Spotlight Sunday: Christina

FullSizeRender

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Christina, also known as Dina to my charges, Axton to my friends, and @nannyoutnumbered on Instagram. I’m 31, I love travelling, cocktails and a project! I am a Norland Nanny, qualified Maternity Nurse with specialist training in Postnatal Depression and Special Needs. I’ve worked as a nanny for 12 years in a variety of positions, including both residential and daily.  I’ve also worked overseas and in Early Years Education. I am a Registered Children’s Nurse and work full-time in Neonatal Intensive Care whilst working part-time as a nanny for multiples. I have a passion for multiples and have cared for twins, triplets, quads and even quints. This interest began when I became a volunteer for TAMBA (Twins and Multiple Births Association), who through the Helping Hands Supporting Families in Crisis service provide short term practical support to families who are in desperate need.  I was lucky enough to be awarded the inaugural ‘Helping Hands Volunteer of the Year’ award in 2016.

What led you to becoming a nanny?

I was born prematurely at 30 weeks gestation, weighing just 900 grams (roughly 2 lbs) and for most of my childhood I was the smallest person everywhere I went due to my prematurity and being growth-restricted. This was until one day my childminder had a new charge, a baby called Timmy.  He was only small and I guess you could say he was my first ever charge! Apparently, my parents tell me all I wanted to do was care for Timmy and look after him. I was only 3 at the time but it became a life-long passion, caring for those who need it most.

Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.

Practical, resourceful, fun-loving, tenacious, supportive.

Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?

I feel that once you have more than two children in the house it’s a case of, “the more the merrier!” I believe in being realistic, not striving for perfection. Children learn best when they are given opportunities to explore and make mistakes in a safe environment. Start with love and you will never go far wrong. I am a big believer in encouraging children to be independent, empowering them and empowering parents. I feel parents are raising children at a very hard time  –  it’s a total minefield to know what to do for the best for your children. With much often conflicting advice on child-care, there’s a real lack of parents following their instincts. I like to ensure that I provide a solid foundation for parents to utilise, to navigate 21st century parenting. I love to provide all children with equal opportunities to enable them to reach their full potential, so if there are any obstacles in the way of this, I will always try to remove them. I can be relentlessly positive when it comes to facilitating change!

What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?

The flexibility! Unlike working in a nursery, if my charges wake up in the morning and want to learn about the sea, we can take a trip to the beach or the aquarium. I also love having the ability to get to know one family really well and building a rapport with them which enables me to support both the children and the parents and to grow with them as a family.  You will also find me making something out of nothing and being resourceful.

What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?

Talking about money! I find it often becomes the elephant in the room.

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

Know your own worth, and make sure you communicate effectively at all times, not just on email or text but by having regular sit downs with your employers to discuss plans and how things are going. Make sure you have time for yourself!  You cannot pour from an empty cup!

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

My days vary massively.  However, my nanny jobs usually run 7am -7pm, depending on the role. Although every day is different, there are consistent themes when you have multiples around. I find the key to success is preparation, preparation, and more preparation! For this reason, I tend to start my day before the children wake to make sure I’m ahead of the game, so to speak. I always try to get out of the house with the children in the morning and the afternoon, with at least one meal a week out and about.  This might be a picnic or lunch at a restaurant. I try to make sure we do a variety of trips, including museums, playdates, and creative classes. I am a big believer in routine with multiples so regular sleep times are important. They also give me the opportunity to do more preparation, including laundry, activity planning, and cooking fresh and nutritious food. In the afternoon, we often do an activity at home, such as craft or imaginative play, followed by the teatime, bathtime, bedtime routine which can be rather hectic but I love to find some time for nappies off and baby massage.

What is your go-to nanny outfit?

Anything that can be wiped clean with a babywipe!

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

I find that winding down from work can be tough, especially if it’s been a busy day. I love  to work my way through a good boxset to help switch off, and a couple of cocktails with friends is also the perfect tonic on a Friday evening.

Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?

Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby’s Brain by Sue Gerhardt, Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, Having a Premature Baby by Tommy’sThe Nursery School by Margaret McMillan.

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

unnamed-10

Peanut: A Storybook for Mighty Preemie Babies by Lindsay Nolan, You Must Bring a Hat by Simon Philip, Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers, Freight Train by Donald Crews.


