SELF CARE BEFORE CHILD CARE
series: CAREGIVER 101 by Steve Gross
Think of it, in any kind of situation if you wanted to share water with children, well you'd have to have water in order to share it. And when we're talking about social and emotional wellness, lot of times we have to make sure that we have prioritized our own social and emotional wellness. So we show up positive.
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Now oftentimes caregivers, especially in a refugee camp where the situations are so tough, we see ourselves as rescuers and saviors and so we want to put everybody else first. And the thoughts sometimes of doing something for yourself is almost like, well how can I even think of myself and I got all these kids who need me. But if we don't think about ourselves, we don't fill up our own cup. How do we share it with kids? And so this idea sometimes when we're feeling like we need to be martyrs that we need to give more than we have, then we become depleted.
And usually we're not at our best selves when we're depleted. I mean anyone! I'm a dad. I'm sure there's dads were out there and moms that are out there. When you are parenting your child and you are in a place where you feel strong, rested, joyful, hopeful, your parenting changes. Happy parents often help to produce happy kids. But if I'm feeling overtired, frustrated, overwhelmed, angry, that comes into my parenting. So a big priority for a playmaker is to have what we call a playmaker practice.
And you ask yourself four, that's not the four questions. That's three questions. You ask yourself four questions. One of those things is, what am I as the playmaker going to do to bring more joy into my life, so I can share that joy with kids? Who am I as the playmaker going to play with and connect with so that I can share that sense of connection with kids? How am I as the playmaker going to keep myself feeling strong and balanced so I can share my strength and balance with children? And how am I as a playmaker going to help myself to feel engaged, inspired, and creative. So that I can share my inspiration and creativity and engagement with kids?
It's not selfish. You're not doing things for yourself just because hey, nobody else matters. You're doing stuff for yourself so that you're building the social and emotional resources you need to share with children. So really that's this idea. We call it not self care because it's actually the care you need to take in order to condition yourself, to help kids tap in to the light that's around them. And so we call a playmaker practice. The things that you need to do to show up in front of those kids as your most positive, optimistic self.
Steve Gross, M.S.W., is the founder and chief playmaker of the Life is Good Kids Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to spread the power of optimism to help kids heal. The foundation partners with leading childcare organizations to strengthen theircapacity to build healing,...
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life-changing relationships with the children in their care.
Steve’s teachings have been utilized across the country and throughout the world in response to the social and emotional needs of communities deeply impacted by poverty, violence and illness. Steve helps others discover their own sense of optimism so that they can inspire the people around them to focus on the good and overcome life’s most difficult challenges.