Spotlight Sunday: Brianna

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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

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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

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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.

 

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.

Spotlight Sunday: Danny

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Tell us about yourself!

I’ve been a professional nanny for thirteen years. Although I’ve always known that I wanted to be a nanny, I also wanted to gain experience working with children in many different capacities to help me foster the highest quality-learning environment for the children in my care. I started my journey in childcare working mostly with children severely impacted with Autism and other special needs. Growing up with a twin sister and younger brother with special needs, it was a world I’ve always been a part of and truly don’t ever want to leave. Since graduating high school in 2005, I’ve received a degree in Early Elementary Education as well as Early Childhood and Family Studies with a focus on child development and Autism. All while nannying at least part-time, I have also worked as an Applied Behavior Analyst Therapist for children on the Autism spectrum, within both self-contained and inclusive classrooms, and doing long term respite care. Although I think it was important for me to gain experience in these capacities, I always enjoyed the work that I was doing as a nanny the most. I also have a strong passion for traveling and photography. In the last three years I’ve mainly been working as a travel nanny for High Profile families, which enables me to combine my passion for travel, working with children and photography! When I’m not working you can find me entertaining my Boarder Collie and Pit Mix, hiking through a forest, walking along a beach or hitting the road on another adventure!

What led you to becoming a nanny?

I grew up with a sister ten years older than my twin and myself, who had her first baby when I was eight and another every two years after that until I was sixteen. I was surrounded by babies most of my childhood and often cared for them. I knew the moment my nephew was placed in my arms that caring for babies in some capacity was exactly what I was meant to do in this world. Whenever I had a baby in my arms, I felt calm and grounded no matter what was going on around me. The first moment I had a conscious thought that being a nanny was what I wanted to do was when I was eleven and thought that I wanted to be Angelina Jolie’s nanny. She didn’t have any kids at the time, but I sure did have myself a crush. 

Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.

Adventurous, intuitive, passionate, warm, nurturing.

Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?

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After spending some time in Reggio Emilia, Italy studying the Reggio Approach to Education, I noticed a great shift happen in my childcare philosophy. The Reggio approach implements beliefs that can be applied within a classroom setting, but also the home as well and any other environment children embody. From my studies, I quickly shifted to the philosophy that children are capable of constructing their own learning, that they form an understanding of themselves and environment around them based on their social interactions, learn from their environment and that as adults and in my case, their nanny, it’s my job to observe them, listen to what they question and talk about, and then provide opportunities for them to further develop their interests. Children learn through a variety of mediums in many different ways. As a nanny, I work as an extended parent in helping children find and fuel those mediums. I also put a great deal of focus on social and emotional development supported with positive reinforcement.

What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?

The thing that I enjoy most about being a nanny is that I get to see the world through the unfiltered lens of a child. Children have a very pure and simple way of looking at things and experiencing the world around them. When I’m able to set aside my own life experiences and see the world from their view, everything gets so much more bright and beautiful. As a travel nanny, I find experiencing different cultures, most of them new to me, with children to be the most rewarding.

What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?

The most difficult part of being a nanny is always when it comes time to say goodbye and move on. As a nanny, I fully participate in helping to raise and shape the kids that I work with. I grow and learn alongside of them while often loving them with a great deal of my heart. Most often, I work with families on a long-term basis and continue to maintain relationships after parting ways with a family and although this helps, it is still enough of a shift in the relationship that grief is present. One of my most challenging experiences as a nanny was when I had to abruptly leave a position for reasons I’m legally unable to speak about. After working with this family and caring for their children, most often around the clock while traveling two-three weeks a month for a year, I resigned on short notice and said goodbye to the children for what I believed to be forever. The moments I spent rocking them to sleep my last evening was one of the hardest moments I’ve had as a nanny thus far.

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

The most important piece of advice that I would give a new nanny beginning their career is to always follow their heart. When we are following our heart, we are most passionate about life and that passion fuels our ability to do the best job possible. For me, this means that although being a nanny is my passion, that passion can fluctuate based on how happy I am with the families I choose to work with. When someone buys a car they shop around to find the best fit, or when choosing a doctor or therapist many people tend to find the ones that feel like the best match for who they are and where they are in life. I find this process to be the same when interviewing with nanny families. Families get to choose their nanny just as much as nannies get to choose their families and not all fits are the perfect match. Over the years I’ve found that when I don’t necessarily fit with a family, it doesn’t mean that either one of us is bad or doing something wrong, it just means we are not the best possible fit and I prefer to move on and find the family that is, allowing me to do the best job I’m capable of.

