A Day In The Life of A Temp Worker

A Day In The Life of A Temp Worker

A Day In The Life of A Temp Worker – Everything you need to know about a crazy eight hours…. By Rohini

Woke up 6.30am, left the house at 8am:

Make sure you wake up a good amount of time before you are meant to leave for your shift. Allow plenty of time to get ready! You usually have to wear dark clothes (that you don’t mind getting a bit messy). Have a good and filling breakfast – it might be a while until you take a lunch break. Also, you need plenty of energy when working with children, so maybe even keep enough time for you to have a coffee.

Arrival at 9am:

Most importantly leave enough time to arrive at the nursery. You want to make a good impression so it doesn’t hurt to arrive a little early. Make sure you take your DBS and photo ID with you as well. It makes things a whole lot easier and ensures the safeguarding of the children. Make a note of the time you start your shift as your wage is based upon the hours you have worked.

Shift starts at 9.30am:

As a temp worker you really are thrown into the deep end when it comes to working in a nursery. You will be thrown into a classroom with any age group and are expected to be a helpful asset to a team, rather than slow things down. Some top tips: Introduce yourself to the other staff as soon as possible and ask them if there’s anything in particular they need help with that day. Managing new staff that they don’t know can be difficult for permanent workers, so make their job easier. This little conversation makes the difference in you having a boring and unproductive day to having a really fun and engaged shift. Waste no time in getting to know the children and building a bond with them. It’s difficult as a temp worker to build up a bond with the children that the other permanent workers have, so make sure to spend time integrating yourself with the children.

Playtime at 10am:

Playtime is a hectic hour. Make sure you are alert during this time as accidents do happen and this is probably the time where an extra pair of hands comes in most useful. As a temp worker you won’t be allowed to be one-on-one with the children or change nappies etc. so your role is to be as engaging with the children and to make sure that you make light work for the other permanent members of staff.

Lunchtime at 11am:

Children’s lunchtime is a slightly calmer period. Make sure you are helpful and aware of any allergies the children may have. Look out for any children struggling to eat or any particularly messy eaters. Permanent members of staff always appreciate you helping clear up after lunch. Not many temp staff would involve themselves in this, which can often make relationships between temp and permanent staff tricky. If you prove yourself to be hands on and proactive it makes a huge difference to your day and benefits everyone including yourself.

Naptime at 12-2pm:

The two-hour naptime is a break for both you and the children. Getting the children settled can prove tricky. Permanent staff will have a better idea of the children’s sleeping habits, so it should be your job to stay calm and set a nice tone for their nap. It might be that you have to spend time with a particular child getting settled.

Your lunch 1pm:

This hour is incredibly important in you recharging your batteries. Have a good meal and try and go outside the nursery environment, maybe even take a walk around the block, listen to some music, read a magazine or book. Lunch marks the halfway point in your day. If you have a really restful lunch break, the second part of the day is much quicker.


The last four and a half hours tend to be a repeat of the first half of the day. The children are usually waking up from their nap. You might be expected to play with them for a bit, maybe read to them, and sing nursery rhymes. Anything you think they will find engaging. Typically, the children aren’t hard to please, they find anything fun and entertaining. Continue to be helpful, help to tidy up as the day draws to an end. When it comes to leaving for the day don’t forget to get your timesheet signed by the Line Manager. As soon as that’s done your crazy day has drawn to a close and you’re free to go home!


When you sign up for temping it definitely isn’t an easy day’s work. However, it is incredibly worth it. You get to know the children pretty well and the other nursery staff. Plus, everyday is different and exciting. While temping has its own challenges, it is also incredibly rewarding. The other benefits are the flexibility and the competitive rates. It’s a great way of making some extra money if you’re a student or between jobs.

Purple Dove does a great job supporting you each day and make it all seem a whole lot less daunting. They’re always just a phone call or text away if you ever feel nervous or unsure.

You can read more about your temp worker rights as a temp worker on this gov.uk page.