Nanny Knows Best

Although Mary Poppins may have saved the day with "a spoon full of sugar", Nanny V employs a more pragmatic approach. No magic, just simple love, attention and consistency. And a healthy dose of humour.

THE BOOK OF ETIQUETTE

Posted by Nanny Knows Best
Nanny Knows Best
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on Tuesday, 21 May 2013
Two of the first words a child is taught to say are “please” and “thank you”. Or at least they should be.

It is the concept of appreciation and respect that are the important factors. Not just meaningless politeness. And even if little Sally or Jeremy may simply parrot language, it is never too early to begin educating a young mind.

The same can be said and done for table manners. The upgrade from high chair to a regular dining table with mum, dad, or Nanny V, may signify freedom from the restraints or their sense of isolation, and it’s an opportunity for a child to embark on another stage of learning about behaviour and boundaries.

For most, their first instinct will be to leap out of the chair, run amok, making a game out of meal time. It can become a nightmare for all involved. A screaming, erratic toddler and a frustrated and helpless adult attempting to bring order is not a pretty picture.

A nanny, who lacks confidence and fears reprimand from an employer if junior is crying, may think the only way to get food into the tummy of a marauding child is by chasing and coaxing to eat. In my experience, the situation only escalates without the desirable outcome leaving no one happy.

Allowing a nanny to perform and teach is what Jo Macartney, from The Lady Recruits, discusses with parents in search of a care provider in their family unit.

“Whether or not this is the style the parents wish to employ, it is necessary to clarify mums and dad’s wishes, ensuring an ideal nanny match and also that everyone is in sync”.

Little Miss C was a notorious wanderer. It took tedious weeks of fidgeting and whining (her loudly, and me as inwardly contained as I could muster on the day), until eventually she realised that leaving the table meant eating was finished.

Thankfully, mum was patient and understood the necessary drama to break a bad habit. Particularly at the end of the day when exhaustion overwhelms and remaining calm is an almighty challenge.

And no matter how advanced a child’s hand/eye co-ordination, be prepared for a mess. Learning sometimes requires experimentation, particularly with a knife and fork, so even if the aftermath resembles a Jackson Pollock masterpiece, rubber gloves with an industrial strength cleaner can remedy all.

Try not to stress. Each child has their own peculiarities and even when the variables are great, consistency and a little firmness will eventually pay dividends. And smiles.



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MY NEW NANNY

Posted by Nanny Knows Best
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on Wednesday, 08 May 2013
As a professional Governess, I feel privileged to be responsible for the welfare, happiness, and education of a child. An impressionable young mind, an inexperienced soul, a developing body is the ultimate opportunity to support parents through the years of challenges and delights.

Selecting someone to become a new member of your family, a person you will trust imperatively, is no ordinary staffing issue.

You consider general criteria, like qualifications and experience, but more than anything, it is a personality fit. I realise this may seem strange, but much like dating, it is an intimate relationship on many levels.

Jo Macartney, one of the Recruitment Consultants at The Lady Recruits, at The Lady Magazine, tells me that many families find it difficult to articulate their ideal match. “I help guide them by asking about routines, their child’s likes/dislikes, and all manner of personal questions to create a clear picture of who they are”. The easy part is age, skills, etc, and I encourage parents to consider candidates who don’t always tick all of the boxes, however, for other reasons would complement their parenting and lifestyle”.

I know this to be true. I have been told by an employer I was chosen not because I had a childcare qualification (I studied Business at University), rather, my philosophy on child development and ability to convey to them I would always have the interest of their child as my highest priority.

I also believe the fundamental ingredients of love, lots of cuddles, intelligence, and a healthy dose of common sense is necessary. And humour. Lots of it.

I once ran out of nappies and thought I could wing it for the drive home. However, Master R’s toilet habits did not coincide with my calculations and I found myself in a busy car park stripping his clothes as it was more than a gentle wee that had exploded from his body.

I managed to fashion an improvised nappy from a small towel I kept in the car and sang songs about “pooey” boys, and “smelly” bottoms to distract him from the discomfort of being buckled in a child seat almost naked. We survived. And sometimes that is all a nanny, and a parent, can hope for.

The variables of working with children are almost infinite so if you think more openly you might just find a special nanny with imagination and creativity with whom your child may have a magical relationship for life.



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