Naptime Reads

Happy Friday Friends!

Welcome to another roundup of our favorite things we read this week. We hope you find the articles and resources as helpful or encouraging as we did!

 

We could all use a little more kindness in our lives! And we could definitely read more about kindness with our charges. Here’s a list of books that encourage kindness towards others. Mackenzie loves Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena, it won the Newbury Medal last year and it was a Caldecott Honor Book!

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How do we prepare our little people to do hard things? How can we help set them up for success when they face challenges? What are some ways that we can foster grit? Katie Westenberg writes a list of five ways we can help to raise overcomes. {This article originally appeared on Katie’s Blog}

 

As caregivers we are constantly looking for the best developmental toys/tools to help children grow. This website has a great list of toys that can help stimulate brain or gross motor growth. We also love that it matches a learning standard to each toy it suggests!

 

Sometimes, or most of the time, we don’t always get a break in our jobs. Our line of work has a lot going on all at once; lunch, clean up, prep for activities. Nap time means meal prep, planning, and cleaning up toys. So what do you do if you’re overwhelmed and need to reset at work? I love this list of how to reset and refocus in two minutes. Let us know if any of them worked for you!

 

Can you love a kid too much? We don’t think so. And neither does Deborah MacNamara! Creating a safe space with dependable and deep connection allows children to grow. It gives them confidence to move forward and to try! After reading this article, we wanted to go read her book too!

“At the end of the day, the most important lesson is this: Children don’t need to be pushed to separate or to grow up. What kids need most are deep relationships and to be freed from their hunger for connection.”

 

We hope your weekend is filled with restful moments!

Cheers!

Mackenzie and Kathryn

Naptime Reads

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Jean E. Pendziwol’s No Dragons for Tea: Fire Safety for Kids (and Dragons) is a fantastic resource for teaching fire safety, if you’re in the market for that sort of thing. It’s how my 3 year old charge learned “stop, drop, and roll.”

Power struggles are one of those tricky scenarios you can fall into before you realize it. Parenting Beyond Punishment has some helpful tips here to sidestep or resolve them.

I’m always encouraging my charges to make a mess on the job. Children primarily learn through their senses. My employers have always gotten it, but it can be hard selling some parents on the idea. This post from Creative Sense offers a handy and thorough break-down of how sensory experiences benefit children in learning and development.

A simply truth that seems too easily forgotten: children are people too, via Happiness is Here.

Need a summer boredom buster? Make ice cream in a bag (via 2 Little Hooligans) or knock out one of the science experiments on this fantastic roundup from Growing a Jeweled Rose.

Happy Weekend!

Kathryn

 

Spotlight Sunday: Jo

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Tell us about yourself!

Hello everyone!! My name is Jo Bennet, I’m a 24-year-old Norland Nanny, Qualified Maternity Nurse and Sleep Consultant. I am based in West London and nanny for the most amazing family. I look after a little boy (3.5) and a baby girl (1). A fun fact about me is that I have a twin brother (and an older brother), my mum is also a twin, and my twin and I also have twin cousins whose birthday is the same day as ours – crazy! Talking of twins, I also volunteer for an incredible charity called TAMBA (Twins and Multiple Births Association) in my free time. I give practical help, consultations and support to families with multiples (twins, triplets or more) who are in crisis and in major need of help. I love sewing and drawing, anything creative. I love to be active so I run, cycle and swim as often as I can, I cycle to work most days. I also LOVE to travel, and enjoy traveling the world with work and in my own time. I also have an instagram account called @littlepeoplemadness!

Jo's volunteer work with TAMBA.

What led you to becoming a nanny?

I think everyone knew I would be a nanny before I did. I love children, babysat a lot, and volunteered in a children’s nursery. I’m a very caring person by nature – my twin brother has special needs and I assumed a caring role with him as a child and I think this made me become more nurturing as a person. I feel my personality fitted into being a nanny and looking after children perfectly. I went to the Norland open day after my Nanna suggested it. She grew up in London and used to see the Norland nannies walking their silver cross prams around in their uniforms. When I got there, I fell in love with the course and wanted to be a Norland nanny from that point on.

Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.

Enthusiastic, compassionate, fair, fun and creative.

Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?

I believe in being firm but fair. I think that children should always have unconditional love but they shouldn’t be spoiled. Loving a child doesn’t mean you have to do everything they want and give them whatever they want, you can show love without spoiling a child. I believe that children flourish from having consistent boundaries. I think teaching them to be kind, loving, happy and respectful is way more important than them having all the newest toys. I also believe it is very important to remember that our everyday life is their childhood, so be patient with them and let them explore, learn and discover everything so they can fully embrace the world and have fun learning. I think getting messy is so very important! We shouldn’t be scared of mess as it’s the best avenue for them to learn and develop. A messy child is usually a happy one, and mess can always be cleared up but a missed learning experience can’t always be recreated.

What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?

I love that children are always growing and moving forward in their development, which is so exciting. It brings such variety to the job, they reach new and different levels, which is so lovely to watch, see, and be a part of. Knowing that you’ve helped them to accomplish things and break down any barriers to let them experience the new levels life has waiting for them, seeing their faces when they’ve managed to achieve something new is so lovely and heartwarming, I love that about my job and seeing them grow into proper little people is just crazy. There’s always so much to process and so much going on, you have to be able to adapt to any situation as a nanny as things change all the time, which I love. If every day was the same it would be boring. Being such a massive part of our little people’s lives is magical. It’s an honor to be welcomed into a family and to have such a huge impact on the children’s lives. I’m really proud to have such a special responsibility.

What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?

Knowing you will have to leave them one day.  This is something that I always wonder about, the next chapter!  How will they cope without me and, even more, how would I cope without those little people in my life every day!? But as a nanny, this is something you know will always happen at some point and you have to be able to see the good in it, for them and for you. Sometimes change needs to happen to let everyone grow.

What advice would you give to someone just beginning his or her nanny career?

Having nanny friends is really important. Nannying can be quite lonely if you don’t have people you can meet up and chat things through with. I would say location does make a difference, if you are in an area with nanny friends it has a huge impact on how you feel about your job. I would also say you will know when the right job comes along, so don’t just settle for a family. I really believe that having a strong relationship with the parents is vital, if you click with the parents that’s actually more important than the children, as a nanny we all love all children, they aren’t the issue, it’s the parents! Having parents on the same page with you is vital, it will enable you to enjoy your job more and feel valued, having that relationship will also encourage stronger bonds with the children as well. So, a win/win.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

My day changes daily so this is tricky to answer, but I usually start at 8.00am and do breakfast with them and get them dressed. Three days a week B3 has nursery for the morning and so we will drop him off and G1 and I will do a class – swimming, music, playgroup or have a playdate. We have lunch and pick up B3 from nursery and they both have quiet time. G1 naps and B3 usually reads his books in his bed and sometimes he will fall asleep. Occasionally he chooses to watch a Disney film for his quiet time. I cook, sort the laundry and do all the chores in this time. Then usually B3 and I have some quality time together and do some activities while G1 is still napping. Once she’s awake we will go have a play date, go to the park or all do an activity together before dinner. After dinner, it’s bath and get ready for bed, and that’s when my day ends. I usually finish at 6.30pm.

What is your go-to nanny outfit?

Luckily, I don’t have to wear my Norland uniform anymore! We only have to wear that while training. I always wear casual clothes that I don’t mind getting messy. I tend to wear dark jeans, to hide the muck, a t-shirt, a jumper and trainers. As I cycle to work, I also need to wear something practical for that, for example not a floaty dress/skirt. I do love clothes though and will sometimes try to wear something nice so I can meet friends straight from work. But, with a baby especially, I often end up with something splattered on me and have to go home and change before going out anyway.

How do you wind down after a long day on the job?

