Young mothers

Learn more about how you can support young mothers to continue guiding

The term 'young mother' is typically used to describe a young mum under the age of 19

Young mothers may feel isolated from their peer group and community due to the unique pressures they face. They also may be under financial pressure and unable to make regular commitments to meetings.

How can guiding help?

Girlguiding offers young mothers the opportunity to develop skills and gain qualifications outside of a formal educational environment. Guiding is also a great way for them to maintain friendships with members of their peer group, and build a support network in their local community.

Including young mothers

Plan ahead 

Plan your programme ahead of time and share it with the young mother as early as possible. If childcare is limited, this will help her to plan her time and prioritise which meetings to attend.

Inclusion at residentials 

Residential opportunities may not be possible due to cost and time commitment. Try to organise events that can be accessed easily on the same day by public transport, so that young parents can balance attending the event with childcare commitments.

Financial support

Young mothers may struggle with guiding costs, so follow our guidance on supporting members from low income backgrounds.

Encourage them to stay involved 

If a young member is unable to make a weekly commitment to guiding, consider other ways for her to get involved. Make sure she receives regular updates on meetings and events. Even if she decides to leave, she may still want to stay in contact and access the support that Girlguiding can offer. Regular contact will also make re-joining a unit easier.

Be understanding about childcare 

Although it's not recommended that young mothers bring their children to meetings, there may be times when childcare is not available. Children attending with young mothers should follow the adult to child ratios for children of volunteers.

Your role as a trusted adult

A young mother may wish to talk to you as an adult that they trust and have regular contact with. They may also choose to speak with any Young Leaders in your unit, so make sure that you are available to support Young Leaders too.

This is an important responsibility, so if a girl turns to you for advice or support, make time to listen. If you are in the middle of a group activity, tell her that you will carry on your conversation after the activity has ended. Make sure that you follow through with this and are consistent. Be honest and do your best to answer any questions that a girl might have - as long as it's appropriate for you to do so.

See our full guidance on safeguarding members.

Get advice on inclusion

Contact the Inclusion team at Girlguiding HQ for more information about including all girls and volunteers in guiding.