My Advice For People That Want To Work With Children

I must warn you that if you are thinking about working with children, it’s not for everyone. Whether you are planning to be a teacher, nanny, PSA or even set up a creche, you’ll be faced with many challenges. I think the biggest problem here is that many people believe if you’re a mom, you’ll automatically be good at working with children.  To work with kids I think you need to be patient, understand the difficulties and know how to be a figure of authority. With that in mind here are my tips for those hoping to work with today’s youth.

Sammy teaching kindergarten

Your first step is deciding on the path you’re going to take to work with kids. For instance, if you want to work in a school and you have a degree you can sign up for a one-year teaching course. After that, you’ll start gaining experience, first hand in the classroom. If you are thinking about being a teaching assistant or preschool teacher, you will require less training. But, you will need to understand the responsibility you’re taking on. Teaching assistants often work with children who have special needs such as ADD and on some days may face bigger challenges than the teacher. If you want to be a nanny, you still need qualifications. You will have to take one of the early childhood courses available in your area. By doing this, you’ll gain all the information you need to work with kids. The experience will come later.

Understand Modern Challenges

The world has changed, not always for the better. Teachers, parents and anyone else whose life revolves around children are facing new difficulties. Self harm has doubled in the last year in children under 16. Researchers believe the number could be as high as seventy percent of all children will self-harm at some point in their life. Bullying is also on the rise but now takes place outside of the classroom, online. If you’re working with children you can’t underestimate the effects these issues can have. Bullying victims can believe suicide is their only option if the issue is not dealt with. Children don’t self harm for no reason and there will be an underlying cause. If you take on a duty of care, it’s your responsibility to notice the signs and help the child in need.

Know Who You Have To Be

If you’re working with children, it’s important you know what and who you have to be. As much as you may want to, if you are working in a school, you shouldn’t strive to be the child’s friend. Instead, you should be someone they can look up to and that they can trust. Perhaps most importantly, you should be someone they respect. You must be careful when walking the line between being a child’s friend and an authoritative figure.

I hope you find this information valuable. Remember, when you start working with children, you will be a part of what shapes who they are and who they become.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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2 thoughts on “My Advice For People That Want To Work With Children

  1. Pen says:

    Hi,

    Your point about self harm was really interesting. A friend at work has two teenage daughters. Their father, my friend’s husband died tragically about a year ago and they have obviously all been going through a really tough time. I spoke to my friend the other day and she said that her daughter had cut herself again because of the stress of the beginning of the school year. I was obviously really upset for my friend and said how sorry I was. She didn’t shrug it off so much, but said that she had obviously spoken to the school about it. The school said that it was really common in a school year of say 30 girls, 7 or 8 of them will cut themselves. I was really shocked. The school said that they worry less about the kids who come from really supportive family backgrounds – my friend and her girls are really close because of everything that they have been through.

    Anyway , this just reiterates to me that it is so so important to have the right people working with our kids who have the right motivation, training, empathy and understanding of the pressures that children face today to be able to support our children.

    thanks for your post.
    Pen recently posted…A feminist’s take on a decade of datingMy Profile

    1. Jennifer Wolfe says:

      What a sad story, but tragically, not uncommon. I have seen this happen over and over. The teenage years are difficult at best, and when kids are dealing with ‘grown up’ issues, it can really result in some destructive behaviors. I hope that your friend is finding good support for herself and her girl. Thanks so much for sharing.

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