Winter Military Quarterly

Caring for and teaching children is demanding work. It is important that you and the staff you work with feel well and are as healthy as possible. This ensures healthy and meaningful interactions with children, their families, and co-workers.

Care for the caregiver

Since many early childhood professionals and those who work in out-of-school time programs spend many hours each day working with children and families, it’s critical that wellness is supported on the job, too. Benefits of supporting staff wellness include:

  • Enhanced productivity.
  • Increased loyalty and retention.
  • Greater morale of employees.
  • Reduced absences, illnesses, and health care costs.
  • Healthy role models for children, families, and coworkers.
  • Improved mental alertness of staff.

The Penn State Better Kid Care (BKC) program offers online resources to help professionals who work with children and youth to develop practices for healthy living that will enhance personal wellness.

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The Better Kid Care online module, “Taking Steps to Healthy Success: Staff Wellness,” explores best practice for staff wellness, including healthy nutrition, physical activity, sleep, use of screen time, and stress management. Learn strategies to overcome challenges, engage in wellness activities, and create a wellness action plan.

Normal stress is considered a natural part of healthy development and is even needed to learn how to cope with adversity and build resiliency. Severe stress, on the other hand, can be harmful to the well-being of both adults and young children. “Stress: Seeing with Optimism” and “Resilient Caregivers: ‘Bouncing Back’ from Stress” are two online modules to help professionals recognize stress and stress types and build practices to reduce and effectively plan for stress-related problems. Discover optimistic ways to think about and plan for stress to add strength and empowerment, as opposed to fear and worry.

Throughout a professional’s day, there is a constant stream of activity. Attention is given to guiding children as they learn, overseeing the classroom environment, and managing daily stress. In the module, “Mindful Practice for ECE Professionals: Begin the Journey,” development of mindful practice strategies offers a pathway for professionals to maintain a healthy sense of personal well-being and balance, while also nurturing children’s development, relationships, cooperation, creative thinking, and problem solving.