The Internet, Local Nanny Groups, and Nanny Conferences
By Sue Downey, Nanny and Co-Founder of Nannypalooza
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.
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 conference the weekend of October 13 and 14, 2012. National Nanny Training Day is a nationwide event in which the nanny industry will provide nanny training opportunities to local nannies on Saturday, April 28, 2012. The INA Conference is hosted by the International Nanny is Association in Las Vegas this year May 3 to May 6, 2012. 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, National Nanny Traiing Day, 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.
How do you gain professional support? Are you a member of an online nanny group, local support group, or attend nanny conferences?