written by Vanessa Serrao
Working as an early childhood educator is a very rewarding and motivating job. You get to see children grow and learn in so many ways. Best of all you are the one to thank for their growth and development. But being an early childhood educator requires a lot of physical work that can definitely be draining. Have you ever heard of the word burnout? Burnout is associated with stress, tiredness, anxiety, and strain. It is common for early childhood educators to experience burnout.
As an early childhood educator, you are on your feet for most of the day. As well, depending on what age group you are working with it may involve you lifting/picking up children, which can be very exhausting by the end of the day. In addition, you’re required to plan activities that cater to children’s interests and needs. Some days will go smoothly when working and some days will be hectic when it comes to children crying, having behavioural issues, not listening, throwing toys, etc. So how do you avoid burnout as an ECE?
Meditation is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety as you are focusing on your breath and forgetting about all the daily stressors that you are experiencing. It would be ideal to meditate before work, during your lunch break, and before bed. Making sure to do this consistently is important as well. Doing it one time and then saying “Oh it didn’t help!” will not get you anywhere.
You need to do it consistently, and then you will start to see results. There are so many free guided meditations online that will cater to your needs. For example, guided meditations for anxiety, stress, confidence, and more. Maybe you are having doubts about your abilities as a new early childhood educator. This is completely normal, but by taking the time to meditate, you will gain a new perspective, and the next time you are feeling stressed you can turn back to your guided meditations and then return to work in a more calm state.
The worst feeling is feeling like you can’t talk to anyone. It is important to talk to your co-workers and supervisor if you are feeling overwhelmed. There are times when the job will run smoothly and then there are times when it will be chaotic.
Having staff that is supportive and that will jump in to help when a child is having a hard day is very helpful. Getting the supervisor to take the child and take them for a walk, so you are able to take the time to do activities with the other children can be very helpful. Also, having 2 to 3 teachers in a classroom is helpful.
Lastly, if your workplace does staff meetings it is important that your staff director or supervisor talks about mental health and the importance of employers mental health and making sure it is in a good state. While the children’s well-being and mental health are essential, early childhood educator’s mental health and well-being are just as important. Early childhood educators are essential workers, especially during this pandemic.
If you feel like certain things you are doing as an ECE are not working out accordingly and causing you stress such as you are dealing with challenging behaviour from a child, then you should consider some resources. Some centers offer webinars and get their staff to do certificates that will benefit them.
They also have workshops and webinars on a huge range of topics from challenging behaviour to great activities you can do with children. Things like this will definitely be beneficial for your learning and help to organize your daily routine and in the long run and decrease your stress levels in the classroom.
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