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I’m quite a busy person and tend to always have something on every evening after work – either meeting friends for dinner/drinks or the cinema. My boyfriend is also very active so quite often we will go swimming together after work or go for a run. If I have nothing planned we will just watch TV (I love Grey’s Anatomy. I have re-watched them all many, many times, and everyone jokes that I could be a doctor with the amount I’ve watched) and order food in and take a well-deserved break. I love to sew and at the moment I am in the middle of a sewing project to turn all the baby grows and clothes my littlest charge has outgrown into a patchwork quilt for her. I also love to read. My favourites are murder mysteries and crime thrillers.  

Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?

During training my most used books were Advanced Early Years by Iain Macleod-Brudenell et al., and Early Childhood Studies: Principles and Practice by Jane Johnston and Lindy Nahmad-Williams.These are very academic type of books so great for people doing childcare studies.  The information I got from them has stayed with me and stood me in good stead. An interesting book is The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland.  This is a book about the way our brains work and how best to help children become emotionally balanced. It’s a fascinating read to see things from a different point of view. The internet is also a good source of information “on the run”, but I am careful about the sites I use. Most often I share information, advice and issues with friends – they are my best source of information and help! A book that I’ve found helpful for parents of twins is Expecting Twins? by Professor Mark Kilby and Jane Denton.  It’s nicely laid out, easy to read and not too intense.

The gals behind Not Quite Mary Poppins are always looking to grow our bookshelves. What are your favorite children’s books?

Handa’s Surprise by Eileen Browne – I have made sock puppets of all the animals to really bring it to life for children. B3 is obsessed with the Mr. Men books by Roger Hargreaves. I also think the books about feelings for children are so helpful and such a great tool for them to start distinguishing their emotions.  The ones I like are by Brian Moses. I Feel Jealous is particularly good for new siblings, but they do lots of other emotions too. There are too many lovely books out there to single any others out.

 

Naptime Reads

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Does your charge have a book he or she wants you to read over and over and over again? Try to hold your tears of frustration, the repetition is actually good for them.

Have you heard of Brains On? It’s a science podcast geared for kids ages 7 and up. It’s based around “why?” questions like Why is the ocean salty? and Why dont carnivores need to eat their vegetables? Do you have older charges who like to know the why’s and how’s? They’ll dig this.

Tired of asking your charges “How was your day?” Here’s 50 questions to ask them instead.

The folks at the Tinkergarten blog More Than Mudpies on why children love to demolish and knock down.

This video of a little girl who does NOT want to put her feet in the grass made us smile.

Happy weekend, nannies!

Mackenzie & Kathryn

 

Playlist: Music for a Chill Playdate

 

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I don’t know about you, but I can be a little picky about the music my charges listen to. Because it happens to be the music have to listen to as well. Thankfully, these days it’s not all Barney and Sesame Street soundtracks. Children’s music these days can be wonderfully diverse, colorful, and fun for all ages to listen to. I’ve caught myself playing Frances EnglandGustafer Yellowgold, and Caspar Babypants on repeat even when my charges aren’t around. But do you ever throw on a children’s station that seems to specialize in songs that are nails-on-a-chalkboard awful because you simply don’t have time to find more appealing music? Look no further, nanny friends, I’ve got you covered. Here’s a playlist of 15 quality children’s songs with warm, catchy sounds to get you started. Throw it on at a kids party or playdate to impress your guests, or the next time your charges have to spend a rainy day at home. Do you have any favorite children’s bands or songs? Share in the comments! I’d love to know.

PS – This is my favorite resource for great children’s music.

PSS – Caspar Babypants also has delightfully quirky music videos. My 3 year old charge loves this one.

Happy listening!

Kathryn

Spotlight Sunday: Delphine

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Tell us about yourself!

My name is Delphine. I’m a French girl who lives in London. I have a lovely man I’ve been with 8.5 years. He is a nanny like me. I have worked in the South West of France, Paris, and now London, where I take care of 3 children. I love music, craft activities, cooking, knitting, reading, and have a big passion for travel that I share with my partner. We run an Instagram account and a site together about that: @rafdelphine, www.rafdelphine.com.

