Interview Question: "Why Do You Want To Work With Children?"

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated July 8, 2022 | Published January 5, 2021

Updated July 8, 2022

Published January 5, 2021

When preparing for interviews in the child care field, there are several common questions you'll likely be asked. Besides communicating your desire to work with a particular employer, one of the most important questions you'll answer is your reason for wanting to work with children.

In this article, we discuss how to answer when asked why you want to work with children.

Why employers ask why you want to work with children

Employers want to know if your experience, skills and abilities will fit with their mission. Answering this question offers employers insight into your unique experiences with children. Depending on the position you're applying for, employers use this question to gauge your philosophy on relating to children, managing a group of children and teaching them various topics. The answer to this question can also lead to follow-ups and further opportunities to discuss your unique skills and qualifications.

Read more: Skills for Working with Children: Definition and Examples

How to answer why you want to work with children

With interviews, it's a good idea to practice answering common interview questions ahead of time. You can practice with a friend or write out your answer. Here are some steps you may find helpful in crafting your response:

Describe your most meaningful early experiences working with children

For many in the childcare field, their first experiences working with children may have been babysitting, volunteer work, internships or summer camp. For example, "I want to work with children because when I was 17, I worked at a summer camp and enjoyed working with overnight campers," can be an interesting opening that gets the hiring manager's attention.

Explain how these experiences positively affected you

Think specifically about what you enjoyed about these experiences and how they may have changed your outlook or goals. For instance, "I found great satisfaction in watching students master two- and three-digit multiplication," is far more memorable than "I loved working with kids."

Mention any relevant educational experiences

Include any internships, conferences or seminars you've attended, even first aid or lifeguarding certifications. Be sure to explain how this helped shape your current educational philosophy or goals. Again, be as specific as possible. For example, "While taking an introductory course in child psychology, I decided I wanted to become a guidance counselor."

Related: How To List Education on a Resume (With Examples)

Include your unique abilities working with children

No matter your specific skill set and personality, you bring something unique to a job. Be sure to include something interviewers will notice about you. For instance, if you're "exuberant and outgoing," explain how this helps you relate to kids. If you're "quiet and reserved," explain how this helps you make rational decisions, even during stressful situations.

Discuss any awards, honors or other recognitions

Recognitions can take many forms in the child care setting. This can include formal recognitions, such as employee of the month. These can also be less formal, for instance, being asked to share an instructional strategy at a faculty meeting.

Related: How To List Awards on Your Resume in 6 Steps (With Examples)

Describe how you instruct children (if applicable to the position)

Classroom instruction ranges from teacher-led to student-centered. Tailor your response to the company or school you're interviewing with. Your answer should briefly include the role of classroom assessment and your preferred instructional methods.

Read more: Interview Question: "What Is Your Teaching Philosophy?"

Mention how you manage groups of children (if applicable to the position)

Most positions working with kids require implementing behavioral management strategies. This is increasingly true as the groups of children you work with becoming larger. Think of strategies as either preemptive or reactive. Be certain to mention both in your answer. Consider the following example: "I find children respond best to calm, direct instructions, especially after teaching behavioral expectations and practicing routines. I praise students in public and handle recurrent or more severe disruptions in private."

Related: Skills for Working with Children: Definition and Examples

Example answers

Many jobs involve working with children. Below are three sample answers for the roles of tutor, teacher and child care provider.

Example 1: Tutor

"I want to work with children because of my experience and skill set. I first began working with children as a volunteer at a community center coaching youth league basketball. While I coached, I noticed that I really enjoyed working with players individually, teaching skills, leading drills and offering players feedback on performance. Over two seasons, I watched my players grow into playoff teams. I took a great deal of pride in their development.

"Now, as a university student, I'm studying math education. My strong background in math and early experiences in the youth league let me know that I'd be a great teacher. I want to continue working with children for the opportunity to teach middle school students while also preparing for my future as a math teacher."

Read more: 30 Jobs That Involve Working With Kids

Example 2: Teacher

"I've known I wanted to work with children since I was 17. In high school, I worked at a summer camp as a lifeguard. At night, I led a cabin of eight-year-olds through evening activities, including getting ready for bed. During the day, I was personally responsible for teaching swimming and boating. Until that summer, I'd never realized how wonderful it is to see someone take something you've taught, apply it and master a new skill. I was proud to see campers grow into confident swimmers and boaters.

"Now, after attending university and studying early childhood development, I look forward to seeing the same growth in a first-grade classroom. Through student teaching experiences and classwork, I've learned that students respond to a structured environment, direct instruction, opportunities to practice new skills and timely, pertinent feedback. The key to being successful in schools is building relationships with students and their families. I want to work with children to continue building these relationships, see students grow and provide a positive role model in their lives."

Example 3: Child care provider

"I want to work with children because it's what I know and what I do well. I began babysitting in sixth grade for two nights per week. Instead of going to movies with friends, I watched kids so parents could go to movies with their friends. I continued to babysit throughout high school, becoming close to many families. I was often called on short notice for emergencies. The best part has been seeing kids grow up and sharing special moments with their families. I've been to graduations, family celebrations and even the wedding of a kid I babysat for.

"Now I'm taking classes at the community college in hopes of opening my own child care center within the next four years. The reason I want to work with children here is that your agency has a great mission, and I believe it would allow me to continue doing what I do best: sharing moments with kids while helping them grow into adulthood."

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