical stamina

Keeping up with children of all ages can be physically challenging. Additionally, a child care worker might need to transport toys or games from room to room or carry babies and toddlers. Some child care workers are also involved in their students’ recreational or outdoor time.


Confidence is an important skill to model to children as they learn interpersonal skills. Skills in confidence can also help child care workers make fast decisions and problem-solve.

Project management

Project management skills can help child care workers manage various aspects of the workday. Child care workers might spend a significant portion of their days directly with children, but they might also plan lessons or prepare the rooms.


This skill can help child care workers maintain a professional demeanor, even when working with children. Child care workers also need to demonstrate professionalism when interacting with teachers or parents.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking skills can be helpful when gathering information from children and determining what to do with it. Skills in observation, reasoning, logic, and reflection can help child care workers manage different relationships at work.


Some administrative skills might benefit child care workers. These professionals need to follow schedules, including feeding and naptime. They might also need to keep track of children’s dietary restrictions or medicine schedules. Many employers require caregivers to document each student’s day so they can provide updated reports to parents.


Even when child care workers do not work specifically as teachers, they often take on an educator’s role. They might teach children important tasks, such as how to communicate their needs and wants, how to put on and tie their shoes, or even how to handle conflict.

How to improve child care skills

You can improve your child care skills with the following steps:

  1. Create a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Some child care skills might come naturally to you, whereas others require work. Creating a list of your strengths and weaknesses can help you pinpoint the skills you want to develop.
  2. Set your goals. Creating goals can help you determine what it looks like when you have developed specific child skills to your desired level. Set a timeline, and establish the steps you’ll take to meet your goals.
  3. Volunteer your time with children. Volunteer your time in positions that involve child care tasks. You can use these opportunities to practice and further develop your skills.
  4. Seek employment in an entry-level position. An entry-level position can help you increase your experience working with children. You might babysit at your local church’s child care program or become a classroom assistant at your local school.

Some people interested in child care careers might attend college to receive formal training. A formal education can help you develop knowledge of developmental and behavioral changes.

Learn more: Volunteering Your Way Into a Job

Child care skills in the workplace

You can improve your child care skills in the workplace with these tips:

  • Accept more responsibility. By accepting more responsibility in your current child care position, you can further develop skills like leadership and problem-solving.
  • Work toward certifications. Certain certifications, such as first aid or CPR, can make you a more competitive candidate when applying to positions.
  • Practice your care skills at home. If you live with children, you can use this opportunity to practice the same skills you want to develop in the workplace.
  • Challenge yourself. It’s often easier to settle with the skills you already have. Try to challenge yourself in the workplace. Ask for more responsibility, or take the lead to implement a new program.

Developing child care skills is an ongoing process. Reevaluate your progress and your current strengths and weaknesses frequently.

Learn more: 6 Part-Time Jobs That Will Make You More Employable

How to highlight child care skills

As you begin to look for child care jobs, you’ll need to highlight your skills on your cover letter and resume and during the job interview.

Child care skills for cover letter and resume

Demonstrating your child care skills in your cover letter and resume can help you highlight why you are a good fit for the position. Review the job description, and list the skills you have that the employer is seeking. Draw attention to special skills in your cover letter by explaining how you’ve used them. Then, list the specific experiences and education on your resume that have helped you develop these skills further.

Child care skills for the job interview

Be prepared to talk about the child care skills you’ve listed on your resume. It can be helpful to come up with a list of situations in which you’ve used these skills. Also be prepared to talk about any skills you want to develop further. Highlighting your integral child care skills can help you land the job you want. Search today for the best child care careers in your area.

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