Child care providers and daycare owners: If you’re feeling burnt out, you’re not alone. Eventually, childcare providers will experience some burnout from their daycare jobs. According to Current Topics in Early Childhood Education*, “The quality of care children receive in child care centers is often threatened by “burnout”–the phenomenon defined as a loss of energy and interest in one’s job”.
We talked with Susan Cooper, M.Ed., Child Development Expert and Member of Applied Scholastics International. She has an interesting take on the reasons child care providers burn out and a fresh take on the effects. Read on for tips for coping with daycare provider burnout. Let us know what you think:
OwnADaycare: What is child care provider burn out?
Susan Cooper: I would define child care provider burn out when a person does no longer want to create or try new things but has fallen into a rut of day to day working. I would also add it is an attitude of not truly caring for the children, just going through the motions.
OwnADAycare: What contributes to child care provider burnout?
Susan Cooper: Loss is the biggest contributor to child care provider burn out. When a provider has developed a program, a special curriculum, or project and that gets stopped due to funding or internal politics, that is a loss. The provider then just gives up on trying new things and falls into the routine of day to day care giving.
OwnADaycare: What are some symptoms of child care provider burnout to look out for?
Susan Cooper: Symptoms are observed in the treatment of the children. Harsh treatment, handling or harsh language is one. Another is taking shortcuts with regular hygiene and cleanliness, like hand washing or sanitation. Sometimes this is mistaken for not knowing how to properly clean, but I have found it’s a sure sign of burnout because the provider knew better just felt it wasn’t worth it. So, sick unhappy children are the by-product of provider burn out.
OwnADaycare: What are some ways to avoid child care provider burn out?
Susan Cooper: One thing is to know, there is always something new to learn. Also, creating a schedule of hygiene and sanitation and sticking to it no matter what, has a way of forcing a provider to not burn out and slip into poor quality care.
OwnADaycare: What are some ideas for simple, inexpensive stress relief?
Susan Cooper: One simple way is to plan for stressful situations ahead of time. For example, I suggest child care providers have a cart with them wherever they go, especially outdoors, stocked with everything one needs to help a hurt or dirty child. That way the stress of running in for band-aids or whatever never has to happen.
OwnADaycare: Great, do you have any additional comments/tips?
Susan Cooper: Keep reading. Do what makes sense to you and is practical for your center. Not all the advice out there is given by someone who has walked in your shoes, so if it doesn’t fit, find another pair to try on.
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