This World Mental Health Day, Sunday 10 October 2021, we are discussing the importance of mental health and wellbeing in the childcare sector for both practitioners and children.
Children’s emotional wellbeing is high on the agenda in the early years sector. Ensuring children are supported to identify and manage their feelings and associated behaviours is something that our skilled early years practitioners do on a daily basis. Giving children the right environment in which to flourish and be mindful is always at the forefront of what we do. However, we need to make sure that the adults around them are also emotionally healthy.
Working in early years is a demanding job. Therefore, ensuring that our early years staff team are as stress free as possible and supported by their colleagues is vital. This will enable them to be resilient and give the very best of themselves to the children in their care.
Simple things such as having a calming and relaxing space to have a break away from the children, as well as having time to talk and regular informal catch ups with your nursery manager, can make all the difference.
Eating nourishing food and taking regular exercise is paramount when looking after children, but we tend to put very little emphasis on this when supporting our colleagues. Providing healthy and nutritious food for our staff, as well as for the children, is an important part of the day and has a huge impact on our mood.
There are many different ways of supporting employees’ mental health and wellbeing, but one of the most important is for people to feel valued and ‘heard’. We encourage our staff to suggest changes, acknowledge their work, say thank you, etc., but also support and guide them to take on new learning opportunities to be the very best they can. At Kids Inc Nurseries, we provide our employees with access to an Employee Assistance Programme, which helps them to track health, practice breathing techniques, use mood trackers and access a comprehensive list of articles and videos.
The early years sector is facing many challenges with recruiting staff and, sadly, this is even more challenging since the pandemic started over eighteen months ago. The effects of lockdown are only now becoming apparent and it is more important than ever to support our employees’ wellbeing and mental health. We need to ensure that we all prioritise ourselves regularly and that our wellbeing is top of the to do list, and not at the bottom.
Kids Inc Nurseries are a growing nursery group with twelve sites currently located in and around the M25 area. Teresa Brooke, Director of Childcare and Education, focuses on helping the children in our care and the staff team we hire. Contact Teresa to discuss this matter further by writing to email@example.com or enquire about a role with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.