Director’s Corner – Supporting Healthy Resolutions in the New Year
Early childhood leaders are responsible for so many aspects of program operation. Safety, education, healthy menus, paperwork, and scheduling all fall into the director’s bucket of tasks. For optimal program performance, employee wellness also falls into that bucket. Here are just some ideas for ways that program leaders can make health and wellness part of the program’s culture.
Come up with a team word. During a staff meeting, ask the team to brainstorm a list of words that they can use to guide their work with children and families throughout the year. Once a list is generated, ask the staff to pick the one word or phrase that resonates with their goals. You may decide to have a program-wide word or allow teaching teams to come up with a word that applies to the group they care for.
Provide moments for gentle reflection and realignment. When sitting down with teachers in one-on-one situations, allow time for everyone to take a breath before jumping into the meeting. Ask questions designed to promote reflective thinking. Help teachers realign their knowledge, beliefs, and practices, especially if they are out of alignment with program values.
Make time to check in with staff. During casual conversations or meetings ask questions that promote healthy living and wellness. Ask:
- What have you done recently to replenish your energy?
- How do you release your stress?
- Do you see any opportunities to add more sleep to your routine?
- What would be helpful to you in this moment?
- Do you need anything?
- How can I support you?
Act as a coach. It is not your job to sit down with every staff member and create resolutions or personal goals for the coming year. However, if a staff member tells you they have set a resolution that seems lofty, you can acknowledge their enthusiastic goal and ask them a few thought-provoking questions that guide them to create a plan to support their resolution or mini goals that will help them achieve the larger goal. You can also help employees realize that they can set a new resolution or goal any time of year.
Healthy competitions. Some folks thrive on healthy competition. Competitions can also provide a measure of accountability for people who have trouble sticking with a new practice. Participation should be encouraged, not required. Here are ideas for some healthy competitions:
- Step or distance challenge between individual employees or teaching teams.
- Track the number of pages/books read. You can set a team goal or make it a competition.
- Track hours of sleep or amount of water consumed.
- Most organized closet contests
- Positivity challenges that recognize employees who make a positive impact on their colleagues
- Random acts of kindness
Outdoor meetings. When appropriate, invite employees to join you outside for your scheduled meeting. If there is a picnic table on the premises, you can have meetings there. You might also decide to make your meeting a walking meeting and take a few laps around the parking lot or take a walk around the block.
Share stress-relief strategies. Create a space in the staff bathroom or breakroom where you can post strategies that employees can do to reduce stress. You could include these ideas in your program newsletter to share them with families as well.
Share community resources and events. Create a space where community resources and events can be shared. This is a space where anyone can post upcoming events that other employees may want to explore. This could be a place to advertise an upcoming play or music recital. If your community is hosting free financial planning consultations, this information could be posted on the board. Does a local establishment offer free chair yoga sessions on Saturdays? Post that on the board, too. Ask for a volunteer to help keep the board up-to-date.
Model more healthy practices. Yep…more!
For the main article Healthy Living in the New Year, CLICK HERE
For the article Resolutions for a Healthy Mind, CLICK HERE
For the article Resolutions for a Healthy Body, CLICK HERE
For the article Resolutions for a Healthy Spirit, CLICK HERE