The past couple years have forced us to get used to lots of life happening online. Child care training online is no exception. Of course, online child care workshops have existed for a while, and they’re by no means new, but they’re particularly well-suited to our current climate. You can learn a lot about the field without having to leave your home. Plus, since different states require child care workers to complete a certain number of training hours each year, they’re a great way to stay on top of your obligations.
Taking child care training online has some benefits over in-person classes. The biggest one for many people is that it’s vastly more convenient. You won’t have to travel at all — you could even do it in your pajamas! The flip side, though, is that you’re missing out on any potential hands-on experience an in-person training might provide. Online courses are notoriously less engaging than in-person ones, and even though they’re more convenient and practical for our current situation, it can still be tricky to make them feel as impactful as a face-to-face option.
That’s where this post comes in. We’ll give you seven tips on how to make the most of taking child care training online. Our suggestions cover all sorts of different aspects of online child care workshops, and hopefully, you’ll be ready to take them head-on by the end of this piece. But before we get into all that, we have to cover some basics.
First, you have to know where to find them.
You can’t make the most of a training that you don’t sign up for. Therefore, we wanted to start with some tips on how to find child care training online. First, if you live and work in Missouri, you can always check out the Office of Childhood within the Department of Health and Senior Services. They have a list of all the different online child care trainings they offer. Starting here has two main perks: First, you’ll be sure that all of them count toward your required training hours for the year. Second, they’re all completely free.
There are plenty of other places on the internet to find child care training online, but starting with a trusted resource like the DHSS is a great first move. That way, you’ll be sure that you’re getting good, reliable information and that you’re not wasting any time or money on courses that don’t fulfill your requirements. Other places to look for online child care workshops include any professional organizations that might offer them, especially if they’re ones you’re a member of or ones you’d like to join.
Also think about the specific kind of child care training you’d like to take. Then, try to find an organization that specializes in that area of the field. They might have online child care workshops that fit your needs.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get into the tips for taking child care training online.
Tip 1: Take it as seriously as you would an in-person training course.
Online child care workshops might not feel as official as their in-person counterparts, but if you can treat them as such, then you’re well on your way to making the most of child care training online. Come into the experience with the right attitude. You want to learn everything you can to increase your knowledge and abilities as a child care provider, and you’re taking child care training online as a means to that end. Most of the following tips all fall under this umbrella, and they’re more specific ways to make sure you’re staying on top of everything.
Basically, this is a mindset thing. When you’re sitting on your couch with your laptop in front of you, it’s easier to be in relaxation mode instead of focus mode. At an in-person training event, you’re going to be primed to be more focused because you’re in a space designed for the workshop or class. You won’t be in the same area as all your typical chores and relaxation like you will be at home. So, when you’re taking child care training online, you need to put a conscious effort into treating it as seriously as an in-person class. This will help you get the most out of the experience.
Tip 2: Stay focused.
This is, of course, much easier said than done. This tip also dovetails nicely with the previous one. Since you’ll likely be at home to take child care training online, you’ll have all the things around the house that typically distract you. Try to eliminate as many of those as you can before starting online child care workshops. Set up a work zone somewhere with minimal distractions, or at least turn off the TV before you get started. If there are other people in the house, let them know when your online child care workshops are so that they won’t bother you during the training (as long as they remember).
Another way to increase your focus is to choose the right time to do your training, provided that it’s an on-demand situation. If you’re doing some kind of synchronous class or participating in a Q&A session with an expert in the field, then you’re not going to have much of a choice when it comes to the timing of your class. However, if you are able to choose when to complete your training, doing it at a time when you’ll have the least amount of distractions and are at your most focused is a great idea.
Tip 3: Supplement with in-person options when you can.
Okay, so we’ll admit this is less of a tip for child care training online and more of a suggestion in addition to those courses. Lots of hybrid options can be a great way to combine in-person experience with the convenience of online courses. Online child care workshops are definitely missing the kinds of face-to-face connections that you can get from in-person offerings, so see if you can add that component in elsewhere. You might learn about first aid in an online course, for example, and then take a hands-on CPR class to complement that theoretical knowledge with some practical experience.
