How to Manage Stress in Childcare

How to Manage Stress in Child Care

The importance of managing stress

Child Care Responsibilities

Do you ever won­der how to man­age stress as a child­care provider? As an ear­ly child­hood pro­fes­sion­al, you are respon­si­ble for meet­ing the needs of chil­dren, assist­ing par­ents and answer­ing their ques­tions, and work­ing effi­cient­ly with col­leagues. Simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, you must take care of your fam­i­ly, your own needs, and pur­sue your own per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al goals. 

Alto­geth­er, this is a lot of responsibility! 

As a result, when a stress­ful sit­u­a­tion aris­es, it can feel over­whelm­ing to man­age it on top of your reg­u­lar day-to-day respon­si­bil­i­ties. By iden­ti­fy­ing the stress’s source and being strate­gic with solv­ing the prob­lem, you can become more effi­cient at man­ag­ing stress and help avoid oth­er stress­ful sit­u­a­tions in the future.

Stress-Management Strategies

There are sev­er­al strate­gies to man­age stress. By iden­ti­fy­ing the source of stress, you can deter­mine the best strat­e­gy to mit­i­gate it.

Stress-man­age­ment strate­gies can be cat­e­go­rized as

  • imme­di­ate and personal, 
  • long-term and personal,
  • imme­di­ate and environmental,
  • long-term and environmental.

Immediate Personal Stress-Management Strategies

The goal of imme­di­ate per­son­al stress-man­age­ment strate­gies is to help over­come stress and gain con­trol over imme­di­ate phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal well-being. Ben­e­fi­cial strate­gies are those that help over­come stress but do not cause addi­tion­al problems.

Ben­e­fi­cial imme­di­ate per­son­al stress-man­age­ment strate­gies include

  • cor­rect breathing,
  • deep mus­cle relaxation,
  • phys­i­cal exercise,
  • use of imag­i­na­tion (such as envi­sion­ing a peace­ful place or time),
  • use of cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties (such as rec­og­niz­ing and redi­rect­ing neg­a­tive thoughts).

Addi­tion­al­ly, there are some strate­gies that may reduce stress in the moment, but because they cause addi­tion­al prob­lems they are not con­sid­ered ben­e­fi­cial. Strate­gies that are not ben­e­fi­cial include eat­ing, using alco­hol and tobac­co, and tak­ing drugs.

Long-Term Personal Stress-Management Strategies

Long-term per­son­al stress-man­age­ment strate­gies can help devel­op per­son­al resources. As a result, they can func­tion as buffers against the neg­a­tive effects of stress.

For exam­ple, effec­tive long-term per­son­al stress-man­age­ment strate­gies include

  • main­tain­ing a healthy body through a sen­si­ble diet, ade­quate sleep, and reg­u­lar exercise;
  • devel­op­ing a high sense of aware­ness of thoughts, feel­ings, atti­tudes, and values;
  • devel­op­ing a vari­ety of inter­ests, activ­i­ties, and per­son­al relationships;
  • find­ing a bal­ance between work, leisure, and per­son­al relationships;
  • devel­op­ing a reli­gious or philo­soph­i­cal out­look that gives per­spec­tive and pur­pose to the fun­da­men­tal dimen­sions of your life;
  • devel­op­ing a sense of humor about life that can both allow you to laugh at your­self and with others.

Immediate Environmental Stress-Management Strategies

The goal of imme­di­ate envi­ron­men­tal stress-man­age­ment strate­gies is to remove the source of stress and quick­ly imple­ment a solu­tion. The first step is to iden­ti­fy the source of the envi­ron­men­tal stress. As as result, many times this action alone will reduce the lev­el of stress and allow you to solve the problem.

For exam­ple, if you are pre­oc­cu­pied with a task and not giv­ing the chil­dren your undi­vid­ed atten­tion, the chil­dren are more like­ly to engage in inap­pro­pri­ate behav­ior. They are telling you with their behav­ior that their needs are not being met. By iden­ti­fy­ing the source of stress (your lack of atten­tion) and solv­ing the prob­lem (redi­rect­ing your atten­tion to the chil­dren), you can quick­ly restore a peace­ful environment.

Long-Term Environmental Stress-Management Strategies

The goal of long-term envi­ron­men­tal stress-man­age­ment strate­gies is to pre­vent and man­age stress with long-term solutions. 

A long-term envi­ron­men­tal stress man­age­ment strat­e­gy iden­ti­fies the source of stress and takes long-term steps to pre­vent and elim­i­nate. Long-term steps include cre­at­ing a new or mod­i­fied envi­ron­ment that is free of the stress­ful elements. 

For exam­ple, you can try man­ag­ing your time more effec­tive­ly, adjust­ing your room’s arrange­ment, and pro­vid­ing enough pop­u­lar toys to avoid con­flicts. You can also try chang­ing your own atti­tudes or values. 

Again, first iden­ti­fy the source of the envi­ron­men­tal stress. Take a step back from the stress­ful sit­u­a­tion and con­sid­er how you can change the envi­ron­ment to elim­i­nate and/or man­age the stress’s source. 

Con­sid­er the exam­ple giv­en above: you were pre­oc­cu­pied and the children’s behav­ior was inap­pro­pri­ate. While the short-term solu­tion is to give them your atten­tion, a long-term fix might be to sched­ule time for your task before the chil­dren arrive or dur­ing naptime. 

Or, you can rearrange the room so that you can com­plete your task while still inter­act­ing with the chil­dren. Anoth­er solu­tion might be to ask anoth­er care­giv­er to do the task. If appro­pri­ate, you could engage the chil­dren in the task with you or make up a sil­ly song for them to sing when­ev­er you must do the task. 

Care Courses’ Caring for Yourself and Achieving Your Goals Training

More strate­gies for man­ag­ing stress, build­ing resilience, and incor­po­rat­ing self-care into your rou­tine are cov­ered in detail in our three clock-hour course, Car­ing for Your­self and Achiev­ing Your Goals.

Addi­tion­al­ly, you will learn about avoid­ing job burnout and grow­ing both per­son­al­ly and professionally!

Care Courses Support

Please let us know how we can be of addi­tion­al assis­tance! Call us: 1–800-685‑7610, Mon­day through Fri­day, 9–5 ET, or email us days, evenings, and week­ends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!

How to Manage Stress in Childcare

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