Spotlight Sunday: Rachel

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Tell us about yourself!

Hi everyone! My name is Rachel and I’m 23 years old! Born and raised in New York! I am a full-time nanny to two amazing kids, B4 and G2 and one more on the way! I love my job and wouldn’t change it for the world. When I’m not being super nanny, I love hanging around NYC, looking for yummy places to eat and fun places to shop. I’m a huge fan of The Vampire Diaries and Grey’s Anatomy! I also love to post pictures on both my personal Instagram and I also have a nanny Instagram, nannying_in_nyc! Follow me on my everyday adventures with my nanny kiddos!

What led you to becoming a nanny?

I have always had a love for children. Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted my job to involve caring for children. I went into college thinking I wanted to be an Early Childhood Education teacher. As I ended my freshman year, I realized that being a teacher wasn’t really for me. This is when I switched my major to child and family studies. Towards the end of my senior year in school, I started thinking about becoming a nanny. I started researching everything I could and then started to pursue a little bit more about it when I graduated from college. With everything I read, I knew this would be the perfect job for me. And with that, I found my first nanny job last year and I’m still with the same family today!

Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.

Dedicated, hard-working, loving, creative, organized.

Describe your nannying approach. What is your child care philosophy?

Almost everything can be, and SHOULD be, a fun and positive experience!

What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?

I love that everyday is different! I’m not just sitting in front of a computer at a desk all day! My office changes day by day! Whether we are visiting a park to play, or going to the zoo to see some animals, we are always doing something different to have fun!

What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?

One of the most challenging parts of being a nanny is that sometimes we have long hours. By the time my day ends, I’m so exicited to head home, eat dinner and climb right into bed! But thats what weekend naps are for, right?!

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

Be yourself! Don’t pretend to be someone you are not just to land the job! You will find the perfect family to nanny for when you are being yourself!

What is your go-to nanny outfit?

Anything that is comfy! I always need to be ready to get down and dirty with the kids! T-shirt and shorts in the summer and sweatshirts and leggings in the winter! Easy, comfy and something I don’t mind getting messy!

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

Scrolling through my Instagram feed, binging different shows on Netflix and watching videos on Youtube!

Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?

I would not survive the nanny life without the plethora of nanny Facebook groups, nanny Instagram pages and of course Pinterest! Thank god for Pinterest!

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

Don’t Press the Button by Bill Cotter, Let’s Play! by Herve Tullet, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. & Eric Carle. Harold & the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss. I can honestly go on and on about my favorite children’s books! I love to read to my nanny kiddos!

Spotlight Sunday: Jessica

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Tell us about yourself!

Hi, I’m Jessica! I’m 25, born and raised near Seattle, WA. Full-time nanny of two adorable little girls, ice cream lover, workaholic, and blogger at Being Nanny J. I married my best friend at 19 years old and it was hands down the best decision I’ve ever made! Six years later, we’re more in love than ever and he is my biggest supporter. My mom was the preschool director at our church, so I’ve been working with kids for as long as I can remember. I’m pretty sure I started helping in the preschool classes as soon as I grew out of them! When I was old enough, I started babysitting and from there I became a career nanny. When I’m not nannying or blogging, I enjoy sports, going to movies with my husband, and spending time with friends and family.

What led you to becoming a nanny?

My hunt for a summer job happened to coincide with a family friend’s search for help with her infant triplets. I had never worked in a formal nanny position before, but because of my years babysitting and work in the Sunday School at the church we both attended, she offered me the job! I guess you could say that I sort of stumbled into my nanny career, but I’m SO thankful that I did! Over six years later, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.

Kooky, adventurous, thoughtful, dedicated, coffee-addict (the hyphen makes it one word right?).

Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?

