Tell us about yourself.
I’ve been looking after children in one way or another for almost 16 years. I started out with babysitting jobs for local families, then worked my way through univeristy at the local nursery and summer camps in the USA. After I finished uni I went on to train at Norland College. Over the past 9 years since leaving I’ve worked around the world, and loved every minute of it. I took a couple of years out of being a nanny to work for Disney Cruise Line as a performer in the Youth Activities department, which was literally a dream come true. I am a HUGE Disney fan and spend a lot of my free time doing something Disney related (if I’m not doing a ballet or tap class). For the past 3 ½ years I have been working for an amazing family in London, and hopefully will be with them for many years to come.
[Note: Anita blogs some fantastic arts and crafts ideas over at My Baba. Check out her column here].
What led you to becoming a nanny?
Part of me has always wanted to work with children, but it was during University that some people at my church suggested that I go to Norland and train to be a Nanny. I interviewed during my 2nd year and started after I got my degree.
Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.
Always working to be better.
Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?
I have two: Every child is different. There is no one size fits all to looking after children, even within the same family. Every child should be treated as an individual and I try to change my approach for each of them, what works for one wont necessarily work for another. My other philosophy is actually the motto for Norland – “Love Never Faileth.”
What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?
Being with my charges, I can’t wait for them to come home from school. We are always getting up to something, be it arts and crafts/ playing/ going on mini adventures.
What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?
The cooking! I’m actually a really good cook and my charges (thankfully) are great eaters. But still, I find it the most challenging, especially the cleaning up.
What advice would you give to someone just beginning his or her nannying career?
Listen to what your employers want, but don’t be afraid to stand up for things you believe in. Also, don’t let them take advantage of you. You are there to look after their children and you can’t do that if you have cleaning a house and running errands all day long.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
Mine is slightly weird as I do 24hr care from Monday 1pm until Friday 1pm. Generally, I help get the children up at 7 and have breakfast waiting for 7:30, which the whole family have together. Then I wave the older 2 children off to school and get my youngest charge ready for the day. We spend the morning together, and over the next few months we will start to go out to play groups or museums. During his afternoon naps I start preparing dinner. By around 4pm my oldest 2 have gotten back from school and we start homework together. Then until dinner at 6 we play or do some sort of craft/activity. After that we are into the bedtime routine of bath, story and bed by 7:30. After they are in bed I will then go and clean up dinner and do the laundry.
What is your go-to nanny outfit?
Jeans and a rugby jumper for colder weather or jeans and a t-shirt for summer.
How do you wind down after a long day on the job?
Reading, anything Disney related, cross stitching and more recently I have started to knit.
Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?
Mybaba.com is a wonderful place to find recipes, crafts and activities and advice. Also, French Children Don’t Throw Food by Pamela Druckerman and How To Crack An Egg with One Hand by Francesca Beauman.
The gals behind Not Quite Mary Poppins are always looking to grow our bookshelves. What are your favorite children’s books?
Gosh I have sooooooo many.
The Malory Towers Series & The Famous Five by Enid Blyton. The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy. The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Thomplison. The Enormous Crocodile & George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl. The Horrible Histories Series by Terry Deary. Goosebumps by R. L. Stein. The Grimms Complete Fairy Tales by the Grimms Brothers. Aesop’s Fables. Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? by Martin Waddell. No Matter What by Debi Gliori. My Naughty Little Sister by Dorothy Edwards. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.