It’s Teacher Appreciation Week! No doubt you’re showering your early childhood educators with much-deserved goodies and tokens to show how much you value them.
Making sure they don’t burn out and reducing their stress is something you can do year-round!
Let’s look at several tips to help your staff that were offered during last summer’s The Business of Child Care Conference, hosted by Procare Solutions, from Dr. Aditi Nerurkar. She’s a Harvard physician, speaker and correspondent whose expertise includes the science of stress, resilience and burnout.
And she’s a mother with a deep appreciation for those who work in child care.
How You Can Help Employees De-Stress
Dr. Nerurkat said it can be difficult to address stress and mental health issues with employees in a way that respects their sense of personal space and privacy.
Dr. Nerurkar said that instead of saying “I noticed” when beginning a conversation about burnout, begin by asking the employee how he or she is doing and have an open-ended conversation.
“Just assume your employee is struggling,” she said.
She suggested the following five key strategies to lead your child care center:
1: Organizational temperature checks: Do you have a culture of psychological safety? Are you engaging with your employees about mental health?
2: Set up peer and professional counseling groups: Make them free and easy to access. She said peer-to-peer groups especially are important among those in leadership positions who can’t talk with their employees about certain things that are causing stress.
3: Model healthy behavior: As a leader in your organization, minimize the emails you send and respond to in the evenings. Do anything you can to help set the right tone.
4: Validate and normalize the experience: Make sure your employees know they’re not alone in feeling it!
5: Continually try to make employee expectations and organizational culture match: Be consistent and follow through with the culture you’ve established at your child care center.
Dr. Nerurkar encouraged child care providers to make the “Goldilocks principle” part of their lives, which means finding a middle ground between checking out and over-stressing.
She said to minimize burnout, human productivity functions on a curve — on the left is someone who is bored and not engaged with work, and to the right of the curve is someone who is stressed and anxious and can’t focus.
“But there is a sweet spot in the middle of human productivity,” she said.
She also suggested implementing a “stop, breathe and be ” technique, in which you briefly pause every time you do an activity you do several times a day, such as washing hands or turning on a computer.
Such incremental things can have a cumulative effect by the end of the day.
She also suggested adding a small graphic to each room, perhaps a small triangle of dots or a logo, and tell the kids and teachers that each time they see it, they should “stop, breathe and be.”
And while meditation and exercise are great, we only do them once a day. But doing something 20 times a day for a few seconds can have a big effect on resilience and changing our brain chemistry.
Join Us For This Year’s Customer Conference!
Procare’s first The Business of Child Care Conference was a huge hit last year and we can’t wait to do it again! Our next conference, which will be virtual and for our valued Procare Solutions customers, is set for July 27. We can’t wait to share our lineup of exciting speakers, so stay tuned!
If you’re a center not yet using Procare, we are here to answer questions to help you manage your business more effectively.
Procare takes the complexity out of running a child care center with solutions that address every facet of your business, including automated payment processing, ratio tracking, staff management as well as billing and invoicing.
Track each family’s balance including their history of registration fees, tuition charges, family discounts and payments received. Calculate tuition charges, supply and activity fees plus co-payments and family discounts in seconds for easy billing.
You can also simply manage hourly billing, overtime and late pickup fees with ease.
With record growth in 2021, Procare is used by two out of three child care businesses that use software and serves nearly 37,000 child care centers ranging from single-unit operations to multinational enterprises.
It’s both easy to use and powerful. Request a free demo today and see how Procare can help you better manage your business, engage parents, retain your staff and increase security!