I’d say my nannying approach is fairly laid back while still providing structure and boundaries. I’m a BIG fan of play-based learning. I love providing kids with fun and engaging opportunities to learn through experiences! My charges and I enjoy many themed projects and activities at home, as well as going on plenty of outings. I like to encourage little ones to try new things and learn how to accomplish tasks on their own. The confidence it instills in them is invaluable! I try to stick to a fairly consistent daily schedule for the benefits it provides to my young nanny kids. Along with a regular routine, I strive to always be consistent with discipline and consequences. I take my role in shaping future generations very seriously. My goal in discipline is to model and expect kindness, confidence, helpfulness, and just general decency! There are definitely consequences for inappropriate behavior, but plenty of grace and love along with them. I value people and treat them with respect regardless of age, race, gender, religion, etc. I consider it a huge privilege to encourage the little ones in my care to do the same!

What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?

I was blessed by a magical childhood filled with loving and supportive adults and peers. I love being able to provide the same for my nanny kids! My countless fond memories serve as the inspiration for many of our activities, crafts, outings, and even conversations! I genuinely enjoy creating an environment where kids are constantly learning, and having fun doing it. It’s exciting for me to see them taking risks, asking questions, and making observations. I think my favorite part of nannying is witnessing the look of joy and triumph on the face of a child who has just learned something new!

What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?

For me, the most challenging part of being a full-time nanny would be the long hours. Actually, maybe I should rephrase that to say: the lack of personal time caused by the long hours. I really don’t mind spending 11 hour days with my nanny kids. It can definitely be exhausting, but our nice rhythm of activities, projects, errands, down-time, etc. keeps things fun and busy! The difficult part for me is coming home with just enough time to eat dinner and get ready for bed so I have enough energy for the next day. I sometimes feel like I spend all day cooking, tidying up, and doing laundry, but I have a hard time staying on top of those things at my own house! I have to be very intentional with my weekends as I try to balance to-do lists and spending time with friends and family.

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

Be yourself!!! Don’t fudge the truth on your beliefs, philosophies, interests, etc. just to get what seems like a dream job. If you try to make yourself a good fit for a family, you’ll end up frustrated and discouraged. If you stay true to who you are, you’ll find a family who loves you for you! They’ll support your decisions with their kids because they understand and agree with your approach.

What is your go-to nanny outfit?

I live for the days that I can wear jeans with a tank top and cardigan. Maybe a pair of ankle boots or cute sneakers depending on our activities for the day. Lately it’s been HOT so I’m in shorts and a high necked tank top. I try to keep it semi-professional but never at the expense of practicality! I sit on the floor, run around, do messy projects, and almost always have some kind of food smeared on my shirt. If I’m caring for an infant, packing a change of clothes is a must!

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

Most nights, my husband and I eat dinner on the couch while watching a show. Engaging with busy toddlers all day is exhausting and it’s nice to have a chance to vege and enjoy something created for adults! Sometimes we actually do have the energy to sit and chat which is always nice. My favorite way to really unwind is to read a few pages of an old fashioned, physical, book when I get in bed. Right now it’s the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?

I’ve really just started to understand the importance of community and resources to professional nannies. My own blog was born out of a desire to help provide those things for my fellow nannies, mannies, and aupairs. Throughout the process of launching and promoting my blog, I’ve found some other totally awesome resources that have been really encouraging and inspiring! Here are some of my faves:

Blogs and websites (I follow all of these wonderful people on Instagram for daily inspiration!):

Social media:

The gals behind not quite Mary poppins are always looking to grow our bookshelf! What are your favorite children’s books?

Oh man! I have an ever-growing Google Doc of all my favorite children’s books. It’s SO hard to pick! Here are a few that come to mind: Journey & Quest by Aaron Becker, Blackout by John Rocco, Soup Day by Melissa Iwai, Will You Carry Me? by Helene Van Rossum, Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin, any of the Crayon books by Drew Daywalt.

Naptime Reads

Happy September!!

