The role of a family day care educator can often be physically, mentally and emotionally demanding. It is extremely important that educators look after their own mental health and wellbeing.
Family day care educators tend to be givers, so sometimes they work themselves to the bone and don't give themselves time.
Looking after your mental health and wellbeing has many benefits. These may include increased enjoyment and satisfaction with life, improved capacity to cope with stressful events, ability to foster positive relationships and improved likelihood of achieving goals.
You might be finding that the stress of work or personal life is impacting on your mental health. There are things you can do to improve your wellbeing and enhance your satisfaction with life.
Some general tips to look after your own mental health and wellbeing include:
- Eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water throughout the day
- Being physically active for at least 30 minutes per day
- Getting enough quality sleep and taking breaks throughout that day
- Building and maintaining positive social interactions and relationships
- Creating a positive, comfortable and supportive work environment
- Making sure you prioritise time for activities that you enjoy
- Managing stressful periods in ways that are effective for you
- Seeking support when you need it (both personal and professional).
Positive wellbeing improves relationships with children
Outside of the personal benefits to the educator, there are also a number of benefits to the environment and the children in care. Whilst family day care educators often place energy into creating positive environments for the children and young people in their care, it is important that they also look after their own wellbeing. When educators care for their own mental health and wellbeing, they are better equipped to support the mental health and wellbeing of each child at the service. Children and young people are often influenced by the people and environment that surround them, so it is important that educators focus on their own mental health and wellbeing to further promote a supportive environment for the young people in their care.
If you're stressed or unhappy or worrying, you can't provide a good experience [for children]. It's not possible.
As a family day care educator it can be tempting to focus all your time and attention on the service and the children in your care, but the most important resource in that service is actually you.
The healthier and more resilient you are, the healthier your family day care service has the chance to be, and the better the outcomes for the children.