The answer to this is maybe. Maybe. It really depends on the kind of INFP you are. While childcare is a rewarding and challenging profession, it may be suited to INFPs on a certain level. Since I have recently started a childcare traineeship, I would like to offer some of my advice, for those INFPs out there who might be looking into childcare as a career option.
It’s not just about looking after kids. I would say, as an assistant in a daycare centre, especially if you are placed in the babies room, most of your time will be taken up by tasks such as getting the food ready, cleaning up after the kids after they have eaten, disinfecting surfaces and taking out the trash. In other words, a lot of menial tasks, which a lot of people might not think of when the word “childcare” and its entailing tasks pops into their head. Having said that, the rest of the 25% of your time is spent with the kids, and you get to play and interact with the cute, little darlings. That part, in my opinion, is the best part of the job—giving them hugs, cuddling them, and touching their chubby, little baby faces.
This job is very practical, and hands-on. You will be changing nappies, and dealing with faeces and urine, although the smell isn’t too bad (I can’t say too much on this, as I haven’t been allowed to change nappies yet). Most of your time is spent in a flurry of physical activities, and yes, while these activities use a certain part of your brain, and require a certain kind of practical intelligence, other parts of your brain, that are used for studying, reading and writing, which are parts that I often use, or like to use, remain, well, unused. In other words, don’t go into this job thinking you’re going to be quoting Shakespeare anytime soon: you’re going to be changing nappies, and wiping noses, and cleaning, and preparing. It’s very physical, very hands-on, and for me, as someone who is a little bit on the intellectual side (not much), this came as a bit of a shock to the system, if you will, and I’m still not entirely over it. After work, I have to immerse myself in reading and writing in order to feel like my old self again.
That being said, considering there are so many jobs out there for which INFPs are unsuited for, childcare is a good option. There is little room for anxiety, because you’ll generally just be interacting with co-workers and children, and, unless you are actually a daycare leader, which I’m not, you’ll not be speaking much to parents. As a daycare assistant, the most I’ve ever said to a parent is a simple “Hello.” The noise from all the crying is something you just get used to—I found it wasn’t a problem for me, because the sound of children crying, while it is distressing because it means something is wrong and I feel the need to help the child, isn’t something which provokes anxiety or I find to be irritating.
Once again, even though I’ve already repeated myself several times, childcare is a very hands-on job, and for the cerebral, and oftentimes daydreamy INFP, this can be quite difficult, and hard to get used to at first. I don’t think I’ve completely accustomed to it yet. But as a way to survive, and make money, and support yourself, it’s not too shabby. INFPs are naturally gentle and nurturing, so we oftentimes warm to the kids very easily, and vice versa, and there’s nothing better than seeing a lovely little smile on a cute, little face. If you’re OK with a hands-on, very practical job, aren’t afraid of a bit of faeces and urine, menial tasks, and love children for who they are, enough to help put on their socks and shoes and change their nappies, then this is the career for you.