Delphine's travels through Hong Kong (L) and Toronto (R).

I also have a nannying account on instagram : @thedayswithnanny and a nanny blog: The Days with Nanny, where I share all the thing I’m doing with the children in French and in English.

What led you to becoming a nanny?

I became nanny because I have loved children since I was young, and my aunt has been nanny at her home since I was a child. I spent a lot of time with her, I enjoyed giving attention and love to the children just like her. It’s a real pleasure to see them grow up, smile, and teach them new things.

Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.

I’m gentle, creative, patient, organized, and supportive.

Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?

There are 2 things I think are very important. First, children need to know what they can and cannot do, and for that you and the parents need to be in agreement on the rules. For me, a child with rules is a happy child. Second, children need to try things by themselves. It’s possible that they will make a mistake, but that is how they will learn. I’m here for every question they have and I support them every time they try to do something new.

What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?

I enjoy every moment with the children. I love when they ask me questions, or laugh. Every child is unique and every day we do different things. And I enjoy the opportunity to prepare and organize the day the way I want.

What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?

The hardest part is the relationship with the family. You need to be on the same page as the parents. And I’m sentimental, so the other hardest part is when you change a family. Letting them go is very difficult when you’ve spent a lot of time with them.

What advice would you give to someone just beginning his or her nanny career?

What can I say? You must be patient in this job, it’s the most important quality. After that, you need to have a good relationship with the family you find, that’s important in order to have a good experience. And of course, you must love children.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

We don’t have a typical day, every day is different. But generally, each day the children get a nap, lunch time, nursery or gym in the morning for the little boy, we take a stroll or go to the park, reading time, playtime, listen to music, sing, dance, or do yoga, and I try to have a physical activity every day.

What is your go-to nanny outfit?

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That depends on the day and the weather, but generally I wear comfortable clothes like leggings with a t-shirt and flat shoes. I tie my hair in a ponytail and wear no make up.

How do you wind down after a long day on the job?

After I long day on the job, I like to go home to my partner, go to the gym, or watch a movie.

Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?

To find ideas for activities, I can recommend my blog and my instagram account. I use Pinterest and instagram to find new ideas for activities with the children. I like one book: Mary Sharidan’s From Birth to Five Years by Ajay Sharma & Helen Cockerill, you can find a lot of things in it about children’s development.

The gals behind Not Quite Mary Poppins are always looking to grow our bookshelves. What are your favorite children’s books?

It’s difficult because there are a lot, but I can give some. Peepo by Janet & Allen Ahlberg, Meet Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, Me… by Emma Dodd, What Happened When in the World: History as You’ve Never Seen It by DK Books.

And some French books, because we read in both languages. Les Animaux Autour du Monde: en Relief by Peggy Nille, L’abécédaire à toucher de Balthazar by Marie-Hélène Place, Le Loup Qui Voulait Changer de Couleur by Orianne Lallemand.

Naptime Reads

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Bill Murphy Jr. on how to read to children in a way that develops intellectual empathy here. Hint: ask questions that force them to put themselves in the story.

My oldest charge picked out The Queen’s Hat by Steve Antony on our weekly library visit, and it was a firm favorite. We giggled all the way through this charming little romp through London to find the Queen’s hat that’s been blown away by the breeze. She, her corgi, and her guards visit some famous landmarks along the way, with cute illustrations to boot. I later learned it’s by the same man who wrote and illustrated Please, Mr. Panda. Steve Antony never disappoints.

To kick off summer, a recipe for sidewalk chalk that glows in the dark. How cool would this be at night?!

Janet Lansbury (our childcare hero) on how and why you should stop entertaining your toddler.

When encouraged to do something independently, does your charge pipe up instantly and say, “I can’t!”? (Mine does!). Kelly from The Reformed Idealist Mom writes here on the one word that can stop a child’s negative self-talk. Game-changer.

On a personal note: Thank you for all your kind responses to this post last week. Nanny community, you guys are the bees knees. Mackenzie and I think you’re pretty lovely.

Happy Weekend!

Kathryn