Resources for Child Care Givers
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Stress among child care providers is an important problem because it not only affects the provider's health, but also the quality of care that the provider is able to give. A provider who is under too much stress will not be able to offer the praise, nurturing, and direction that children need for good development.

Sources of occupational stress for providers may include:

  • Tension between parents and care givers.
  • Too much work to do in too little time.
  • Feeling unable to make full use of their skills and abilities.
  • Too many children per provider to allow the provider to sufficiently tend to the children’s individual needs.
  • Noise.
  • Immediacy of the needs of the children.

For those providers who work in child care centers, stress may also be a result of:

  • Not fully understanding what is expected on the job or how to perform it.
  • Poor relationships with coworkers.
  • Having little control over how their jobs are performed.
  • Having few or no opportunities for career advancement.
  • Lack of clear communication with supervisors.

If you work in your own family child care home, you can reduce stress by making and following clear work policies and procedures, and by getting training in those areas of your work that you are not comfortable in performing. If you are responsible for managing other providers:

  • Explain your center's work procedures to the staff, giving them an opportunity to ask questions and have them answered. Make sure they clearly understand your policies regarding guidance and discipline of children or managing children’s behavior.
  • Include in your policies and procedures clear direction on how to deal with conflicts with parents regarding child care.
  • Be available to help providers when they need you and give them the resources they need to do their work well.
  • Give providers "ownership" in their work by making it clear that you want to know what they feel would help them do their jobs better.
  • Review the amount and type of work each provider is expected to do and make sure both are reasonable.
  • Watch providers performing their jobs. Let them know what they are doing well and what needs to be improved. Offer advice on how to improve.
  • Provide training to enhance providers’ knowledge and skills.
  • Develop a career ladder (e.g., based on training and work responsibilities), when possible, through which providers can advance within your facility.
  • Encourage providers to suggest solutions to problems and implement them.
  • Encourage good working relationships among all providers. Immediately investigate disagreements to determine the source and find solutions. A solution may be as simple as explaining a procedure.
  • Advocate for fair provider salaries.
Note: This information is not intended to take the place of your state's or locality's child care regulations and laws. In every case, the laws and regulations of the city, county, and state in which the child care facility is located must be carefully followed even if they differ from these recommendations.

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