Home Daycare Providers -5 Steps to Avoid Burnout

avoid-burnout

Running your own home daycare business can be one of the most rewarding endeavors you do in your life. It is obvious on a daily basis that you are providing value in people’s lives.

You are a powerful role model for the children in your care. Your influence in their lives has the potential to shape their self image and their future decisions.

With this great influence comes the potential for great burn out. You give so much of yourself each day and often the hours can be long. If your body gets run down then you will be more prone to pick up the colds and flu bugs that often come part and parcel with young children.

Avoiding burnout involves avoiding common colds, illness and repetitive strain injuries. My suggestions come in two different forms, on a daily bases and yearly.

Daily Suggestions:

1. Reduce Stress

When do you feel stress? Is it when the tasks of the day outweigh the available hours?

Is it when your toolbox of solutions does not contain any remedies for the current problem?

Is it the same time everyday? Just before lunch?  Just before you leave the house?  Mid-afternoon?

There are common stress triggers that happen every day, often at the same time every day. These types of stressful situations are easy to change once we identify them.

Take a moment to read through this possible list of stress points. Reading these common stressors will help you identify your stress points.

Ideas will pop into your head when you read through the list and once you finish you will realize a few triggers that happen for you on a daily basis.

Common Stress Triggers

-Morning transition when children get dropped off.

-Repetitive conflict between the same two children.

-Having the children participate during tidy-up time.

-Keeping the children engaged during circle time.

-Messes at craft time or with sensory bins.

-Multiple children needing you at the same time.

-Diaper change or potty training routine.

-Washing hands.

-Snack time.

-Getting dressed to play outside.

-Getting into car seats for outings.

-Walking to the park.

-Lunch preparations

-Nap or rest time.

-Balancing the needs of older and younger children.

-The absence of time for yourself.

-Late afternoon drain on patience.

-Children who whine, cry, scream, shout, or are silent.

-Age related behavioral challenges.

-Pick-up time.

-Late parents.

 

If no clear ideas popped into your head when you read this list, I suggest that you go back and read it again but this time rate how stressful each event is for you with a number 1 to 5.

The act of assigning values to each event helps clarify your stress points and highlights which ones need attention.

You have now identified a few common situations during the day that drive you bananas. Or, maybe reading through the list helped you think of something else that happens repeatedly that really bothers you. Either way, you have now recognized some daily stress points.

Recognition is key; it is like a tiny pin prick in the balloon of a stressful situation. You will view the stressful situation differently tomorrow and a teensy bit of pressure has already been removed through the recognition process.

 

2. Stress Trigger Solutions

After recognizing your stress triggers, the next step is to brainstorm possible solutions. Choose a time in the day when you feel energized and positive.

Do a little research into your stressful triggers. Use the search box on my home page at HowToRunAHomeDaycare.com to check to see if there is a post that relates to your situation.

Ask other caregivers for their ideas. Read up a bit on developmental stages of the children that are currently in your care.

 

The two most helpful questions to ask yourself are;

 

1. How does this make the child feel?  (imagine yourself in their little shoes)

2. How can I change the situation to meet the child’’s needs?

 

Or maybe your stress triggers are centered more around yourself.  If so, ask yourself these two questions;

 

1. How does this make me feel?  (unappreciated? drained?)

2. How can I change the situation to meet my needs?

 

Remember, you are your own boss. If something requires change you have the power to change it!  You can change your hours, your routine, your schedule, your time off, your clients and your work environment.

The easiest thing to change is how you view your stressful situation. With a different perspective the exact same stressor can be viewed as a blessing to be cherished.

See if you can find the positive slant to your stressful situation. You may have to really dig for it.

By just accepting that the positive point could possibly exist it will deflate the stress balloon even more.

Now that you have altered your perspective, somewhat, it is time to alter your routine.

What can you change in your environment to help yourself out?

Tidy up time not working? Have less toys out. Check out my guide, Clean Up Time: How to Turn an Unmotivated Child into a Cleaning Guru.

Children not eating their vegetables? Provide two choices and serve kids who have been active and are hungry. Here’s a fun way to introduce new foods, Green Food Taste Challenge.

Parents always late to pick-up? Charge them a late fee. Top two tips on How to Find Daycare Clients who always Pick Up on Time.

 

Taking care of yourself on a daily basis will go a long way in managing your stress level. Eat well, exercise, take time to do the things you love and get enough sleep.

Sleep is key. Everything is magnified by a hundred percent when you are tired.

Children can be very draining. Regular restful sleep will help you keep things in perspective.

You might even view a stressful situation as comical instead of aggravating after a good nights sleep.

Yearly Suggestions:

3. Take holidays

Plan holidays into your contract and payment structure. You will be able to manage your stress level remarkably well after a short holiday period.

Four days can be enough to reset your energy level and your head space. If you write your holiday schedule into your initial contract then parents will have already agreed upon these breaks.

You can organize your own finances in advance to compensate for holiday periods if you choose to not charge during holiday time. Or, you can choose to earn less at each pay cheque and not have any pay interruption during holiday times.

Either way, I would highly suggest you take more time off if you are feeling burnout or stretched too thin.

4. Reduce

You could also think about reducing the number of clients you accept or reducing your daily hours. You could consider taking a part-time child so that once a week or two afternoons a week you have one less child.

These little breaks will help you view your work week differently. Perhaps you could arrange with your daycare parents that once a week they pick up early if once a week you work late. Try to think of different kinds of possible solutions to your current situation.

Could you reduce your workload by having a young teenager come in to help you once a week after school? Maybe they could do the dishes or some light house cleaning? Anything to decrease your chores would be helpful.

5. Plan Ahead

Create a seasonal menu that rotates every three weeks to speed up grocery shopping and meal preparations. Plan out a monthly activity schedule for your preschool program so you always have craft supplies and materials ready in advance.

Go to the library every two weeks and select books to read to your children. Use the books to introduce new concepts at circle time and help teach social skills.

Browse Pinterest for crafts, free printables, and parenting hacks and keep them organized in your own Pinterest boards for when you need them.

Follow me on Pinterest and Facebook and let me do the work for you. Every day I search popular blogs and early childhood education sites for fresh ideas for home daycare providers. I post these ideas on a daily basis on my Pinterest and Facebook pages.

 

Burn out is common in this profession, but it is not mandatory!  You can prepare yourself now to avoid it later.

The children’’s joyful energy can keep you feeling young and alive or tired and stressed out. The choice is yours!

Jana 

Comments

  1. Im hoping to open up a home daycare in the next few months. What is the ‘normal’ amount of time that providers take off for holidays?

    • HowToDaycare says:

      There is quite a range of ‘normal’ in the home daycare business since everyone is completely independent and set their own schedules and contracts. However, to give you an idea, many providers take a week or two at Christmas and two weeks in the summer. 🙂

  2. I close for all major holidays, 1 week at thanksgiving, 2 was @ Christmas and all summer. Really helps with burnout. Helps that I began to care for only teachers kiddos.

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