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

Honestly, I don’t have a typical day at work! Every day is different, especially while we are traveling, which I love. What I do spend a lot of time doing is packing for trips, unpacking from trip, boarding flights all in one piece, creating educational activities and collecting information based on whatever part of the world we are traveling to, monitoring school work, climbing trees, exploring new places and cultures, enforcing self-care (for both me and my nanny kids) and helping to foster what is the most important life lesson in my opinion, self-love.

What is your go-to nanny outfit?

My go-to nanny outfit is a pair of denim or khaki pants with a button down or polo! As a manny, I always try to dress to impress.  

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

My go to wind down activity after a long day on the job is a nice long walk with my dogs. I love walking them in the middle of nowhere under the stars or along the water. Then I tend to follow that up with a nice bath or shower in the candlelight with some relaxing tunes on. I’ve always had a thing for candles and the lighting they provide, so I tend to spend a lot of my off time guided by the candlelight.

Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?

My go to nanny resources/website is always International Nanny Association!

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

What Do You Do With an Idea? By Kobi Yamada; Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day By Judith Viorst; My Princess Boy By Cheryl Kilodavis; Meet Polkadot By Talcott Broadhead; And Tango Makes Three By Justin Richardson & Peter Parnell; Good Dog Carl By Alexandra Day


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: Kez

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Tell us about yourself!

HEY. I’m Keziah Warne, but Kez to most. I am 23 years old and live in London, England. I live with my boyfriend of 3 years and younger sister in a small village called Barnes in London. I studied at Norland College in Bath and then moved to London for the job of my dreams. I currently care for two adorable children, a Boy (6) and a Girl (4) who keep me extremely busy.  

[Note: Kez has a fantastic instagram account you can follow here]

What led you to becoming a nanny?

This is a question I regularly ask myself. When i was little, I was OBSESSED with babies. I was 3 when my younger sister was born and I was immediately besotted. I used my dolly and pretended to copy my mum (including breastfeeding) and from then on I got the childcare ‘bug’. I struggled to decide what to do at school when it came to my GCSEs and A-Level, I wanted to keep my options open but couldn’t quite settle on the direction I wanted to go. I knew i wanted to care for children but there are so many different ways to go. That’s when my mum sat me down and showed me the Norland College Prospectus. I don’t know whether is was the old school approach to childcare, the incredible list of classes/lectures, or the fetching brown uniform, but that’s when I knew I wanted to be a nanny.

Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.

Creative, fair, dependable, patient, enthusiastic.

Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?

I like to let children be children. I am definitely not a helicopter nanny. I like to give children the space, resources, and time they need to accomplish anything they set their mind too. I am a firm believer that kindness is free, and with that I like to teach the children in my care to be kind and have courage. We’ve all been there – we reallllllllly don’t want to be kind to someone who has been mean to us and it takes a lot of courage to be kind in return, be the bigger person. In regards to my job, I like to ensure the parent(s) know we are working together, I support them and that ultimately I want to make their lives easier.

What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?

I really enjoy my life as a nanny, and for so many reasons. Being able to watch a child hit their milestones, smile, laugh, learn, and grow daily is amazing. It’s unlike so many other jobs, it’s personal and integrated with a family, you are a key part of someones family dynamic and I really like that. To feel wanted and appreciated every day is so satisfying and really makes you appreciate how lucky you are, to be involved in shaping a child’s life.

What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?

Saying goodbye. I knew that with a job like this, being so involved, that saying goodbye would be a whole whirlwind of emotions and challenges. I recently handed in my notice for my current job and the prospect of leaving is heartbreaking. I’ve been with them for 3 years and I’ve seen more of those kids than I have my boyfriend or family, so it’s a big deal. Although I’m certain that this is the right decision for me and my future, it’s hard, imagining them being cared for by someone else – Will they be better than me? Will the kids miss me? Remember me? Thoughts like that fill my mind daily. I’m going miss my youngest charge learning to read and milestones like that stop me in my tracks regularly.

