Being a childcare worker is one of the most challenging jobs out there. It requires an abundance of patience and kindness, especially when under pressure. These professionals are tasked with keeping our littlest learners safe while also teaching them important skills that will help them thrive as they continue their journey through life. With so many different children, ages, and abilities in one space, any day can bring a new challenge and require even more love and understanding than usual.

Here are six ways you can support your childcare team, so they feel appreciated at work:

1. Ask for their input.

If you want to show your childcare team you value their opinion, then the first step is to ask for their input. Before making any significant changes to the center, such as bringing in new equipment, offering new classes, or adding new meal options, ask your team members for their feedback. This shows them you have an open mind and value what they say. Furthermore, when you take the time to listen to their ideas, you show them you respect and value their contributions, inspiring them to give their best every day.

Google Forms is an easy-to-use and effective tool for collecting feedback from your team. It allows you to create custom surveys with a range of question formats, making it easy to get the feedback you need.

Only a third of U.S. employees strongly agree that their opinion at work seems to count. But when a manager takes an employee’s opinion seriously and acts on it, that employee feels respected, connected and committed to the team.”

RYAN PENDELL

2. Provide reasonable breaks during the day.

Being a childcare worker is a challenging and demanding job. Encouraging your team members to take more than their required breaks during the day to unwind and relax will help them stay focused, energized, and well-rested. Start by having a conversation with your team members to find out when they need breaks and how long they need them, and then make a schedule. Offering more breaks is one thing, but keeping them accountable to them will improve your staff relationships.


Encourage team members to use the break time to meditate or practice mindfulness for a few minutes each day. They can also use the time to get out into nature and take a walk, read a book, or simply enjoy some quiet time.


You can also create a comfortable area where team members can take their breaks, away from the hustle and bustle of their daily tasks. An informal lounge area with comfortable chairs and couches is ideal as it allows staff to sit back and relax without feeling like they are always in work mode.

3. Throw occasional team-building events.

As your childcare center grows, your team members will become closer and more like a family. However, sometimes teams get stuck in their ways and don’t always make an effort to bond. If your team members are close but seem distant, throw occasional team-building events to help break the ice and get everyone on the same page. Team-building events don’t have to be expensive or extravagant. They can be as simple as throwing a pizza party or having a game day event. These types of activities can help build trust and rapport among team members, leading to better collaboration and productivity.

Here are some team buildings ideas: Click here.

4. Provide training and development opportunities.

Your team members are the heart of your operation. They are the ones who are there every day, taking care of your customers and making sure everything runs smoothly. They know your process inside and out and might be able to help you identify areas where you can make improvements. Providing your team members with training and development opportunities gives them a chance to increase their knowledge and skills. This can make them more valuable to your business and help them advance their careers.

Examples of training and development opportunities include attending conferences and workshops, taking online courses, or participating in on-the-job training. You can also provide mentorships or create cross-training programs to help team members develop new skills.

Aside from the usual benefits, you can also consider providing your employees with additional perks like gym memberships, a weekly yoga session, or even mental health days! Having these types of benefits will attract more gifted individuals to your business and help to decrease the employee turnover rate or any personnel issues you might be facing.

Exceptional managers are curious about the inner motivations of their employees because it’s the key to high performance. Does your employee enjoy meeting new people? Mastering new skills? Bonding with a team? Working in the background?”

RYAN PENDELL

5. Be there for them

Childcare providers have demanding and stressful jobs. They deal with hungry and cranky children, sick children, and more throughout their day. While each childcare employee’s experience is different, each one likely has days where they feel completely overwhelmed. When you notice that your team members are having a stressful day, be there for them. Ask them how you can help, or better yet, do something for them to lighten their workload and make sure they can get through the day without feeling overwhelmed. You can also provide them with mental health resources, such as counseling or mindfulness activities, so they can have a safe space to vent and recharge.

6. Recognize their contributions with rewards and bonuses.

Rewarding your team members for their hard work and contributions is another great way to show them you appreciate them. While salary and benefits are important, they are more long-term forms of showing appreciation. For example, if a team member goes above and beyond during a busy season, you can reward them with a gift card to appreciate their hard work.

Only three in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree that in the last seven days they have received recognition or praise for doing good work.”

RYAN PENDELL
Resources:

 Childcare leadership conferences:

39th Annual National Conference

2023 Annual Conference Call for Session Proposals

SHIFT Childcare Leaders Conference

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