Sole traders and small business operators come in all shapes and sizes but one fact they share in common is that they can often find themselves affected by adverse events, such as natural disasters or public health crises.
This is especially true for those operating within the Family Day Care (FDC) sector who have experienced significant impact due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
There is a range of services and resources available for educators who may need specific support right now including financial assistance or mental health support.
Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of families in your service
Partnerships with the children and families that attend your service is central to being a FDC educator. We understand that adverse circumstances like pandemics can increase feelings of anxiety and stress amongst children and this can be difficult for them to understand. You can find some information on how to support children in your service at Emerging Minds.
You might like to recommend the Raising Children website to parents. It includes helpful information on how to communicate with their families about COVID-19 and the stress that family members may be experiencing at this time. We understand that dealing with parent’s anxiety and wellbeing can be stressful, we recommend you raise any concerns you may have with your coordination unit.
Supporting your mental health and wellbeing
For family day care educators, increased stress linked to COVID-19 can result in feelings of uncertainty about the future, the risk of financial hardship and increased anxiety in children and families.
Making time to reflect on your own mental health and wellbeing is an important part of your overall health, especially during these difficult times. We recommend scheduling time into your day to practice your favourite form of self-care that makes you feel good. This may be a morning walk, watching an episode of your favourite tv show, talking on the phone to friends and family, mediation or craft. Try your best to stick to that schedule to ensure you are giving yourself a break.
We acknowledge that the FDC sector can be isolating at the best of times. It is important, now more than ever to keep in contact with other educators and coordinators within your sector.
Actively maintain your mental health and wellbeing through activities such as:
- Regular exercise
- Keeping in touch with friends and family
- Keeping in touch with other educators and coordinators.
- Making time to do the things you love
- Practise breathing exercise that can reduce stress. Beyond Blue provide a breathing exercise you might like to try alone, or with the children in your service
- If you have spiritual beliefs, taking time for spiritual practice
- Recognising when you need help from others and asking for their support.
Early childhood education and care relief package
On 2 April 2020, the Australian Government announced the new Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package. For information on the relief package and how to apply, please see the links below. We also recommend staying in regular contact with your coordination units as they will have the most up to date information.
For more information, please visit the following websites:
- Department of Education, Skills and Employment
- My Business Health
- Family Day Care Australia
- The Sector - Early Education News
If you need help now, we encourage you to call one of the following national crisis numbers:
- Lifeline 13 11 14 - 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services. To find local services in your area use Lifeline's Service Finder.
- Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 - 24/7 telephone crisis support for people at risk of suicide, carers and bereaved, as well as online resources and information.
- Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 - 24/7 telephone counselling for young people 5-25 years.
- Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 - 24/7 telephone support service and online chat 4pm - 10pm (AEST).
For a comprehensive list of mental health resources, visit the COVID-19 support page Life in Mind.