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.

Spotlight Sunday: Nickey

unnamed-1

Tell us about yourself.

Hey! I’m Nickey. I have been a professional career nanny for the past 13+ years and have had the privilege working with some pretty rad kiddos all over the world! Some of my jobs have included travel nanny adventures and working in high profile positions. I am also the founder of The Nannyhood! The Nannyhood creates community & fosters friendships for nannies in their cities through “Hoods” (meet up groups)! It places value on, resources, & advocates for Nannyhood. After a few difficult nanny jobs and a little burn out, I realized as a nanny that my life was WAY better when I wasn’t doing life alone. No one really understands nannies like other nannies- and community/support is so important.

And just so you can get to know my personality a little better, here are some INCREDIBLY important facts about me (you may want to write these down):

  • Disneyland is my happy place. When I lived in LA I used to spend my days off there journaling and munching on churros.
  • I had a moose who lived in my backyard growing up -and sometimes I’d feed it pancakes.
  • I name random strangers and try to guess their back stories. A lot. It’s a real problem.
  • I have a major taco addiction. I could eat them for every meal.
  • I collect children’s books.
  • I make my bed everyday- even if it’s before I go to sleep.
  • I pretend I’m in a movie on a daily basis.
  • I collect people’s stories and turn them into art. People are the coolest.

Let’s be friends! You can also link up with my adventures and the Nannyhood on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter.

What led you to becoming a nanny?

Honestly, (like many others) I fell into it. I have always adored children and grew up sitting all the time. I was offered a full time nanny gig by an acquaintance when I was 18 years old and I never looked back!

Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.

Fun, adventurous, creative, structured, magical.

Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?

I would say that my nannying approach is a great balance of boundaries/routine and spontaneous fun (and a pinch of magic!). I believe that kids need a structure/routines to help them feel safe (and that loving them doesn’t look like giving into their every whim). While I do plan out most all the week with outings, playdates, crafts, sensory play time, and other fun things- I believe in letting them “be bored” sometimes. I believe that children need that space to learn how to entertain themselves. By not constantly feeling like you have to fill every single moment of their days with enriching activities, outings, camps, etc. they will learn to become more self aware, innovative, and learn to think creatively.

I also believe in instilling love and kindness. I love to teach my charges to use their creativity for kindness. Some of our favorite ways to show kindness in our community is to make art pieces and little gift to leave out around town for strangers to find. It’s so sweet to watch them light up as they make a complete strangers day and put a little more love back into the world.

What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?

The magic. I love that I have the opportunity to keep the magic of childhood alive everyday while I am at work. When I think about how much my childhood impacted me and how often I think back on it, I am always trying to be mindful of how I am treating and what I am teaching the littles in my care. I heard quote once that, “they may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” I want them to remember that I made them feel safe and special. I love to get them using their imaginations and seeing all of the wonderful stories, worlds, and artwork that they create. It’s all magic.

What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?

I would say that there are two things that are most challenging to me. The first would definitely be bringing up any issues or drawing boundaries with my employers. It’s not always easy to chat through a breach of contract, saying no to staying late every night, asking for a raise, or telling them you need to chat about any behavioral issues happening with their kiddo (to name a few). Nannying is not like any other job on the planet, it’s so intimate.

The second would have to be leaving my kiddos when a job wraps up. I don’t know about you, but when I nanny . . . I do it with all of my heart. It’s just the way I am wired. I can’t just be “the help”- I thrive in family. Because of this I have a very big grieving process when a nanny job ends and I transition into not seeing them everyday. I have been blessed that most all of my families allow to/help keep in touch with all of my former charges, but I have moved quite a few times and the distance can be hard.

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

advice.jpg

Make nanny friends! You need to find your tribe. Support and friendship when nannying is vital. No one will fully understand what you are going through at work like other nannies will. Also, I think finding your unicorn family is so important in this profession. If you see red flags in an interview, go with your gut! Nannying can be such an amazing job when you find a family who respects you (and loves you back). It can be very difficult if you are with a family who doesn’t value what you do or disrespects you. Be your own best advocate!

