Stress and the Childcare Provider
Working with children is one of the most meaningful occupations. It leaves one with a sense of purpose, moments of joy brought by the preciousness of children, and many hugs. But, on the other side, it holds stressors indeed. After time, the consistent need to keep calm and patient can become strained and a childcare provider begins to feel tapped out while the overworked/underpaid phrase starts to ring in the ears. Regardless if the job is a preschool teacher, daycare worker or stay at home mom, when one is taking care of children and begins to reach the stress limit, it is time to start making choices and changes. Stress is a risk factor to one's health and well being and should be managed. To be a good caregiver is to take care of oneself as well, if not first.
The First Steps to Stress Management
Tips for Stress Management in Childcare
- Take a moment and breathe. When you are at your wits end, first know that we all get there at some point or other, and then take a deep breath and count to 10. If you need to count out loud, do so.
- Singing out loud can sometimes do the trick. It is playful and provides a childcare provider some time to calm down. In addition, children respond positively to music. If the song is directing the children, such as getting their coats on, then the benefits increase.
- Post motivational quotes or funny anecdotes where you can see them while working. Quotes that will bring a smile to your face or help you find perspective are the best.
- Children can be very entertaining, so finding the humour throughout your day will lighten up the space with laughter and will help the stress level decrease. We get paid to play, so have fun!
- Let go of trying to control other peoples behavior.
- Practice empathy and try to imagine walking in the shoes of others.
- Track your own balance as everyones stress level is different. Stop comparing yourself to others, and listen to your body, heart and mind. Say no if you are feeling overwhelmed and let go of a commitment or project. Remember, that if you are happy and not rundown, you will be a better caregiver.
- Lean on others. If you are working in a team, remember it is okay to ask your colleague to step in with a childs behavior as we all have different personalities and different styles. It is helpful to remember that we all have buttons pushed inside of us and it is based on our own makeup and history.
- De-cluttering and organizing a work environment can help with the clutter in one's mind.
- In our profession, we are not always patted on the back, so go ahead and do it yourself! Treat yourself however that looks: flowers on your desk, little truffles in a drawer, a new magazine and so on.