Jeff A Johnson

Business Owner, Podcast Host

Iowa, US


Caring For The Caregiver


Working with children can be physically and emotionally exhausting and many caregivers spend so much time focused on the needs of kids that they fail to take care of themselves. This often leads to stress and burnout as caregivers struggle to find time in their busy lives for self-care. The result? Stressed, anxious, drained, frustrated, and burnt out early learning professionals. Based on the books, Finding Your Smile Again and Keeping Your Smile.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Understand stress and burnout’s impact on their lives

  • Leave with simple and doable ideas for managing stress and burnout

  • Understand the relationship between their mindset and the quality of care they provide

Core Knowledge Area

Professionalism And Leadership



After 16+ years, in a moment of frustration and exhaustion, Jeff quit a job he loved with a large non-profit agency. He walked in the door as a volunteer and end up directing a child care program and community center that served hundreds of children a day. Twenty minutes after quitting, he realized he was burnt out and unemployed. His wife, Tasha, assistant director of the child care center, quit the next day--she had been burnt out for years.

They quickly resolved to start a family child care program that focused on child-led play and learning. They ran that program for 10+ years. During that time, Jeff had the opportunity to write some books for Redleaf Press that focused on play, relationships, and caregiver self-care. He also began to spend a lot of time traveling as an early learning speaker. In 2013 they closed their program to focus full-time on providing early learning trainings as well as creating and curating digital content promoting play, child-led learning, and caregiver self-care.


Jeff did his first presentation in the fall of 2000. Since then he’s presented across the United States, Canada, and Australia. He’s also done periodic online trainings for about 15 years. Attendees have described his sessions as heartfelt, inspirational, high-energy, and humorous.

Exhausted and homesick from spending up to six months a year on the road, in late 2017 He decided to cut back on live and in person events and focus on online trainings. Now he offers regular live and on-demand sessions via his website, collaborates with other agencies to offer open-to-the-public sessions, and is available for hire as an online trainer.


Jeff began podcasting in 2013. In additional to his original show, The Child Care Bar And Grill, he now hosts and produces several early learning focused shows featuring popular early learning authors like Lisa Murphy, Heather Shumaker, Angela Hanscom, Mike Huber, and Dan Hodgins. There are currently over 1600 episodes--totaling over 700 hours of content—available.


In 2016, Jeff founded Playvolution HQ ( as a home for original and curated early learning content. The site now houses all those podcast episodes as well as thousands of early learning quotes, do-it-yourself projects, article, and more.