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PLAYTIME

Posted by Nanny Knows Best
Nanny Knows Best
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on Monday, 27 January 2014
Working as a governess over the past 20 years has allowed me to observe parents and how they choose to bring up their children.

Their approaches range from “I am too busy/tired” whereby the children somehow muddle through. Like the time my brain turned to mush watching endless hours of TV with three year-old Miss Luisa. But that’s what mum wanted.

Then there are the “helicopter mothers” micro-managing almost every second of their little darling’s lives. Six year-old Stefan was expected to spend all morning at school, picked up for violin, karate and swimming lessons while his peers lunched, back to school for the afternoon session, chauffeured again and ate dinner on the run to his evening classes. Each night he was either too hyper or a zombie at bed time and expected to repeat this schedule 5 days a week.

These scenarios are examples more about the what-NOT-to-do for sanity and your child’s development. Sadly my attempts to explain as much went unheeded.

Logistics, family dynamics, and whether you have the time and interest, all contribute to how your day pans out and who cares for your children. Having bucket loads of money to hire professional live-in help is not a guarantee for success.

And before I write myself out of a career, I’d like to add that playtime in this balance is fundamental too. It may sound like wasted time and too much freedom but take a moment to consider what children can learn when interacting with their peers in play.

The opportunity to interpret and understand how to not miss-read situations, helps a child begin to consider how to behave. To deal with bullies, to empathise, to have fun, to know when to be calm are all lessons learned in the playground.

If nothing else, the fresh air in young lungs cannot be overrated. Celebrate the bumps and scrapes. Use them to discuss how “next time” maybe a little thought and caution would be a good idea.

And join in. Well sometimes, if you are welcome. You might just discover your inner-child too.



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WHAT A NANNY NEEDS

Posted by Nanny Knows Best
Nanny Knows Best
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on Monday, 28 October 2013
“If a nanny is upset, hug her & tell her how wonderful she is.
If she starts to growl, retreat to a safe distance and throw chocolate at her”

Not so silly. Like your first aid kit, it might come in handy one day. I am not suggesting it is necessary to be your nanny’s bestie, or counsellor. Simply know that she (maybe it’s a he, your manny) sometimes may need breathing space, time out, and a sound-proofed room to roar.

We all get frustrated. Sad and lonely. Distressed. And if your nanny is a true professional she can communicate her feelings without high drama and tell you what she needs. I have spent too many Christmases and Easters, etc, far from my own nearest and dearest, ensuring other families enjoy their merriness and gatherings. It’s my job so I don’t fuss when holidays and celebrations generally require longer hours and a muck-in attitude as that is what I sign up for.

It doesn’t mean I don’t need to feel a little connected to the occasion and those I wish I was with. And gosh, it is such a bonus to be appreciated for my efforts. I do not expect lavishness; however acknowledgement or a simple gesture of gratitude does help.

My dad was diagnosed with a serious illness and although I knew he was in good hands and running to the airport to get on the next plane home would not change a thing, I felt quite fragile from the shock and concern. I told my employer not because I needed nor wanted sympathy, but so she would understand if I wasn’t my usual self.

Context provides an ideal beginning to work through situations that may need a tad more attention. Show a little kindness. Certainly a little understanding. It’s good for the soul, yours and hers.

And keep a well-stocked supply of chocolate. One of those “break glass in case of emergency” should do.


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