As an early childhood educator, your days during the school year are crammed with activity. From reading books and grading papers to supervising craft time and running around playing outdoor games, it takes a lot of energy to keep up with young students. In the midst of all this, you've probably had days where you can't find the energy to keep pace.
Though it may be tempting to just turn to another cup of coffee, dependence on caffeine to get you going during the day can lead to a crash that will leave you even more tired than when you were before. Instead of loading up on another latte, try one of these natural strategies for staying energized:
1. Turn up the music
If you get to the classroom early to prep for the day, that quiet room may add to your drowsiness. When the kids aren't around, blast your favorite music on your phone and tap your foot to the beat. You might even want to have a five-minute dance break to get your blood pumping.
2. Get up and move
When you're really struggling to stay awake, you may want nothing more than to just lie down. But instead of settling into a comfy chair, fight that instinct and do the opposite instead - stand up, stretch and take a walk around your classroom. If your kids are enjoying free play, do a lap and check on what everyone is playing with today. While teaching or reading, consider standing instead of sitting to keep your drowsiness at bay.
When you're tired but want to keep up with the students in your ECE classroom, it may be tempting to turn to another cup of coffee.
3. Fuel your body
If you're sleepy, you may find yourself gravitating toward a cookie or candy bar for a little boost. But while these treats will give you a quick boost of energy, you're going to crash hard later when all that sugar high wears off. Pack high-protein snacks to enjoy throughout the day, such as trail mix, celery sticks with peanut butter or your favorite nuts.
And don't forget breakfast - it is the most important meal of the day after all!
4. Stay hydrated
There are a lot of reasons why water is important for your body, and keeping your energy up is one of them. When you're dehydrated, you could quickly become tired and cranky, so have a reusable water bottle on hand and make sure that you take sips throughout the day.
As an added bonus, this will set a good example for your students, who should also be drinking water throughout the day, especially when playing outdoors during warm weather.
5. Get a good night's sleep
If you still can't seem to keep your eyes open during the day, you might not be getting enough sleep. No matter how many tricks you have up your sleeve to help you stay awake, you ultimately won't perform at your best if you aren't catching an adequate amount of zzz's at home.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that adults get about seven to nine hours of sleep each night, but depending on your activity level, you may need more if you want to keep up with your students during the day. Listen to your body and try to find the number that's right for you.
For more tips on how to excel in early childhood education, consider enrolling in online courses through ProSolutions Training.