Childcare provider burnout is when an educator loses passion and energy he or she once had for working with small children, but stays in his or her position in the field, according to Meghan McGinley Crowe, Director of Education and Development at Little Sprouts, Inc.
When is also when the daycare provider no longer wants to create or try new things, but has fallen into a rut of day to day working. It is an attitude of not truly caring for the children and just going through the motions, says Susan Cooper, M.Ed., Child Development Expert and Member of Applied Scholastics International.
Causes of Child Care Provider Burnout
There are so many things that may contribute to child care provider burnout. “Working in child care is an extremely demanding job filled with long hours of wiping snotty noses, changing diapers, stopping fights, getting children dressed, running on the playground and reading countless stories”, says McGinley Crowe.
All of this may be in an environment with poor work conditions like drama, gossip, turnover, and very low pay. The hourly wages are akin to a fast food position yet the responsibilities are so much higher.
Cooper believes that loss is the biggest contributor to child care provider burn out.
When a provider has developed a program, a special curriculum, or project and that gets stopped due to funding or internal politics, that is a loss. The daycare provider may give up on trying new things and fall into the routine of day-to-day care giving.
Symptoms of Daycare Provider Burn out
Symptoms of daycare burnout are observed in the treatment of the children.
Harsh treatment, handling or harsh language is one, says Cooper. “Another is taking shortcuts with regular hygiene and cleanliness, like hand washing or sanitation. Sometimes this is mistaken for not knowing how to properly clean, but I have found it’s a sure sign of burnout because the provider knew better just felt it wasn’t worth it”. Therefore, sick, unhappy children may be the by-product of provider burn out.
McGinley Crowe lists staff turnover, teachers disengaged with their children, unorganized classrooms, no plans for curriculum, frequent tardiness, frequent absenteeism, poor communication, and stress as indicators of childcare provider burnout.
Some daycare centers have fairly low accountability of their teachers and at times, it is possible these burned out teachers can do the bare minimum to keep their job. Stress relief and along working on improving work conditions by improving morale may help prevent daycare provider burnout.