30 Child Care Interview Questions and Answers

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 15 December 2022

Published 12 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Interviewing for a child care role is often the final part of the job search process. Understanding common child care interview questions can help you prepare your answers and feel more confident during your interview. Being well-prepared and confident may help you secure a role with a child care provider. In this article, we share 30 questions your interviewer may ask when you're applying for a job in child care and some strong example answers to inspire your own.

General child care interview questions

When you apply for a job in the child care sector, your interviewer may ask general questions to assess your personality and attitude. Here are ten general child care interview questions they could ask you:

  • Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

  • Why do you want to work in the child care industry?

  • Why do you want to work at our child care centre?

  • What are some of your strengths?

  • What is your biggest weakness?

  • What are your long-term goals?

  • What qualities do you have that could benefit our child care centre?

  • Why did you leave your last job?

  • What are you currently reading for fun?

  • What five adjectives describe you best?

Related:

  • Answering 'Why Do You Think You Are Suitable for This Role?'

  • How to Describe Yourself in a Job Interview

Child care interview questions about experience and background

Your interviewer may also want to learn more about your professional experience and background. Here are ten interview questions you might be asked to learn about your career history:

  • What experience do you have working with children?

  • What age groups of children do you prefer working with?

  • How do you usually handle misbehaving children?

  • What do you like most about working in child care?

  • What has been your greatest professional success?

  • What do you think is the most challenging thing about working with children?

  • How do you feel about changing nappies and toilet training children?

  • How does the day of an infant in your class differ from the day of a toddler in your care?

  • What is your understanding of the Early Years Learning Framework?

  • What is your understanding of the National Quality Standard?

Related: Interview Question: 'Tell Me About Your Education Background'

Child care interview questions with in-depth scenarios

As working with children is a great responsibility, your interviewer might ask more complex child care interview questions about your professional experiences and how you'd handle different scenarios. Here are ten in-depth child care scenario questions your interviewer may ask:

  • Can you tell me about a time you experienced conflict with another employee or a parent? How did you handle that?

  • What would you do if you saw a child coming to our centre with bruises or other signs of injury?

  • Can you tell me about your most challenging child and how you worked with them?

  • What would you do if a child became injured in your care?

  • If you observed one of your colleagues grab a child in anger, what would you do?

  • How would you encourage a child to express their creativity?

  • What is the most important quality to nurture in young children and why?

  • How would you create a child care program with the Early Years Learning Framework and National Quality Standard in mind?

  • Why do you think written policies and procedures are important for a child care centre?

  • What is your understanding of the National Regulations relating to child care and how they support you?

Examples of child care interview questions and answers

To give you ideas of how you might respond to some of the questions above, here are nine sample child care educator interview questions and answers:

Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

Your interviewer may ask this question to learn more about you as a person. Keep your answer relatively brief, but include information about what makes you unique. You might refer to your hobbies, volunteer work and background.

Example answer: I'm the eldest of five children, so I naturally took on the role of teacher and mentor, even before I entered the child care sector three years ago. My love of skating inspired me to join the local roller derby team. In my spare time, I love hosting dinner parties and treating my guests to vegetarian dishes.

Read more: Interview Question: 'Tell Me About Yourself?'

Why do you want to work at our child care centre?

This question determines how much you know about the child care centre and what makes it unique. Research the child care centre before your interview and refer to the specific elements you like in your answer. Referring to the centre's philosophy or mission statement is a great approach.

Example answer: Your commitment to inspiring a life-long love of learning resonates with me. Children form their attitudes to education early, and I'd like to be part of the reason they want to know more about the world around them. I've always believed it takes a village to raise a child, so I also love your focus on engaging families and the wider community to achieve learning outcomes.

Related: The Complete Guide To Researching a Company

What is your biggest weakness?

Your interviewer may ask this question to see how self-aware you are and gauge whether your shortcomings are major challenges. Mention a professional weakness, rather than a personal one, then explain how you are attempting to overcome it.

Example answer: I am a naturally shy person which can make speaking up and leading a group challenging for me. However, I joined Toastmasters six months ago to build my confidence and work on my public speaking skills. I feel participating in this organisation has been really helpful in overcoming this weakness.

Read more: Interview Question: 'What are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?'

What do you think is the most challenging thing about working with children?

Similar to the question about your weaknesses, this question tests what challenges you have experienced and how you overcome them. Maintain a positive tone and remember to explain how you manage the challenge you face.

Example: I find dealing with children having tantrums the most challenging part of the job. I used to feel they could come out of nowhere, but with experience, I've learned to recognise some early warning signs. If I notice a child raising their voice or showing physical signs of distress, such as banging a toy, I redirect their attention or talk to them about their feelings, depending on their age. This often settles the situation.

Why did you leave your last job?

This question determines your reasons for moving on and whether you are a loyal employee. Keep your answer factual but positive, highlighting what you learned and your optimism for the future.

Example: My last job was my first role in child care and I am so grateful for the opportunities that position provided. While I learned a lot, I had a junior role which limited my responsibilities. With limited advancement opportunities, I decided to find somewhere new where I can apply what I learned there in a more senior role.

Read more: How to Explain Your Reason for Leaving a Job During an Interview (With Examples)

What age groups of children do you prefer working with?

This question checks which children you have a natural affinity with. Choose an age group the child care centre teaches. Support your answer with reasons why.

Example: I really love working with three- to four-year-olds. At this age, they're really becoming little people with distinct personalities. I love watching their characters emerge. I love fuelling their curiosity and helping them explore topics they're interested in.

Can you tell me about a time you experienced conflict with another employee or a parent? How did you handle that?

This question assesses your conflict resolution skills. Explain what the conflict was about and how you managed it. If this isn't something you've experienced before, admit that to the interviewer. Then suggest how you might address this kind of conflict if it arises.

Example: A parent at my last job took issue with the way I disciplined their child with a short timeout for biting another child. I explained that these short timeouts were our policy for recurring acts of physical violence, including biting, and that the length of the timeout was appropriate for children of that age. The parent was not satisfied, so I referred them to my manager, who documented the issue and explained my actions further. On hearing from my manager, they accepted I was simply following the centre's policy.

Related: What Is Conflict Resolution?

What would you do if you saw a child coming to our centre with bruises or other signs of injury?

This question assesses your understanding of child protection laws and mandated reporting. Explain your understanding of your responsibilities and the steps you'd take to protect the child.

Example: I understand that as a child care worker, it is my responsibility to report any reasonable suspicions I have that a child may be being harmed. I feel that seeing bruises or other physical signs of injury would certainly raise my suspicions. I'd report what I'd seen to the manager of the child care centre, knowing they will report my concerns to the appropriate authorities.

How would you create a child care program with the Early Years Learning Framework and National Quality Standard in mind?

This question assesses your understanding of these guidelines and how you would apply them. Speak in general terms, but feel free to add specific topics you feel would satisfy these programs.

Example: I‘d create a program that stimulates children's brains and engages them in the learning process. I believe the best way to do that is to listen to what children are naturally interested in and build lessons around that. I imagine technology would feature in the program as so many children have an affinity for it. For example, I'd love to bring virtual reality into the classroom. Imagine teaching children about Africa and then letting them take a virtual safari.

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