Working with children is one of the most rewarding careers you can have. But the stress factor is real, for you and your team.
If you own a child care center, you probably work long hours, expend an incredible amount of energy every day and are constantly exposed to germs. And we haven’t even talked about the normal struggles associated with owning a business such as managing finances and hiring staff.
Let’s take a look at seven ways to help you and your staff avoid burnout and fully enjoy work, which will help you build a better business in the process. And building a better business is one of the best ways to reduce your stress levels, too!
1. Prioritize Clear Communication
Ready to reduce stress for your daycare staff? Learn to communicate effectively.
Good communication is essential to the success of your child care business. Without it, your teachers will fail to meet your expectations, leading to misunderstandings and frustration for all involved.
Set aside time to talk to your staff. Ask them how they’re doing. Make them feel valued. Get their opinions on your business. What do they think you can do better? Bring them into your world so that they understand your vision and can help you achieve it.
When your team knows what you expect of them and how to accomplish it, their stress levels will naturally go down. So work hard to become an allstar communicator.
2. Build a Better Environment
Do your employees like being in your child care center? Physical space can have a huge impact on stress. Simple things like upbeat color schemes, pleasant pictures and green foliage will help your team enjoy their work space.
The trick is finding colors, pictures and plants that work for employees and kids.
If you have the space, create a break room for teachers to relax in, and consider buying a gourmet coffee machine.
The right work environment will increase enjoyment and reduce stress.
3. Recognize Your Staff For Good Work
Your employees have worked really hard to help you build a thriving child care center. Let them know how much you appreciate their efforts! Doing so will lower your staff turnover rate, which helps you save money. It will also reduce your team’s stress levels.
Ideas for employee recognition include buying lunch for your team every once in a while to thank them for their dedication or sending handwritten notes when teachers go above and beyond the call of duty to help you out.
If you really want to dive into employee recognition, institute a teacher of the month award and recognize the contributions of one of your teachers once a month.
We all need recognition. When we don’t receive it, we get angry, feel devalued and experience stress. Recognize your employees on a regular basis so that they don’t feel these kinds of feelings.
4. Encourage Wellness
Exercise and healthy eating habits are two of the best ways to combat stress.
Exercise decreases stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. It’s also been shown to produce endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. And healthy diets reduce oxidation, inflammation and weight gain.
Most people want to live a healthy lifestyle. Life just has a funny habit of getting in the way. Help your team improve their health and reduce stress by encouraging wellness. As your staff gains confidence, they’ll start to view stressful situations as challenges to overcome instead of threats to avoid.
Here are some ideas to encourage your staff to take better care of themselves:
- Provide healthy snacks for your daycare employees
- Offer to pay for each employee’s gym membership
- Hire a yoga instructor to teach on Saturday mornings
- Host a friendly steps contest between teachers (fitness trackers required)
5. Offer Paid Time Off
Not every daycare center can offer paid time off. This is especially true for new businesses and/or small, in-home operations. But if you do have the resources, consider offering this benefit.
Time off will give your employees the chance to refresh and recharge. When they return, they’ll be more motivated, more focused and less stressed.
Offer as much or as little paid time off as you want. If you can’t spare an employee for an entire week, consider giving him or her the occasional Friday afternoon off without docking pay. This small gesture will be greatly appreciated and reduce stress levels.
6. Educate Your Team on Stress
Educate your staff on the different kinds of stress so that they can identify which they are feeling and take appropriate action. There are two kinds you need to be aware of:
- Bad Stress: Feelings of apprehension, irritation and a lack of energy.
- Good Stress: Feelings of excitement, focus and motivation.
Bad stress can be changed into good stress by viewing the potential benefits of a given situation instead of the drawbacks and taking time to be grateful for the things we have.
For example, if a team member is experiencing bad stress after dealing with a screaming child, have a sit down with them. Then go over the benefits of the situation: “Yes, little Johnny threw a tantrum, but you handled it really well and turned it into a great learning experience!”
7. Invest in Software
Stress is often the result of an oversized workload. Software can take much of the burden from that workload.
Procare’s all-in-one child care software has everything you need to alleviate the worries of managing your child care center and to reduce stress on your staff.
Our expertise in child care has helped us create easy solutions for child care bookkeeping, staff management, attendance tracking and managing early learning standards that will make life easier for child care providers and administrators. And Procare’s integrated parent engagement app lets you track each child’s progress and send professional updates to parents, so they’ll rest assured their kids are getting the best care possible.
Ready to start saving time and reducing child care stress with Procare?