Just like other stressful jobs and businesses, burnout is common in the child care business. Providers have other parent’s children sometimes more then they do. Children are sweet and a joy to have as “clients”, but as every parent knows, taking care of a group of children all ages can be cause for a burnout.
What can a childcare provider do to prevent (or relieve) a burnout?
Ten ideas to prevent childcare provider burnout:
1. Pamper yourself – Don’t think that only the rich can afford to pamper themselves! Take a day to go to a mini spa place. Malls usually have massage chairs for a decent price, or just an inexpensive mani/pedi.
2. Refresh your daycare area – When I feel stressed, one thing I like to do is rearrange the daycare area, or buy some new artwork for the wall. Even giving a fresh coat of paint on the walls will refresh you and energize the room-and you!
3. Make one free day a week – No matter how busy you are, you need to take one day a week that’s just for you. I make sure that Saturdays are business free and stress free. When you take that day, it gives you time to get your energy back and feel confident to get back to running your business.
4. Take fewer children – I know this isn’t always possible, but if you can charge a bit more and take less children, you may not feel as stressed at the end of the day.
5. Don’t take on too much – As like other providers, I like to offer many things in my daycare. I like to include preschool, picture day, art class, etc. If it gets too much, think about changing to a play-based daycare that makes things more fun and less stress.
6. Walk away from your business at closing time – I like to get paperwork done during naptime, so I’m not working pass closing time. Let’s face it, we work long enough hours as it is. Close your daycare room door in the evenings and spend time with family.
7. Fix what is stressing you – I actually closed my daycare temporarily years ago when my youngest was born because I did not look forward to working every day and I didn’t know why. I decided to open back up months later, and had a great group of new kids and parents and I loved it again. That’s when I realized that the problem I had was with a parent that would treat me like I was the “help”. She was just terrible with her attitude. Find out if it’s a parent or child that is causing your stress and replace them.
8. Don’t try to cater to everyone – I used to be open every shift and our home was filled with other people’s children at all times of the day. The money was good, but I was a prisoner in my own home and it effected our family life. I also would never take a vacation for fear of making the parents mad. Now, I only do one shift with weekends and holidays off (paid). I figure that if a parent doesn’t like how I run my business and schedule, they are welcome to find another provider. Parents sometimes forget that we are more then just providers and have families (and lives) too.
9. Try yoga – I love to do yoga. I do it every day and it really helps to destress me. If you can’t do it in the mornings, try yoga in the evening before going to bed.
10. Take mini vacation time – And make sure it’s a paid one! I have paid days off during the year and I like to spread it out throughout the year by taking a Friday off here and there and make it a 3 day weekend. You wouldn’t believe how much this helps! It’s less stressful to parents then you taking a full week at one time too.