February 10, 2023

Being Mindful: 6 Easy Ways for Early Childhood Education Professionals to Reduce Stress

By Janice Hernandez, Training & Curriculum Specialist at Early Learning Academies

Working as an early childhood education (ECE) professional can be both amazing and challenging. As with any profession, it is important to take the time to recharge, refocus and remember why we do the amazing work we love. As ECE professionals, we have the ability to positively impact the lives of children and their families as well as our peers—that’s a lot of responsibility!

It takes a specific set of characteristics to be a successful ECE professional. This rewarding role requires first that we have patience, empathy, a passion for helping children thrive, flexibility, love for children, creativity, and dedication. In order to be present, ready to engage, and provide children and families with positive experiences we must make sure we are taking care of ourselves, both mentally and physically.

One of the best ways to ensure that we, as ECE professionals, come to our schools and classrooms with a positive mindset is to practice both mindfulness and self-care.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the ability to stay focused on one’s present experience, paying attention to what is happening around us or to us, with nonjudgmental awareness. When caregivers and teachers practice mindfulness it can help build and support the social-emotional skills that are needed to bring their whole-self into their classrooms on a daily basis.

Mindfulness in The Moment

Sure, mindfulness sounds great in theory, but how do put this into action? Childcare centers are busy, frenetic environments—how do we make time to focus and be mindful in middle of chaos? Here are some easy ways to get started being mindful:

  1.  Take deep breaths
  2. Focus on one thing
  3. Relax
  4. Think of or visualize a calm scene or happy place
  5. Take a break
  6. Ask for help

Once you start practicing mindfulness, you will be surprised by how quickly results start rolling in. In our centers, we’ve noticed mindfulness can help caregivers and teachers:

  • Understand their own emotions better
  • Effectively communicate and strengthen relationships with peers, children, and families
  • Care for children who may have more needs than their peers
  • Set up a positive and welcoming environment in their classrooms and programs
  • Bring their full presence to the demands of the Early Childhood field
  • Develop sensitivity to understanding and working through emotions

Mindfulness is an essential practice for ECE professionals who want to deepen their relationship with their jobs and avoid burnout. Looking for more information to share with your team? Check out these helpful resources:

 Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center: Self-Care Resources for Adults

 The Free Mindfulness Project

 American Psychological Association: Self-Care Resource Center