What does a typical day look like for you?

typical-day.jpg

It is a different season for me at the moment. Normally I would be working a full time nanny job, but at the moment I am working a couple of part time nanny gigs while I am working on the launch of The Nannyhood. A typical day for me is working in a local coffee shop on Nannyhood for half the day and nannying for the other part of the day. Sometimes my nanny half day with look like breakfast, outings/classes/playdates, lunch, and nap time. Sometimes it will look like nap time, outings/classes/playdates, dinner, bath time, bedtime routine.

What is your go-to nanny outfit?

Oh, man! Leggings… all day every day! And a graphic tee. Those are my usual go-to’s. I also have been known to rock the occasional over sized cozy sweater, tunic, or beanie. I am all about comfort when I am at work chasing toddlers and rocking babies.

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

I love to journal, do creative writing, painting, talking to strangers….But after an especially demanding day at my nanny job, it’s dinner and Netflix in bed for the win! No shame.

Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?

Finding some online nanny groups for support and camaraderie is super helpful! Here are some of my favorites…

Some of the blogs/articles I love are…

I don’t know about you, but I love me some nanny swag. If you haven’t already hit up these shops, do it!

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

I collect children’s books… so narrowing this down to a few is painful, ha! ANYTHING by Dallas Clayton. I adore him.

unnamed4.jpg

Spotlight Sunday: Christopher

unnamed

Tell us about yourself.

Hello hello!!! My name is Chris Alderton, 28 year old male nanny in England, specialising in twins & new-borns. I am qualified sleep trainer, breastfeeding consultant and PND (postnatal depression) specialist. I currently work with one family and do a lot of childcare consulting for families all over the world. My main nanny job is for twin girls aged 3yrs. Being a male nanny wasn’t easy in the first few years. Lots of people would say to me “I get that men work with older children, but why do you want to work with babies?” This never upset me, it me it just motivated me more to prove that men are just as capable and passionate about working with children under 5 years. I am really big on equality and a huge feminist myself, so I love to make sure the girls know that they can achieve anything they want to be. When I am not being a nanny or consulting, I volunteer. I have worked with Great Ormond Street Hospital as volunteer but now, I volunteer for the Terrence Higgins Trust.

What led you to becoming a nanny?

My mum worked with young children for years so I kind of just fell into it. I studied at college and when I was on my first placement I just know that I had found my calling.

Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.

Pro-active, energetic, creative, loving, kind.

Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?

Positivity is the way forward! Having a positive approach to the way I manage the children and our day always works for me. I believe in setting out clear boundaries from the get go. Teaching respect, kindness and emotional well- being is key. Making children socially and emotionally developed is of the utmost importance in my childcare style. Everything else will follow naturally. Children feel safe, secure and loved with firm expectations. Being firm and consistent is one of the greatest kindness you can show your child, making sure that with everything there is fun and loving.

What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?

Being part of a family team. The family I work for and I now call ourselves “THE TEAM.” It’s so lovely to guide and help a family bring up their little ones. It is incredible to give children the skills and tools they need to grow, explore and develop. Then the best part is getting to watch them achieve and accomplish. It never gets old when you see the huge smile on their faces. Plus all the cuddles are an added bonus of the job. As well as an endless supply of babybel cheese in the fridge!!!!!

What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?

I think most nannies would agree with me when I say it’s the leaving the families. It can be so difficult to leave them when you have spent however long caring for them, but it’s part of the job and they know its coming. Plus change is a good thing for both the children and the nanny. Luckily, I have a good relationship with all my past nanny families. I am actually a godfather to the first twin girls I looked after.

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

The relationship with the parents is the key thing you must get right. If you love children, then you will love whoever you look after. By making sure that you gel with the parents, you work out what kind of nanny work life it will be (shared care or sole charge). Honesty is always a vital make-up of being a nanny. If I have problem at work with something, I bring it up straight away with the parents so that it doesn’t build to something more than it needs to be. It works both ways, so they do the same with me. This means we are always on the same page, and that way everyone stays happy.

