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Posted by Nanny Knows Best
Nanny Knows Best
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on Monday, 19 August 2013
“Can you please put your toys away so we can go to the playground”?

I must have repeated myself a dozen times. I explained why. I offered an incentive. I suggested how to start. And still no progress.

Ultimately, I heard “because I said so” blurt out of my mouth. Oh nooooooo! How did it come to this?

Maria von Trapp could sing her way through any situation. Mary Poppins had a little magic at her disposal. Some days, reality can just be so GRRRRRRR.

Exasperated is probably the best definition and reason for such an outburst. I took a deep breath, and then another half dozen more, and started afresh.

Although it may feel like a battle some days, what you want is a win/win outcome. The ideal is smiling faces all round (even if momentary or glaringly artificial), but if it’s a lesson learned or a truce, your nanny world will remain in balance.

One thing I constantly reinforce to the children I care for is that they can ask me anything. I will explain and if they still don’t understand, I will try to explain again. We can discuss, negotiate, make deals, like in the real adult world. However, my decision is final.

Aim for co-operation. Assert the authority the parents have invested in you. Engage. Make it fun. If appropriate, turn it into a game. Use anything within reason in your nanny bag of tricks to get an outcome. Because an outcome is essential.

If you walk away without resolving the situation it’s a suggestion or even an opportunity for the child to believe that there are no consequences, no responsibility, or that someone else is at hand to clean up any situation they don’t want to deal with.

And most times life, like packing away toys, is not a quick fix.

I asked Mr M if he was tired – YES. If he was bored – YES. If he was hungry – YES. If he just didn’t want to tidy up – YES. If he had to choose one reason – WELL, MY BACK HURTS. (Where on earth did he hear that one?)

So we did some stretching. That done, I started with a red car and he continued with the other colours. And so the game continued until order was restored. Later while we were digging in the sandpit, Mr M told me it was a good idea we did the exercises, “BECAUSE MY BACK FEELS LIKE I AM YOUNG AGAIN”. He is four.

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