Aimee Currier


I will never forget the time a child, on her first day in our school, asked me a question that was both illogical (from a teacher perspective) and logical (from a child perspective). It was time to get ready for rest time. This child, blanket in hand, approached me and said, “Ms. Aimee. Where do you take a nap?” I wanted to hug that child because all I could think was “She knows I’m tired too.” As much as we all appreciate the idea of being able to take a rest midday, we also know it just is not possible when you are the one responsible for the well-being of the children in the room. But let’s face it. We really NEED that down time. We need a break. So, what can we do to ensure that we are recharging our own batteries so we can be the best for the children we care for?


Teacher-level stress is something that is hard to describe. For me, I was on a constant rollercoaster ride of emotions each day: joy, worry, excitement, some dread (especially if I had to report a less than stellar day), and pressure to meet standards. Whether the emotions were positive or less than positive, they all added up to a level of stress that was often beyond words. Don’t get me wrong. I loved being in the classroom. I loved the children I got to work with and teach. But even on the best days it was stressful. My fellow early childhood educator: I see what you’re doing, I see what you’re going through, and I hope you find the following tips helpful.

Tip 1: Leave your room. No! Don’t just get up and leave. When it’s time for your break and someone comes to cover your class, whether it’s 15 minutes or an hour, leave. Walk out. Go sit somewhere away from children. I can tell you from experience, even if another teacher is covering for you, if you are in the classroom those children are coming to you with their tears, their laughter, and their peer conflicts. And by nature, you want to help, and you want to share in their emotions. Leave the room. Give yourself time to just get away from it for a little bit. You will likely (hopefully) feel like you have recharged fully and can finish out the day at your best.

Tip 2: Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. This promotes good physical health and can stave off fatigue. Personally, this is something I struggle with. I have found that adding some fruit to the water and keeping it ice cold is helpful for me. Learn your preference and drink up! Here is a short article with some more information:

The Many Wonders of Water

Tip 3: Enjoy the children. Get on the floor and play with the children. You will likely find that engaging with the children brings you closer to them and builds a mutual respect. This will make your days go much more smoothly and you will find you enjoy that time with them. They love to see us laugh. Embrace that.

Tip 4: Check in with each other. Sometimes we need a nudge. I currently have a professor who requires us to submit a weekly self-care check-in form. Honestly, I get so caught up in everything going on in my life that if I did not have this reminder to stop and think about myself, I never would. So please remind each other of the importance of those moments of self-care.

What do you do to cope with the stress you feel? Please feel free to leave a comment or two to share with others in the field. We would love to hear from you.

Tags : managing stressSelf Care

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