If you are considering starting a nanny support group, you may be trying to decide what the group needs to look like. You want to offer support to other nannies, but at the same time you want it to be more than just a couple of hours each week where people get together and complain about their employers and the children they care for. There are many proactive and positive components that can be integrated into a support group which can make the group truly useful. You can start with some of these ideas, and as the group matures, add in others.
- Mission statement – Groups that adopt mission statements have a clear idea of their purpose and are therefore apt to function more effectively. A mission statement guides the group in their processes and establishes ongoing goals. Ideally, the mission statement will be created by the members of the group so that everyone will have a sense of contribution and, as such, a stake in carrying out the mission.
- Opening activity – As the group begins to grow, there will most likely be new members coming in from time to time. Creating some kind of opening activity or ice breaker so that people can be introduced to one another is one way of helping people to feel more comfortable in the group. Have name tags or table tents with names on them so people can put names with faces.
- Pledge of confidentiality – There will no doubt be things discussed in the meetings that should stay within the confines of the meeting. Most support groups have rules of confidentiality, and this group should be no different. Members of the group should understand that the discussions that go on there will not end up as town gossip. Confidentiality is paramount to the group’s success.
- Monthly topics – Each month the group can decide what topic they would like to see discussed or if there is a compelling speaker they would like to have brought in. This feature of the meeting will keep members engaged and enhance their skills as they learn new methods of dealing with tough issues or better ways of doing certain things. Group members or outside speakers can present the topic of the month. Some of the employers may have expertise in a subject that they can share, and many will probably present voluntarily.
- Mentoring – Encourage mentoring within the group. The nannies with the most experience should be encouraged to share their knowledge with their less seasoned peers. This practice will also help in discouraging cliques from forming within the group.
- Sharing sessions – You’ll need to decide what type of sharing sessions you’ll want to have. It could be a time of sharing challenges with others and offering ideas and/or solutions; it could be a time of sharing triumphs; it could be a time of sharing things that work and things that don’t work. If the group decides to make it a venting session, put a limit on how long the venting goes on and start with the understanding that it is just a time to let off steam and get support, and not a time to drag the family through the mud. Always concentrate on being a positive, proactive, solutions oriented group.
- Online community board – It may be worthwhile to have a community board online to share information so that if a member misses a meeting they still have access to the information that was presented and the resources that were shared.
- Stress relief time – Being a nanny can be very stressful, so taking time out to learn how to relax and relieve stress is vital. The group can adopt a practice or share something different each time.
- Organize activities – Add fun time into the group by organizing some activities that the nannies can do together; perhaps a picnic, holiday celebration, monthly birthday parties, or whatever. Lively activities for fun and entertainment will keep the group enjoyable.
- Resource sharing – Incorporate a time in the meetings for resource sharing. There may be a new playground opening up or a book about discipline that some have found helpful. Maybe there’s a tax preparer that’s exceptionally good. Creating a time to share resources will help in the members’ professional and personal development.
These are just a few ideas that can be incorporated into a support group for nannies. As the group grows, there will be more ideas. Be open to change and growth because that will surely help the group fulfill its purpose.Taken From Nanny Jobs