How Nannies Can Gain Support

The Internet, Local Nanny Groups, and Nanny Conferences

By Sue Downey, National Association for Nanny Care

Other than dirty dishes in the sink on Monday mornings and late parents on a Friday night, one of the biggest problems that nannies face is the isolation. Nannies do not have coworkers. There is no water cooler and no happy hours after work (okay, some nannies make that happen). There is very little support.

Great nanny employers try to support their employees the best they can — but it can be difficult. If you start blowing-off-steam about the kids, the parents may misinterpret and have hurt feelings, taking your comments too seriously instead of understanding you are just venting. And really, you can’t complain about your employers to many other people because your friends working in offices don’t get it. Plus, there are privacy issues to consider.

But nannies need support and advice. What if you have an issue at work? What if you need some answers on employment issues? What if you want to know how the other kids get potty trained at 18-months and you are still knee deep in diapers? There are not too many resources to turn to. But, the good news is that there are resources out there.

1. The Internet:

The first place to find support is the Internet. There are countless message boards, Yahoo groups, and nanny blogs for caregivers to visit. Even twitter and facebook groups are becoming important ways for nannies to reach out to other in-home childcare providers who understand and can be the shoulder to lean on when they need a friend. Plus, nannies can access the Internet 24-hours a day, seven-days a week, making it convenient for caregivers that work long hours.

2. Local Nanny Support Groups:

Local nanny support groups are a great resource for nannies. Some are run by nanny placement agencies and others are managed by groups of nannies. Nanny support groups plan social outings, playdates, workshops, and nanny night outs that all are essential for keeping sanity in what can be an isolating job. In-home caregivers can meet some of the best people in the nanny industry just by reaching out. And sure, there are some people who won’t be your cup of tea, but that would happen in an office setting as well.

Interestingly enough, many local nanny support groups struggle to get nannies to attend their events. Many hours are spent planning playdates, nanny night outs, and meetings but group leaders are often disappointed by low turn out. If you have a nanny support group in your area and haven’t tried attending an event — give it a try.

Stop by on Friday we will list the most current contact information for nanny support groups.

3. Conferences

Personally, I love attending conferences. Nanny conferences take networking, fun, education, and social interaction all to the next level. Conferences can really make you feel like the professional that you are — even if the day before you attend you are up to your elbows in paper mache.

There are many options for educational conferences. Nannypalooza is organized by the National Association of Nanny Care and the INA Conference is hosted by the International Nanny Association . The National Association of the Education of Young Children also organizes wonderful conferences for early education professionals and local and state co-operatives all host childcare conferences.

At Nannypalooza and the INA Conference you will find more nanny interaction. At other early childcare conferences you will have to transfer the knowledge from school setting to in-home setting. But, either way, you will be glad to take the time to attend an educational professional childcare conference.

Tomorrow: What to Expect at a Nanny Conference

How do you gain professional support? Are you a member of an online nanny group, local support group, or attend nanny conferences?

Comments

  1. Why don't nanny agencies provide us with a list of nanny support groups? No agency I've ever worked with ever gave any info about meeting other nannies or support groups. Any clues why not?

  2. When I was in Boston a few of the agencies actually had their own meet up times every few months, and at them we could exchange contact information with each other. They also put out a directory for all of us. Including ages and genders of charges.And, when I was in Chicago, I met nannies through an agent, one had called her looking to meet others.Sometimes agencies are only one or two people who have families outside of owning their own businesses. I really believe with the internet now, if we want to network with other nannies, it's not that difficult to find each other.

  3. Au pair agencies let us know all other au pairs in the area. We all meet up every Thursdays then make friends on our own.

  4. Au pairs can all our au pair agencies anytime for help. The staff remains very involved all year we're here also.

  5. I guess my only complaint about nanny groups and other nannies is there are too many gripe sessions. I think having less friends but quality nanny friends has been better for me personally. I think nanny agencies might think we are just getting together to complain about our jobs and maybe that's why they don't advertise nanny groups more. Also, the cliques are crazy. I have found local groups and national groups to be social events not learning events also.

  6. Re: comments aboveNanny agencies might not tell you about nanny groups simply because they are busy. It's not intentional. That's paranoid and ridiculous.Other people gripe only if you let them. Don't listen or hang out with the whiners and make friends with those that inspire you instead.Maria Lopez, Miami FL

  7. I love attending any of the support ideas Sue mentions! I am a member but haven't the time to read all the messages from online groups, or attend events, but when I have the time or money I have found all very helpful.Thanks to all the ladies who moderate and organize these forms of support!!Morgan

  8. I want to state that many of the conference both local and national for any organization can be a little clique-ish, you have to think about the fact that many people go to these conferences together and thus all ready know peopl. I think that maybe the first anonymous comment just has not found one that works for them. Please do give them all another try. The other thing that you might be able to do is find a support group that has a "topic of the month". I know Michigan Professional Nanny Association has done all kinds of different workshops, including ones on bullying, summer safety, and father's day crafts. However, I do not think that I have ever been to a nanny conference or other child-care (parenting) conference that I have not taken something out of.As I stated before please try to give them another try and you might find something you did not the first time around. Also, you could suggest to the group leader (s) things that you would like to see. Coordinators do not know what you are thinking until you tell us. Plus, sometimes we run out of ideas too.

  9. I just love any outing with other nannies that want to be nannies. There are plenty of nannies who hate being nannies but have no other option. For those of us who love being nannies being around others that love working as nannies is motivating and inspirational. I think any nanny who wants to continue working as a nanny would love a nanny conference. Even when I've been doubtful, I leave conferences inspired excited to try the new things I have learned. Nannypalooza this year is $25 and all over the country so most anyone can afford to give it a try.

  10. I have run the Boston Area Nanny Support Group for 10 1/2 years now. Area agencies do give out information on my group. I'm not sure why this isn't the case in other areas…possibly liability, possibly because the agency has no connection with the group and can't assess whether the leaders have an anti-agency or other destructive agenda…such as trashing employers and encouraging each other to make unreasonable demands (this has happened in some cases), or maybe the nanny group is sponsored by a rival agency. An agency doesn't want to send a nanny looking for support into a group where there may be power struggles and personality wars, as happens often when diverse people come together to form a group, and no one is trained in managing group dynamics.In my case, I knew going in that I wanted agencies to promote my group so I keep BANSG independent and positive, and copy the agencies on the email newsletters so they can forward them or at least keep their finger on the pulse of what BANSG is doing. And I wrote up and posted guidelines for meetings to keep them safe and positive. I think it is my track record over time which actually won over some of the agencies, as there have been many groups in the Boston area which have imploded before I came on the scene… including one which I heard about in my early nanny days and called to join just as it was disbanding.Wishing you well,Janice St. Clair

  11. NY Nanny- and anyone else searching for nanny support groups.All you have to do is put in a google search- Nanny Support Groups and a whole listing will come up. You can also search for Nanny Message Boards or Nanny Yahoo Groups. There are quite a few to choose from- so you should find one that you like.Good luck!~Andrea- Nanny in NJ

  12. Hey friend. I think your site is very interesting for me, your site give me some important information about searching for nanny support groups, thanks a lot!

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