Our favorite atricles:

  • Reading aloud to a kid who won’t sit still
  • What is a Carreer Nanny vs a Professional Nanny? Is the difference important? Which one are you?
  • Have a newborn you’re taking care of? We love this list of scientifically prove ways to engage with newborns!
  • We love this list of practical ways to introduce life tasks to toddlers! The start of a school year is a GREAT time to introduce new routines!
  • Some kids give up easily and some kids push through. It may be a personailty trait, but a lot of studies say it’s a mindset. Huffington Post has a great article on how and why to encourage a growth mindset over a fixed mindset.
  • Here is a great list of activities you can do/use before TV!

 

“When children who are adept at occupying themselves seem bored, they are often on the verge of an idea for a new activity. Sometimes they need more of our attention, or a nap.”

Janet Landsbury

Media spotlight:

Do you have a little who LOVES stories? Mackenzie here, I definitely do. I love to use podcasts with my littles. They can listen and play legos or just listen (and I can get a few deep breaths in before the next read aloud book!). We have found ourselves holding our sides at the Story Pirates! They’re engaging, entertaining, and all the stories are written by kids! Talk about inspiring creativity! I highly reccomend a listen! This one is my current personal favorite:
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Children’s book of the week:

Little Wolf’s First Howling is a cute book about learning to do new things. I love the daddy wolf’s encouragement through the book, and how he supports little wolf’s decision to howl in his own unique way! Cute read!

Family Style Meals: What They Are, Why They’re Amazing for Children, and How a Busy Nanny Can Make Them Happen

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Mealtimes are a major part of a growing child’s day. They serve as anchor points that help a child know what time of day it is, and what is coming next. As nannies, our charges often lead busy, active lives full of sports games, after-school lessons, and play groups, and notion of adults and children sitting down to the same meal regularly – otherwise known as “family style dining” – almost seems like a luxury of a bygone era. However, family style dining exposes children to numerous developmental and social benefits, backed by research, some of which are touched upon throughout this post. Nannies play a powerful role in the family dynamic, and have a unique opportunity to support positive family habits. As you’ll see below, this method of eating creates a positive atmosphere for developing children, respects their natural preferences, and is an incredibly positive habit for nannies to encourage their nanny families to adopt.

There are two main aspects I want to highlight about family style dining:

  • Everyone serves themselves. Family style dining means that rather than serving up pre-plated, portioned-out meals for each person, food is placed in serving plates or bowls in the center of the table, allowing each person to serve themselves. The US Department of Agriculture recommends parents and caregivers allow children to begin serving themselves and choosing their own serving portions (with some adult supervision) around the age of two[1]. The family style model encourages a number of positive traits – independence and decision making, self-regulation (the ability to determine when they are full and stop on their own accord), bonding and communication, and basic table manners (“pass the beans, please!”). Researchers have even found a correlation between dinner table conversations in which children participated and a boost in literacy and overall vocabulary[2].
  • Children and adults eat together. Family style dining also means children and adults sit down to the same meal, and the children eat what the adults eat (and yes, that includes any child that is old enough to be on table foods). This provides an amazing opportunity for adults to model positive mealtimes. You may not think this is important, but in fact, it’s actually vital. When children see adults savor meals and try new dishes, they develop trust, and in my opinion, trust is an absolute game-changer when it comes to getting them to try new things. Imagine if the tables were turned. Would you be comfortable trying a strange new food if someone sat it in front of you and watched you while you ate it? You’d be much more receptive to it if someone sat down and ate it with you, right? I have no doubts that children are the same.

Family style meals need not be stressful. With a little effort, a nanny can help make them part of the routine. Here are my tips for making them work:

