How do I build reflective practice into my work?

Let’s take it a step further and add a couple of questions to help you answer these questions so your thoughts (reflective practice) after a session become part of your planning moving forward.

Questions to ask yourself:

·         Did I do what I had planned today?

·         Was I prepared today to ensure maximum learning, understanding and effectiveness?

·         What did I do well, and what made it work so well?

·         What could have been done differently, and what do I need to do to meet my goals or the group’s goals?

·         What was the most important information or skill that I wanted the families to learn today? Did they learn it? How do I know they learned it?

·         What did I learn from the families today?

How is reflective practice relevant to my role?

MyTime sessions are often planned a term in advance with the members of the group, but lots of things can change for members during the course of the term – group dynamics and family-specific issues change, activities may no longer suit, or new members join with different priorities. Facilitators need to be able to regularly check in with members to make sure the group is relevant and meeting their needs.

Reflective practice is a tool to think about how the session went and to problem-solve when you come up against a difficulty.

Being able to think about what happened (good and not so good) and write a bit of a plan of how the group could do it differently next time, assists you to plan and to talk to the group about the sessions.

If you work largely independently, or in a rural and remote location, you may find this article by Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health to be of value:


Why is reflective practice important for Facilitators?

Reflective practice gives you a better understanding of why things happen. It assists you to recognise good practice – what is working well – as well as think about ways to change and improve what you do.

·         Reflective practice challenges you to take a step back and think about how your session went, to bring about learning in your work.

·         Reflective practice almost always results in a plan of action for the future, and therefore improves the way you facilitate your MyTime groups.

·         Reflection is a powerful process in improving your performance, and like any skill, it can be developed and mastered.


Interested in learning more about why reflective practice is important? Whilst specific to the Victorian Early Years Framework, this paper provides solid evidence outlining why reflective practice is so important.


Why is self-care important for facilitators?

Not all parents are the same, and they will respond in different ways to offers of support. Some responses may be challenging and you may feel stretched to the limit. By looking after your own self-care, you will be better able to effectively support MyTime parents and bounce back after a rough day.

You can find more about why self-care is important here:

Signs to look out for

Burn-out, compassion fatigue or secondary traumatic stress can all impact practitioners at one time or another. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by your responsibilities, have had trouble organising your time, or have noticed your thoughts and feelings about the parents in your group are becoming overly negative and critical, it might be time to work on your self-care.

You can find out more about practitioner self-care here:

Tips for practitioner self-care

Just like with parents, taking care of yourself as a practitioner involves a focus on your physical, emotional, psychological, relational, spiritual and creative needs.

ReachOut has a great tool to help you get started on your self-care. You can first assess where you’re at with your self-care and what gaps you may need to fill, and then develop your own personal self-care plan. Read more...


Why is self-care important for parents?

It can be challenging for parents of children with complex needs to prioritise their own needs, and asking for help can feel hard. But when parents are able to find small ways to take care of themselves, it can help them to keep up with the challenges of parenting and give them the space emotionally, mentally and physically to continue providing for others. Importantly, it also means they are modelling healthy behaviour for their children and giving them the tools for their own self-care that they can take into adulthood.

For more information on the importance of self-care for parents, head here:

Signs of stress

Stress is a common part of life. It can be helpful for parents to take note of what situations trigger stress in their lives, and to learn their own signs of stress. That way, they can plan ahead for managing any stressful situations that might crop up.

You can find information on common signs of stress and stress management here:

Tips for parent self-care

There are many tips out there to help parents find practical and affordable ways to prioritise their own needs every once in a while. Some focus on physical wellbeing by promoting adequate nutrition, sleep and exercise. Others remind parents to take care of their emotional, psychological, relational, spiritual and even creative needs. Self-care activities are best when they’re healthy and safe options. For example, smoking and drinking may feel great in the short term, but are not recommended in the long term.

Keep in mind it can be important to engage in helpful self-care activities regularly, and not just when a crisis hits. This can help buffer the impact of any stressful events that might occur in parents’ lives.

You can find tips on helping parents to look after themselves at Raising Children Network and NGALA.

You can also use our parent tip sheets on ‘Eating and Drinking’, ‘Relaxation Skills’ and ‘Staying Connected’ to help parents build their own self-care plan. The "Coping toolkit” at RCN also has some tip sheets for practicing relaxation and mindfulness.