Reduce Stress by Not Overreacting

Nannies Help Reduce Parental and Child Stress

When adults are stressed-out, the kids in their care get stressed-out. Raising a family is stressful. When nannies help parents, they help reduce both their employer’s and their charges’ stress levels.

Stress in children can be detrimental to a child’s health and development. The body reacts to stressful situations by producing adrenaline. The problem is, when this chemical is released into the body long term, on a regular basis, it can cause problems in both adults and children.

And now a study shows (see article “Inheriting Stess?” from nytimes.com) that parental stress may effect children biologically. Kids may actually inherit stress from their parents.

In The Child Care Textbook: Required Reading in the Nation’s First Tuition-free, College Credit, Child Care Training Program Anne Merchant Geissler explains that a common obstacle for nannies is the tendency to overreact. The way nannies communicate is essential to reducing stress and the author says, “When issues are blown out of proportion communication is blocked.”

She explains, “This occurs when nannies focus on the negative aspects of an issue, compounding them, rather than dealing with them directly, honestly, and in a timely manner.”

Ms. Merchant Geissler continues, “Some people can work themselves up to a negative, non-productive state of mind when the issues are exaggerated. It is far better to focus on a solution to an issue right from the start.”

The author points out, “A good example of blocked communication is the nanny who feels that her boss doesn’t appreciate her. She can easily escalate her anxiety about a situation.”

“Directing your attention towards a solution right away requires much less energy. By doing so you will feel better psychologically since you will be positive and feel better,” says the author.

To keep from overreacting — reduce stress.

To help reduce nanny workplace stress:

1. Make sure your basic needs are being met. Eat healthy, get plenty of sleep, and exercise. Nannies spend hours bottle-feeding newborns and preparing healthy snacks and meals for children, yet often neglect sitting down themselves to eat with the children. If your basic needs are not being met and you feel tired, hungry, and cranky you are less likely to deal with problems at work effectively.

2. Focus on one task at a time. Multi-tasking is good. All in-home childcare providers juggle many responsibilities. Nannies wear many different hats simultaneously. But beware of burn-out from too much multitasking over an extended period. Work at maintaining a balanced schedule and don’t over commit yourself. It is perfectly okay to say, “No,” to a playdate if you feel you cannot handle the extra work of having the visitor at the house.

3. Take short breaks. While babies nap, nannies use the time to wash and fold laundry and tidy kitchens, children’s bedrooms, and playrooms. But, sometimes nannies need to rest too. There is nothing wrong with closing your eyes for 15-minutes, reading a book, having a healthy snack, writing in a journal, or even emailing friends back home (but check the clock or set a timer so you do not spend too much time on computer during working hours), to give yourself a chance to recharge on a long, busy day, caring for children.

4. Resist negative thinking. If you see the downside of every situation and interaction, you’ll find yourself frequently irritated and this will eventually drain you of energy. Consciously try to be positive and find humor where you can. It works.

5. Take care of yourself on time-off. Get out of the house and socialize with friends (especially important for live-in caregivers). The better you feel, the better you will be able to manage work stress without becoming overwhelmed. The better you feel the better you will communicate with your employer’s when problems pop-up.

References: 

Inheriting Stress” nytimes.com

The Child Care Textbook: Required Reading in the Nation’s First Tuition-free, College Credit, Child Care Training Program

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