This strategy isn’t feasible for every type of child care training, but it’s a good one to keep in mind when you’re scheduling your different classes for the year. Finding a good mix, when possible, can help even things out.
Tip 4: Take notes.
What you learn in a child care training online can serve you for a long time to come. You’ll want to be able to remember what you learn in online child care workshops, and keeping notes of what went down is a great way to ensure that longevity. You’ll have them to look back on for as long as you can keep track of them, and it might also help you retain the information better.
How you choose to take notes is up to you. Some people prefer to type up their notes while others are dead-set on pen and paper. Especially since you’re taking the child care training online, it might be helpful to have one solid, non-digital element like physical notes to fall back on. Whatever method you choose, it can be helpful to stay organized. Get a notebook specifically for your training classes and take all your notes there. Make sure you write down the name and date of the course. Or, if you’re choosing to go digital, keep your notes in one document or folder that has a descriptive name. That can help you find them later.
Figure out a system that works for you and stick to it. You’ll have an easier time recalling the information as well as pulling up your notes when you’d like to refer back to them. Even though you’re probably not going to have to take a big final exam for any of these comparatively low-stakes online child care workshops, you’ll still want to be able to feel like you learned something to truly make the most of it.
Tip 5: Get your technology in order.
You want to make sure everything works before a scheduled child care training online. That includes a stable internet connection, a computer that won’t randomly crash in the middle of the workshop, speakers or headphones that you’ll be able to hear clearly out of, and potentially a microphone, if it’s a live class where participation is encouraged. Make sure your setup includes all the things you’ll need for this particular child care training online. That way, you can avoid any mid-workshop catastrophes, and you can stay focused on learning instead of trying to troubleshoot any technical issues. This will make your training time much more efficient.
Enlist help if you need it. There might be resources within the class you’re taking, or you might have to seek outside assistance. Whatever the case, you should make note of exactly what you’ll need for this specific course and then ensure you’ve got all those things ready to go. You won’t gain anything from online child care workshops you can’t access, so make sure you’ve got the digital resources you need.
Tip 6: Network, if possible.
This one is a bit of a stretch for a lot of you taking child care training online. However, we figured it was worth mentioning just to underscore how important it is. Not all online child care workshops have the option of getting to know other people taking the training, but if there is some kind of chat function, make the most of it.
Most of these trainings are just going to be watching some videos and taking some quizzes, but if you do end up in a more traditional online course, you might be able to meet some like-minded professionals. Networking is always a good idea to set a foundation for advancing in your chosen field. And surrounding yourself with other child care providers who value gaining new information and insight through online child care workshops is never a bad idea.
So, this is all to say that if it’s at all possible to connect with other people taking the courses you are, then you should definitely go for it. Building a network takes work, and this can be the start of a great one.
Tip 7: Keep track of what trainings you take.
This is a great way to finish out your online child care workshops strong. You want to make sure you can refer back to which trainings you’ve already taken, and you’ll want to be able to prove that you have successfully completed the class. Get documentation if it’s necessary and available. That might mean printing off a certificate at the end of the course or saving a screenshot of it. You might also be able to prove you’ve completed a child care training online in another way, so just make sure you know what your options are with the specific courses you’re taking.
The last thing you want is to be short training hours at the end of the year because you assumed you’d taken enough but hadn’t kept track, or because you can’t prove that you really did take enough classes. Keeping good records of your child care trainings will help prevent these headaches.
Now, you’re set up for success with child care training online.
By now, you’re fully aware of the basic steps you need to take to make sure you’re getting the most out of your online child care workshops. You can find, participate in, and learn from some great online child care trainings, and you know how to keep those benefits for years to come.
If you need any other help finding resources related to child care, whether that’s training for child care providers or any other element of this very complicated field, you can always start with us here at Child Care Aware of Missouri. You can reach out to us here if you have any further questions. We’re always happy to see if we can connect you with the right resources to meet your needs, whether that’s online child care workshop-related or otherwise.