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

My weeks change all the time. Once a month I also look after their baby cousin (boy 6 months). Typically I work Mon-Wed 7am to 7pm, then Thursday 8am to 2pm. I arrive and the girls have just woken. We say bye to the parents and have a relaxed first hour. I ask them if they slept the night before and if they went straight to sleep. If they did, they get a button in their button jar as a reward. The goals is 10 buttons for a treat, which tends to be pancakes for breakfast. We play for an hour, which is normally hairdressers and doctors at the same time. Then we watch the weather and change our weather board. The mornings are either filled with playdates, creative activities, learning games, or sometimes they have a class. I love making treasure baskets and doing imaginative play.  The girls have nursery in the afternoons for 3 hours. But on Monday one girl goes alone and then the other Tuesday. This way the get to have a little independence themselves and some one-on-one time with me. I pick them up at 4pm we go home, play a game again, and have supper around 5pm. Then its quiet time, bath at 6pm, then one parent will come home to do bedtime for 7pm. On Thursday the mum and I share care, so I arrive later and we all have breakfast together. Then we spend the mooring doing something all together. After that I take the girls to nursery and leave at 2pm. This is great because it means the care the girls receive is always consistent. We are constantly on the same page. I gave up doing 5 days a few years ago so I could focus on other things.

What is your go-to nanny outfit?

unnamed-5

I love clothes and shop way too much. It can vary from tartan trousers to jeans, but always something oversized and floaty on top in all the patterns possible. When in doubt, it’s double denim!

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

I have a busy social life seeing friends and hanging out with my fiancé. Generally on my long nanny days I go home to binge watch House of Cards and Orange is the New Black with a glass of red wine. I also listen to music and podcasts. Woman’s Hour and Stuff You Should Know are my favourite podcasts at the moment.

Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?

For childcare books I love anything by Tracey Hogg. Plus the Millponds Sleep Clinic have a fabulous book called Teach Your Child to Sleep. It’s a must-have in my eyes for any parent. The website I get regular articles from the best is Aha! Parenting. It’s brilliant for parents and nannies.

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

unnamed-3

My Granny Went to Market by Stella Blackstone is a great book for learning to count and the illustrations are just beautiful. What’s a Penguin to Think When He Wakes Up Pink! by Lynne Rickards is a lovely book that teaching children that it’s ok to not fit in with the crowd and be different. This is such an important lesson to learn. The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord is just a classic that I had when I was little, so I just love it for that.

 

Spotlight Sunday: McKenzie

unnamed-6

Tell us about yourself!

Hi! I’m McKenzie. I’m 24 and have been a nanny for about 7 years, with a break at a childcare center right in the middle. I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest my entire life, and in Portland, Oregon for the last 7 years. When I’m not working I’m usually reading, exploring new coffee shops, and taking pictures. I love politics, cities, traveling, coffee, and the color black. I’m currently the full time nanny (and have been for 2.5 years!) to 3.5 year old twin boys and loving (just about) every minute with them!

What led you to becoming a nanny?

I’ve been involved in childcare for as long as I can remember. I worked in the nurseries at church, I started babysitting at the age of 11 and consistently throughout high school, started working at a childcare center as soon as I turned 16, and have just always been around kids. My family was a foster family and I grew up knowing how important it is to help people (and especially kids) whenever possible. Living in a small town that didn’t really have any nannies, I always sort of idolized the idea of moving to a city and becoming one. I always dreamed of all the different places you could explore with the children and experiences you could give them and the way you sort of become like family, and I just though it seemed like the best job ever. And I was right.

Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.

Adventurous. Kind. Practical. Weird. Creative.

Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?

One of my goals is to give the children in my care the very best childhood I possibly can. But while I want them to have the most amazing memories and adventures, I also want to equip them with the tools they’ll need to succeed as they grow and develop. In my opinion, fostering independence in children is so important! Teaching them that they are able to play on their own, solve problems on their own, and think on their own is huge! Showing them techniques to use and then stepping back and letting them start to figure things out on their own (and of course, stepping in when help is needed) is so beneficial and something they’ll be able to use for life. It’s not always the easiest thing to teach, but I think it’s worth it.

What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?

Oh my gosh, all of it! Okay, maybe not all, but definitely most. The best part for me is just the everyday stuff. The snuggles, exploring the city, hearing their tiny voices in the back seat singing along to your favorite songs, the blanket forts, the giggles, the moment when something you’ve been trying to teach them really clicks, the adventures, the way that they become your little best friends, the dance parties, the jokes, everything.

What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?

Of course, the leaving. Leaving a family is the absolute hardest thing and I can’t even begin to imagine leaving my current little buddies. But besides that, I think the most challenging thing is the lack of co-workers. It’s really just you and the kids, all day every day. No one to vent to, or ask for opinions, or laugh with about something funny the kids did. But thank God for playdates! Nanny friends are life savers.
Wait, wait, wait no… The why stage. The most challenging part of nannying is the why stage. Final answer.

