Critical training to better protect, support, and heal vulnerable children


series: CAREGIVER 101 by Steve Gross


Everybody has their own playmaker practice. What I may do may not necessarily be something that you want to do, so everyone's got to find that basic thing. But knowing and thinking about what brings you joy, who you need to connect with, what you need to feel strong and balanced is really important. But there's some basic, so let me just kind of tap into like basic physiological needs.

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One of those really basic things that folks can do, especially in times of really acute stress is trying to get good sleep. Sleep is magical. You know, I'm sure everyone has had a situation where life feels overwhelming. You can't find solutions and you're overtired and then you wake up and in the light of day after a good night sleep, the world looks different. We need to access good sleep. Playmakers got to figure out how can I get the most sleep possible. Regardless of the circumstances. Sleep is big.

Number two, hydration. When we're under a lot of stress, we have lots of stress chemicals, we have cortisol running through our system, and adrenaline. How do we flush those stress chemicals out? How do we make sure we're drinking and staying hydrated? And by drinking, I mean water. Alcohol and caffeine tend to dehydrate us. So are we fully hydrated? are we rested?

Another thing that's really important is, are we oxygenating our blood? Are we getting exercise and moving around and moving our bodies so that we feel energized? So I was looking at that idea of like sleep, hydration, exercise, oxygenating your blood being really important.

And then also socialization. Have we found people that we can connect with that we can feel supportive, because we as human beings, we're herd animals and we've learned that when we stick together, we're safer and we're better.

And so we want to make sure that in times of crisis, they have their own support system, the people that they work with, their friends, their families, and know that they can lean on those people sometimes because we all need to lean on somebody sometimes.

And so again, the very basic, are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating? Are you nourished? Are you getting some exercise and oxygenating your blood? are you hydrated? Are you social and connected with other people? Those things tend to make us stronger. And so I would say at most basic, take care of those basic needs and you will show up. And if you show up to work with a group of kids and you're exhausted and you're dehydrated and you haven't eaten and you're really overwhelmed, chances are you're not going to be as effective as you possibly can.


Steve Gross

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.


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