Learning from my own experience, I have found that now I’ve accepted a new job, I am becoming more and more excited about my new venture and less sad about leaving as I know its right. One thing is for sure, saying goodbye will never be an easy thing, you just learn to deal with it better as it happens. 

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

Don’t rush into a finding a job. Finding a nanny job is a completely different ball game to finding any other type of job. My one piece of advice is don’t put all your eggs in one basket until you are sure they are the perfect fit for you and you are the perfect fit for them. Interview for multiple families, see whats out there and sleep on it.

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

My schedule and routine changes daily as does most nannies – children are very unpredictable. I start at 7.30am, give the kids breakfast and get them dressed – B6 for School and G4 for nursery. We all hop in the car and I drop them at school and nursery (8.20am-3.30pm and 9am-12pm). I head home, plan and set up different activities, arrange play dates, pick up groceries, tidy the kids areas and do some batch cooking. Then I pick the kids up, head off to after school clubs and/or play dates, get home for dinner and activities and then it’s bath and bed. All of this completely depends on how the kids are feeling and what we’ve got planned though.

What is your go-to nanny outfit?

unnamed-3I LOVE CLOTHES. I have a very unhealthy relationship with ASOS and Topshop at the moment. When I first started nannyingIi had two sides to my wardrobe – jeans, t-shirts, jumpers, and trainers, and then clothes I would only wear at weekends. But as the years have past I’ve decided to wear what I want, and as long as its appropriate for me to run around, get messy and generally have fun in, thats all that matters. Heels are always a no for me. I’m really into Dungaree dresses, striped tops and converses/vans at the moment.

 

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

After a long day on the job I like to go home, eat some yummy food cooked by my boyfriend, snuggle on the sofa under my fluffy blanket, watch a good TV series (Grey’s Anatomy is LIFE) and have a can of Coke (not a wine girl).

Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?

There are so many different resources available to nannies. I regularly use Twinkl, Pinterest, and Instagram but do love a good book. I really enjoyed reading How To Grow a Baby and Push it Out By Clemmie Hooper. It gave a really easy account of pregnancy and childbirth that both mother and caregivers can read and learn from. For me as a nanny, it’s always great to be informed about what our employers may be facing – it gives a timeline and what to expect and when. Instagram mums are a big deal at the moment and many of them are supporting small brands that produce great products for children. Imagination Tree is a great website as well, filled with activities.

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

The Book With No Pictures by B. J. Novak is a firm favourite in our house, and MY favourite book is Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favili and Francesca Cavallo – I cannot put it in words how beautiful it is.  

 

Spotlight Sunday: Martha

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Tell us about yourself!

Hi! My name is Martha Reddick and I’m a Chicago based nanny and teaching artist. Born and raised in Knoxville, TN, I graduated from the University of Tennessee with my Masters in Secondary English Education. I then landed in Chicago and began to nanny almost immediately. I also love working with kids through theater and have worked with a Chicago based children’s theater, Compass Creative Dramatics, for four years. In my free time (I know, what free time…we’re nannies) I enjoy reading, performing with my sketch group or in a play, and listening to podcasts! My love of nannying and podcasts led me to create my own nanny resource podcast called Chronicles of Nannya!

What led you to becoming a nanny?

I have always been an educator at heart. My mom is a wonderful second grade teacher and, as a middle schooler, I would visit her class and enjoyed working with her kids so much! I started babysitting around that same time. I then got my teaching certificate in secondary education but knew that I couldn’t teach full time and pursue my passion for acting at the same time. It wasn’t until I moved to Chicago, however, that I realized that nannying was even an option as a career. When I first moved to Chicago, I took on 4 different jobs (part time nanny, waitress, receptionist and tutor) to help make ends meet but it was quickly apparent to me that my heart was only in the jobs where I got to work with kids. I then built a patchwork schedule of families to nanny which allowed me to quit my other jobs and I’ve never looked back! I now nanny full time and tutor some evenings. When I am nannying, I feel at home. I can’t wait to go to work and see what adventures we can find that day!

Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.

Kind, engaged, silly, intuitive, and curious.

Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?

I am a HUGE believer in fostering autonomy. Of course, this depends on the age of the child, but I consistently try to find ways to encourage my kids to speak up for themselves and learn to do tasks on their own. When we’re walking to the park or school or any place we’ve visited frequently, I ask the kids to tell me which direction we should turn. If we get a little lost, that’s part of the adventure! I also use a lot of “I do, we do, you do”. So if we’re learning to put on our own shoes or write letters or find a book at the library, I will do it for them a few times, talking through the steps. Then I will encourage them to do it with me only helping when I can see them get a little stuck. Finally, I take a step back and let them do it all by themselves! I also constantly offer choices to my kiddos! From do you want a red or blue cup to which bathroom in the house they want to use, I try to let them make choices as much as possible!

What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?

The laughter. I find my abs hurt at the end of the day sometimes. And that’s not only because I need to workout more! My kids (all of them) are so smart and funny and kindhearted! They genuinely make my laugh throughout the day. I also love that everyday is different. There’s no autopilot in nannying and I love that!

What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?

I struggle with the “getting to know you” phase with a new family. Everyone is getting used to one another and you have no idea what “normal” looks like for a kid. You’re figuring out how to tailor your nannying style to meet the kids where they are. I come home more drained from those few weeks than any other job. But I do love the moment when it first “clicks” with a new child. When you make them belly laugh for the first time or when they grab a book and crawl into your lap or they get scared and run to you for comfort.

What is your advice to someone just beginning his or her nanny career?

Know your worth. Talk to other nannies. Speak up in a respectful way when your gut tells you something isn’t right. I see so many nannies put up with things they shouldn’t because they think it’s part of the job. If it feels wrong or like you’re being taken advantage of, pay attention to that feeling. Also, you should never feel stuck in your job. We love the kids and so we stay longer than we should sometimes. But you are worth being treated fairly and with respect. Always.

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

I arrive at the house around 10am and do any lunch prep, cleaning or laundry that is easier without kids running around. Then I go pick up my B3 from preschool and we come home and eat lunch. Then we do some quiet time. He’s transitioned out of naps, but we still do some quiet play or read books or watch one TV show. Then it’s playtime! We try to get outside as often as possible but we also go to the library or play in the basement until 3:15 when we pick up B5! I bring both boys home or take them to an afternoon activity with a snack in hand! Their dad arrives home around 5pm and we do 15-30 minutes of transition time and then I head home! My kiddos are super social so I try to schedule as many playdates as we can!

What is your go-to nanny outfit?

Dresses WITH POCKETS and leggings. Last year for summer I bought 5 sun dresses with pockets from Target, 5 pairs of bike shorts to go underneath and those were my “uniform” for the summer. In the winter, I do mostly dresses with leggings. I also rock tunics and leggings sometimes. Leggings with pockets are becoming more prevalent and that is a game changer for me!

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

Don’t you mean wine down? I sometimes have a glass of wine with dinner and watch a fun show on Netflix. I also meet up with other nannies to record episodes of Chronicles of Nannya episodes. You wouldn’t think that talking more about nannying would be a good way to wind down, but it is! I also do theater, so sometimes going to a rehearsal where I can totally become immersed in another world is helpful to put an end to a long day. Honestly though, I usually fall asleep by 9pm after a long day.

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Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?

I would recommend my podcast, Chronicles of Nannya as an awesome resource! My guests are such wonderful nannies and have great ideas to share! We tackle so many aspects of nannying and I pour a lot of work into making it a useful resource for the nanny community! I also take suggestions for topics, so if you’re ever struggling with something that has to do with nannying, please reach out by emailing chroniclesofnannya@gmail.com! I would love to do an episode about any subject a nanny wants more help with!

I also highly recommend the Love & Logic books by Jim Fay. I have read the Teaching with Love and Logic book many times and use those tools often as a nanny!

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

I love The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch and Cinder Edna by Ellen Jackson. For older kids, I also love A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, Wonder by Raquel J. Palacio, and Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. I also adore reading Harry Potter with kids who are old enough! But my favorite place to take my kids is the library and we read at least one new book a week!


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.