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”. Jeff A. Johnson, author of Keeping Your Smile and Finding Your Smile Again, discusses daycare provider burnout, its causes and its symptoms.
OwnADaycare: What is child care provider burn out?
Jeff A. Johnson: Burnout can be a feeling of angry frustration, or a sad emptiness that won’t go away, or a persistent physical ailment. It can be a real smile replaced over time by a forced smile and then a forced smile replaced by no smile at all. It can be waking up and not wanting to go to work or it can be walking into work and quitting. Burnout is a failure to balance your personal needs with the demands you feel the world is placing on you. It is a signal that change is needed, a sign that you are out of balance.
Own A Daycare What contributes to child care provider burnout?
Jeff A. Johnson: Long work hours, low pay, lack of respect for their profession, gaps in training, limited personal and professional support networks, and lots of other things can contribute to burnout, but at its core lack of self-care is the main culprit. Caregivers are incredibly gifted at taking care of other people. In fact many of them are so devoted to caring for others that they neglect their own care. They don’t make time to feed their own needs, to replenish their souls, to follow their dreams, and to live their lives. Caregivers are constantly giving themselves away and very rarely take time to fill up, recharge, and replenish.
OwnADaycare: What are some symptoms of child care provider burnout to look out for?
Jeff A. Johnson: Insomnia, dependence on escape activities, tension with family and friends, headaches and muscle tension, physical ailments, and feelings of boredom or apathy can all be signs of burnout if they become part of daily life. A headache once in a while or a bad night of sleep from time to time is life, but when these things become daily life, there is a good chance burnout is rearing its head.
Part 2 of our interview with Jeff A. Johnson discusses how to prevent daycare provider burnout and simple, inexpensive stress relief. Stay tuned.
* Current Topics in Early Childhood Education, Vol. IV, Lilian Katz (Ed.), Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corp., 355 Chestnut Street, Norwood, NJ 07648.
Jeff A. Johnson has more than 18 years of child care experience. A former director of a child care center, Jeff Johnson became a Family Child Care Provider in 2003 with his wife, Tasha. Jeff travels around the country presenting on topics such as combating stress and burnout in family child care and inexpensive, easy-to-make toys that promote learning. Jeff is the author of the best-selling book Do-It-Yourself Early Learning: Easy and Fun Activities and Toys from Everyday Home Center Materials.
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