For those daycare providers who need a bit of self-care, this is the right post for you. Daycare provider burnout is real. And that is why you need to take preventive measures to avoid burnout and reduce stress. These include managing your expectations, creating new routines, quitting multitasking all the time, and so much more.
To help you recharge your batteries, we have put together a guide for you to understand the reasons for caregiver burnout, the signs to look out for, as well as ways to avoid daycare provider burnout.
Reasons for daycare provider burnout
Daycare provider burnout is widespread among caregivers, and here is why:
- Demands of the job. Ensuring the safety and well-being of multiple young children is not an easy task.
- Providers often have to place the needs of the children above their own families.
- Daycare providers work for longer hours than an average workday.
- Caregivers often have to deal with a difficult parent or a child.
- Low pay and long hours
- High turnover of children can cause instability in income.
- Feeling of being isolated.
Signs of daycare provider burnout
Burnout can affect both physical and mental health, well-being, and quality of life. So it is crucial to look out for early signs of caregiver burnout.
Below are some of the most common signs of burnout:
- Insomnia or sleeplessness
- Lack of interest and motivation
- Symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Mood swings or irritability
- Loss of appetite or stress eating
If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it is essential to take the required measures to reduce stress and avoid burnout.
How to avoid daycare provider burnout
Here are a few easy and practical tips to overcome burnout and escape from the daily grind.
Plan a play week
Like the name, a play week is a non-curriculum week—a week with no science projects, arts, or preschool curriculum. Just playing. Let the children play for a whole week straight while you take a break to unplug and relax.
Introduce a movie afternoon
While staring at a TV screen is not the best way to promote learning, a movie afternoon once or twice will not hurt anyone. Choose a couple of movies, grab some snacks, and settle in for the afternoon with the kids.
Choose passive activities
Introduce activities that do not require your direct supervision. Roleplay or imaginative play is a great way to let the kids interact among themselves and boost their creativity.
Rotating toys is also an excellent way to keep the kids engaged. Introduce new toys and give time to the children to figure out how to play with them.
Take time for self-care
On the weekend, take some “alone time” to clear your head and re-set for the week ahead.
Take a walk around your neighbourhood or enjoy an afternoon at the park in the evenings. Try picking up a new hobby of your choice and work on it during the week.
The goal here is to recharge your batteries. Find what works for you and make time for it.
Take breaks during daycare hours.
Take a ten-minute break when kids are engaged in activities that do not require your attention. Drink a glass of water and reheat that cup of coffee.
During kids’ nap time, watch an episode of your favourite show or enjoy the quiet time. You don’t always have to catch up on paperwork or housework.
Ask for help
Talking to other daycare providers who go through the same situation will help you relieve stress. Talk about what bothers you the most and how you deal with it. Ask them for tips on overcoming burnout.
Unless you set your boundaries, families won’t know if they are demanding too much. If you don’t want to work on weekends, schedule accordingly. Be clear about your working hours and days. Do not deviate from this schedule. If a parent or a child is often causing grief, consider letting them go.
The best way to avoid daycare provider burnout is to love what you do. Daycare providers give up their time and their sanity for the sake of the children they care for. Remember to try setting aside some personal time each day. If possible, try to invest in hobbies non-kid related. And take your vacation days.