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

Communication is crucial. Talk to the parents about their parenting approach so that you are on the same page, and then always keep the line of communication open in case anything changes. A major part of the job is working in partnership with the parents so that the children always have consistency from whoever is with them that day. Also – goals and organization. It’s easy to get swept up in the fun and the games, which is definitely important. But it’s also important to remember that your job is to help the children learn and grow. Set goals and be organized enough to follow through with them. Have a schedule and plan out your weeks in advance. You don’t always have to follow the schedule, and you should be prepared for the schedule to go out the window some days, but it’s good to at least have an idea of what you want to accomplish that week!

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

When I arrive in the morning I usually play with the boys, ask them about their night, and if there’s anything specific they want to try to fit into the day. Then we clean up the playroom, pack a snack and head out on an outing (park, coffee shop, music hour, play date, zoo, museum, etc). Once we get back I make us all lunch, they each pick out a book for us to read, and then they go down for a nap. While they’re napping I do dishes, laundry, sweep, organize, and either work on the meal plan, the schedule or the afternoons activity. In the afternoon we try to fit in something fun like an art project, a learning activity, or free/imaginative play.

What is your go-to nanny outfit?

Jeans, t-shirt and sneakers. But really… maybe the best part of being a nanny is getting to wear your normal clothes.

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

I’d like to say that I go to the gym to wind down, but in reality that actually happens maybe once or twice a week. My favorite way to wind down lately is listening to podcasts! My commute just got a bit longer after a move, but I actually find it relaxing to have the extra time in the car with just me and the podcasts.

Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?

51y6MGWdkeL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

Oh, I JUST finished reading The Whole Brain Child by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson. It’s amazing and so helpful! And of course Pinterest. What kind of nanny would I be if I didn’t give a little credit to Pinterest? I’ve also found so much support just by finding other nannies on Instagram and Facebook. It’s such a fun community and I’ve met some amazing people!

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

I mean, my #1 favorite children book of all time is Silly Sally by Audrey Wood. I read that all the time as a kid (and sometimes still read it to my best friends……). Other favorites are The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson, Dragon Was Terrible by Kelly DiPucchio, If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen, Press Here by Herve Tullet, and Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. Gotta throw in the legend!

Spotlight Sunday: Brianna

IMG_4935

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Brianna and I am 25. I am a Christian, teacher, and have been nanning for almost 5 years. I also run an online toy store The Creative Toy ShopAs a nanny I fell in love with the toys that we were sent as gift via Instagram and decided to start my own store.

(Note: You can follow Brianna on Instagram at @notesfromahomeeducator and her shop at @thecreativetoyshop).

Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?

I am a big believer in play-based learning and following a child’s interest. I now homeschool my 7 year old charge, who is a complete Toy Story addict, and also happens to be non-verbal and have Down Syndrome. My time with the boys has showed me the importance of being flexible. If a planned or spontaneous learning activity isn’t working – stop, make a change, or try something new. I plan a lot of sensory activities, play-based learning activities and always have space for interest-led activities.

What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?

No two days are ever the same. Watching the children grow and learn new concepts and develop new skills is special each and every time. I love that we are privileged enough to guide children as they explore the world around them.  

What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?

At times the long hours can be difficult, but a majority of the time Sunday naps come to the rescue and I am ready for a new week.

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

Be willing to learn. I love to expand my skill set and have a serious addiction to buying books about teaching, raising children, and different approaches to learning.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I start at 8:30 – dress the boys and finish breakfast. Some days we have music lessons, swimming lessons, or Steiner playgroup. If it is a home day we have a morning learning session. B7 completes his school work and we do at least 1 art activity. This is also the time when I set up some our play based-learning activities. I then prepare lunch while the boys have free play. After lunch and when the baby is asleep, we have another school session. In this time we do activities that would take more time or concentration without bubba running around. The boys then have free play while the I clean up. I then bathe the boys before cooking dinner. The boys the eat dinner and I head home around 7pm.

What is your go-to nanny outfit?

Jeans and a t-shirt. Plus my favourite slippers all winter.