  • Be realistic. Focus on one meal – the one you most often eat at home – as the starting point. Or simply choose one or two days a week to make it a priority. My nanny family is constantly on the go, and sometimes I pack a meal for my charges to eat while they’re out and about. However, I work late on Thursday nights, and my charges know that’s the night we slow things down and eat at the dinning room table together, without fail. Incorporate family style dining into the routine in a way that works with the rhythms of your nanny family and their lifestyle. Prioritizing it once or twice a week can still have an impact.
  • Serve one dish your charges like. If the main dish is a tasty new bolognese or curried dal recipe, offer sides you know they already enjoy and are somewhat healthy, like crunchy whole grain bread or mashed up sweet potatoes. If that’s all they eat, at least they’ve left the table with a full belly and watched you eat a healthy dish.
  • Involve the children whenever possible. There are so many ways for a nanny to do this! If you do the grocery run, have them help you hunt for the ingredients and inspect them before they go in the cart. Invite them to help you prepare the food, or at least do it in their presence. Call them over to smell the herbs and spices. Have them help you set the table. Yes, time is always of the essence, but most of us can fit at least one of these things into the day.
  • Relax. We all know how frustrating it can be when a child seems to refuse all foods with any semblance of nutrition – especially a meal you’ve worked hard to prepare – but it’s not a hill worth dying on. Children catch on very quickly when a parent or caregiver is on edge, and you can quickly become locked in a battle of wills over their eating habits. As Karen Le Billon writes in French Kids Eat Everything, “opposition to food cannot persist if there is no opponent.” Whatever you do as a nanny or caregiver, do not engage in mealtime battles. Influence, but do not force[3], and understand that, like you, children are human, and there are many factors that might cause them to resist eating a certain food on a certain day. Let it go and enjoy that delicious food.

Bon appetit!

Kathryn


[1] https://www.healthtalk.umn.edu/2014/04/24/mealtime-with-children

[2] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cd.155/epdf?referrer_access_token=RO3dhdX2ImAXC4CQT9ZUEU4keas67K9QMdWULTWMo8OvBj7XanJkZ7c68O9idUptb-sKKkszS8U-udr45cUe8_xdhYpfgiGmhAC97TCKTD1PjhS2umVUbYi4Id459tVnLn2wPgLuTYdvg3eW7lNXAFGUk4la_ACACEJhoaA1k1xK5rma7gOFlcVryWoLszAxItKxweqQLhHm9g8iR5BZj8-pmHCL1bgbt9idPHDLSQ9cMjeZb20BwkK4KkyvUbp4bHoJ0C5XqA0kk8sZCdkD6Ymm5VURGBBqawpGRxDPJE-QbCAvk-rrugzZiUs00yNuExA1NTfdjQXvjaSfyqoT7dOsbXQeEMBmSdwzObjsWDU%3D

[3] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666315003748

Naptime Reads


This week we decided to reformat our weekly roundup to make it more readable for you! We hope you enjoy the new layout almost as much as we hope you enjoy the weekend!

Our favorite articles:

  • How Gardening helps build happier and healthier kids
  • How being busy kills creativity, and what we can do to build creativity (for us and for children)
  • How to use giggles to encourage cooperation in toddlers!
  • This article on why to sing all day validates why I make up songs to sing to/with kids every day! (Mackenzie)
  • Being a Nanny Does Not ruin being a Mom (and I would say it again and louder for the critics in the back commenting on how Nannying must be the best birth control).

 

“Many of the world’s greatest minds made important discoveries while not doing much at all.” Derek Beres

 

Our favorite video:

We can’t help but giggle at this Despatcio parody by sesame street!

 

Our children’s book of the week:

King Baby by Kate Beaton

Spotlight Sunday: Sarah

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Tell us about yourself!

My name is Sarah. I’m a 23-year-old Norland Nanny, living and working in London. I’ve been the full-time, live-out nanny to my wonderful 2-year-old twins (one boy, one girl) for 18 months, and love every moment of it. I also enjoy volunteering for TAMBA Helping Hands, where I’m a multiples support practitioner and write the creative section in their Multiple Matters Magazine.

What led you to becoming a nanny?

As the eldest of four girls, I have been surrounded by babies all my life; whether they were children in the family, or if I was forcing a little sister to sit in my toy pram. In journeying through school, I found there weren’t any subjects which filled me with passion or enthusiasm. As a teenager, I did variety of summer jobs in child care which I thoroughly enjoyed, so I began to look into alternatives to the traditional university route. This journey took me to Norland College, where I completed my degree in Early Childhood Studies and my Norland diploma. I felt that being a nanny was the only role that would allow me to the freedom to tailor my teaching to the individual needs of the child in my care and ensure I could dedicate myself to the few children in my “squad,” with them as my only priority.

Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.

Nurturing – I completely adore the children I care for and love them for the incredible individuals they are.

Consistent – I’m lovingly yet firmly consistent, and provide them with the security and comfort they need, while helping them deal with the constant surge of new emotions.

Creative – I get such joy out of watching their little faces when they see something laid out which helps them begin to broaden their mind, or think creatively about how something could be used. After preparing their activities, I love sitting and watching their imagination unfold. Creativity doesn’t need to take a lot of time or planning, but can make them more engaged, and therefore independent. I find the fun I’m having becomes reflected in little Miss and Mr.

Organized – I’m a self-confessed control-freak, with a slight compulsion to plan everything…who doesn’t love organized fun, eh?! From meals plans, sleep routines and activity schedules, to spending an excessive amount of time organizing the craft drawers or toys, the organization goes far beyond the children’s benefit and becomes solely for my own pleasure. I’m slightly guilty of micro-managing my nanny family and wherever I go I leave a trail of lists, reminders, and to-do’s behind me.

Dedicated – I don’t think you can be a good nanny without being dedicated. The job is highly demanding, physically and emotionally. It’s such a personal role, as the children are part of your life and they love, admire and rely on you. I refuse to believe the weight of that responsibility and love couldn’t leave anyone at the complete mercy of tiny feet.

Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?

My nanny approach is pretty broad, but working with twins has tailored my philosophy to teaching the importance of individuality and becoming their own people. By having a little lady in your life, you can’t help but become a feminist on her behalf (even more so when you have a little gent too). I try to bridge the gender gap by ensuring that they grow up believing that they have the same opportunities as each other, and supporting their special bond while being their own people. As well as these traits, sleep – apart from being one of my biggest hobbies – is a key professional passion of mine and I love consulting families in sleep training.

What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?

I have the privilege of building one of the most unique and incredible bonds with a child. I get to know every element of their personality to be able to give them everything they need. Free from paper work and procedures, I guide them through childhood with love, confidence, and joy, try to be the role model that they need, preparing them to jump every hurdle that comes their way.

What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?

Watching Little Miss and Mr facing things I know don’t come easily to them, but having to sit back and watch. Instead of rushing over, I must allow them to try and do it for themselves in a challenging social environment while sensing their anxiety.

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

It usually involves lots of mess, cuddles, tears (happy and sad), 18th-birthday-worthy photos, tickles, shouting “mind your fingers,” being used as a climbing frame/pony, squeezing chubby faces, and having hysterical conversations with the twins.

What is your go-to nanny outfit?

My go-to would definitely be active wear – I’m constantly failing the Yummy Mummy look! You can’t beat a comfy pair of leggings, tee, sports bra, and decent pair of trainers that you can easily slip on for the days you’re running late (for me that’s most days).

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

In my spare time I’m a serial napper (an occupational hazard), but otherwise I spend as much of my free time as possible with my nearest and dearest, usually at brunch or with a Netflix box set and a large G&T.

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

At the moment they are Rosie Revere, EngineerAda Twist, Scientist, and Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty, and Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen. Our classic favorites are Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne, A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond and Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.


Disclaimer: Not Quite Mary Poppins obtains legal permission from a parent or guardian though a signed media release form for any photos that display children’s faces. All identifiable photos are posted with express permission.

Naptime Reads – Special Edition

Dear Friends & Fellow Caregivers,


Today we are posting only one article. This week has weighed heavily on our hearts. We have cared for children and love fellow caregivers of all colors, ethniticies, religons, and opinions. Charlottesville’s tragic and hateful events are heartbreaking.

In solidarity with those hurting we are sharing this article on how to talk to little humans about these big issues. Specifically, how white cargivers and parents can help raise empathetic children who stand up for what is right.

May we be Upstanders and not bystanders. And may we raise up little people who raise up others.

In Love,

Kathryn and Mackenzie