Nanny Angel Network Program for Children
The Nanny Angel Network Program for Children provides free, specialized, Child Life informed childcare for parents with cancer. Our volunteer Nanny Angels provide 4 hours per week of in-home support, engaging children in a fun, age-appropriate play and interaction that helps them manage their grief so that they can grow up to be healthy adults. Parents are comforted knowing their kids are in safe, caring hands, which helps reduce their stress and allows them the time to rest, go to appointments, or simply have a few hours to themselves.
In the case of a bereavement, the Nanny Angel Network provides up to a year of additional support to NAN families through their loss. Our Nanny Angels provide a consistent presence and normalcy in the child’s life when nothing seems normal. Their Nanny Angel’s specialized grief training equips them to help children navigate moments of intense grief that can arise after a parent’s death.
“Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.” – O. Fred Donaldson
Routine is an important part of having a healthy childhood. Building good habits and creating a balance of work and play are normal parts of childhood. But when a parent is sick and undergoing treatment it seriously impacts a regular routine. A cancer diagnosis is traumatic for the whole family, but it’s especially challenging for a child. It can already be pretty stressful to be a kid today, and kids can be fearful and anxious when confronted with a parents’s illness. This stress can overwhelm a child’s ability to cope and if left unattended, it can seriously impact physical, emotional, and mental health.
Talking to kids about cancer is hard.
The Nanny Angel Network Program for Children was specially designed by our Certified Child Life Specialist to help children cope with their parent’s cancer. Our team is here to help answer kids’ questions and give kids the coping skills that will help them become stronger, more resilient adults. Every month each child will engage in a volunteer-facilitated coping activity created by our Certified Child Life Specialist. Families also receive psychosocial support from our Certified Child Life Specialist to optimize and enhance their ability to respond to stress.
The biggest part of the Nanny Angel Network Program for Children is about providing a sense of normalcy for kids. Nanny Angels give kids permission to feel joy without guilt and work to model healthy ways to manage stress, focus on developmentally appropriate play and build healthy routines together.
Children in the program are taught coping skills in a language they understand – play. Specially designed coping kits are fun and interactive activities that the child and their trusted Nanny Angel can complete together in a safe and comfortable setting – in their own home. By teaching children coping strategies through a fun and play-based approach, we are equipping them with the skills to handle their family’s cancer journey and gain confidence in their ability to tackle anything life throws their way. We know that kids who are able to cope in healthy ways have better long-term psychosocial outcomes and grow to become stronger and more resilient adults. At the end of the program, each child will have a full tool kit of coping skills to draw on during any stressful situation.
Nanny Angel Network provides support for families with kids up to 16 years of age. While younger children may benefit from guided play to cope with stress, Nanny Angels provide older kids with someone to talk to, so they can connect on a personal level and talk through their different emotions. Regardless of age, Nanny Angels provide kids with their undivided attention and respond to their stress by giving them the age-appropriate tools to cope. Nanny Angels give kids a chance to just be kids.
There’s a Nanny Angel ready to make a difference for your child.