We all want to decrease stress and increase enjoyment when it comes to work. When working with children there is always going to be curve balls thrown your way, things we can’t predict, however most days can be not only manageable, but actually enjoyable. Here’s 5 tips to help you enjoy your day at work…
Spend time with the children – I know this sounds a bit “well derrr” but how many minutes/hours a day do you actually just be with the children? Not running a group time, not transitioning them, not correcting behaviour during supervision, not frantically trying to get an observation of them. Play alongside the children, reconnect with why you got into education and care in the first place. Whenever I was having a stressful day in the office I would come out and just sit and chat with the children and everything was right with the world again.
Relinquish control – Being an educator isn’t about being in control all the time. Part of the reason we have stress in our day is because we are trying to control groups of children who are all so different and have such different needs and interests that they cannot be expected to meet our strict expectations. Loosen then reigns a bit and provide the children with the rules, set the limits and boundaries, and then trust them to be capable of following these rules with your support and guidance.
Keep children engaged – The more children are interested in something, the more they will engage with it. The more engaged children are, the less likely they are to get bored and start testing limits and boundaries. Get to know the children and provide activities that reflect their interests and are open ended so they will be engaged for longer periods of time because open ended activities don’t have time limits. Through these activities children can learn a vast array of skills if the right resources, role modelling and questions are provided.
Reflect on practices – If you are finding work stressful then maybe you need to reflect on either the service’s practices, or your own practices, to see if there is anything in particular that is causing the stress. It is so much easier to fix an issue once the issue has been identified. For example you might have a really good day but go home stressed every evening so upon reflection you recognise that the lock up procedure is not working when parents are coming and there are so many tasks to do.
Know the policies – For those times when something unexpected does come your way it is important to have a general awareness of policies and procedures so you can confidently and quickly handle the situation and minimise the stress.
Hopefully these tips will help you have more enjoyable days in your service. Don’t forget that if you are really stressed of struggling you need to speak to someone, whether it is a supervisor or a trained professional. This is not a good headspace to be in when working with children, and is likely going to have a flow on effect for other educators. It is important to make sure you look after your own mental health and speak up.
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