A Grounded Theory Analysis of Self-care and Stress Management among Family Child Care Providers

Purpose: There are many children that spend more time in family childcare homes (FCCH) than with a parent or guardian. Thus, the care children receive is important as it impacts their lives at a young age. Providers have many roles in which they partake in their FCCH, while also managing a variety of stress factors that contribute to their daily lives and routine. Given that stress hinders the quality of their work, there has been little to no research done to understand this population and provide support. Self-care is an important asset which can help balance their stress thus providing a more manageable and loving environment. Hypothesis: Increase in stress experienced by FCC providers results in an indication of poor mental health status. Methods: Using secondary data, eight FCC providers were selected from the larger study of 54. Cases were analyzed based on previous interviews conducted on their daily routine. Constructive grounded theory was used to analyze the transcripts and identify any emerging themes. Results: The emerging themes found are Foundation, Daily Practice and Mental Health. Some providers demonstrate having a foundation (e.g., planning, experience, and strategizing). Daily practice varied among providers demands (e.g., interaction/connection, learning/teaching, different roles). Mental health results from the balance of the first two themes (optimism/self-care, recognition, rewards). Discussion: Our results indicate essential implications for FCC provider’s mental health as they dedicate their work to the wellbeing of children. Understanding how stress hinders their mental health and daily practice, agencies can support their needs and address potential risk factors. Encouraging FCC providers to implement more self-care in their daily routine can ultimately support providers’ mental health.