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

Nextflix!!! I like to have dinner while watching one of my favorite shows before starting the work for my online store and packing orders.

Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?

Instagram has been one of my biggest sources of inspiration. There is a fantastic play based learning community there who share ideas for activities or play set ups.

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

I spend way too much money on children’s books, but one of my favorites is In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek. And who doesn’t love Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek. It was the first book B7 learned to read and sign.

Spotlight Sunday: Britney

Britney

Tell us about yourself!

I am a 32 year old married California native and Colorado transplant. I have a BA in Child Development and spent several years teaching in infant and preschool centers. I’ve been nannying professionally for about 8 years, with 6 of those being nanny share years. I specialize in infant and toddler nanny shares. I am also the Community Manager for Pareday , which is a nanny and family matching service. You can link up with me on social media: Facebook page, TwitterPinterest and Instagram.

unnamed

What led you to becoming a nanny?

I first became a nanny when I couldn’t find a teaching position. My first position lasted a month.  The MomBoss’s home office made the job challenging, and ultimately, she just wasn’t ready for her little one to be cared for by anyone else. I went on to teach in an infant center, and a few years later found myself in another nanny position. Once I began nannying full-time, I saw that it was it’s own career, and held so many wonderful benefits of it’s own, that I just can’t see myself going back to a classroom.

Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.

Montessori. Thrifty. Active. Knowledgeable. Professional.

Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?

My childcare philosophy can be best summed up as such: I believe children thrive in an environment that is both loving and predictable in nature. Routines and boundaries are crucial to ensure a child feels safe and secure in their world. Furthermore, it is my personal belief that children need a balance between structured play time and unstructured exploration time. I spend a portion of each day simply sitting on the floor, observing the children play, being present to answer questions or lend help, but not actively engaging them. This is their time to develop new ways to play with an old toy, to self-entertain, to let their imaginations run wild. I allow my children the freedom to navigate the park, the backyard, the playroom independently, with me nearby for safety and assistance. There is a structured portion of our day, as well. A morning outing at gymnastics, library storytime, etc; or if we’re home, we do a circle time, we sit at the little table for “work” time activities, and of course lots of crafts! Life is about balance. My kids love vegetables, but they also get the occasional treat. Balance!

What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?

Honestly, I love watching the children grow and develop. They grow so quickly, so getting to enjoy this sweet part of their young life is such an honor.

What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?

The most challenging part of nannying is having to bring up and discuss issues with your bosses. Anything from needing a raise, to schedule conflicts, or behavioral issues with the kids. Nannying is so intimate and personal of a work relationship, and it can be a challenge to separate the friend you have in your boss from them as your employer.

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

Stand up for yourself! Do not be afraid to ask for the things that would make your job easier or better. You’ll never get the things you don’t ask for.

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

7- 8 am: arrive at work
Feed or clean up breakfast
9ish: we’re out the door to an am activity: gymnastics, music, library, or a playdate
11:30: we return home for lunch
1-3: naptime
4: snack; outside play time or inside table time
5-6ish: go home!

What is your go-to nanny outfit?

Jeans and a sweater or T Shirt; although today I’m in a dress and leggings. I wear jeans to work, because they are thick and hardy for whatever the day may bring: baby vomit, boogers, even dog poop recently. Since I am a thrift store junkie, I don’t mind wearing semi-nice things to work, since I paid only a few bucks, haha.

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

16386912_1732560053631302_1615252096798176149_n

I go home to my husband, dog, and cat. Enjoy dinner, watch a show, and usually take the dog on an evening walk. If the day is exceptionally long or challenging, I stop at the store for an evening treat like ice cream or cookies. Generally, I do not buy these and therefore don’t have any at home on hand.

Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?

Parenting with Love and Logic by Forster Cline & Jim Fay! It’s a quick read and you can follow them on social media for helpful tidbits on a daily basis. It is just a really logical way to engage your children, using natural consequences. It is my go-to recommendation for parents.

51l88-QxVKL._SX348_BO1,204,203,200_

Love and Logic’s Website resources can be found here.

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

I love rhyming books, since they are most enjoyable for toddlers and their language development. So Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae, Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy E. Shaw, Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle (and the follow-up books), or anything by Sandra Boynton are staples in all of my nanny homes.

Spotlight Sunday: Jo

unnamed-4

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?

unnamed-9

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.