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Posted by Nanny Knows Best
Nanny Knows Best
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on Monday, 31 March 2014
Outings are fun. Suspend routine and monotony and get out the front door. Enjoy a sunny day, family time, eat out.

“Easily said”, I hear you sigh. I appreciate that often the reality may feel more like an afternoon herding sheep rather than the delightful image of a happy family strolling in the park. But don’t give up. And don’t let the sheep take over.

Firstly, clear limits and family hierarchy are the basis for children to understand that mum and dad or Nanny V is in charge.

Being authoritarian does not mean you need to be dictatorial (well, not unless in times of danger or tantrums). A tyrant rules with fear. An effective chief employs open communication, a plan and a sense of fun, and humour always helps.

Involve your little ones in the preparation. Maybe give them a choice of a bike ride or playground, a picnic or a family restaurant, the library or a movie. Keep it simple. Then set the ground rules and ensure everyone is aware of the boundaries and consequences if breached.

“A picnic is still a meal and I expect you to remain seated while eating just like at the table at home”. “When we are all finished you can run around while I pack up”. It’s an opportune time to engage them to work out what to do next or simply talk and tell stories. Play a game of “I Spy”. Children love silliness and are more relaxed with laughter.

Although subtle, there is still structure which helps them learn self-control, and ultimately, independence.

A consistent philosophy of discipline is the healthiest lesson you can teach. And with love they’ll feel safe and happier.

Just because they are children, and otherwise healthy, there is no reason to expect anything less than pleasant and respectable behaviour. If erratic, deal with it as soon as you can and definitively. Even when there are tears (both yours and theirs) make sure you follow through.

It does get easier. I promise. Just put in the time and energy and when you need to plaster a smile on your face, do it.

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Posted by Nanny Knows Best
Nanny Knows Best
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on Thursday, 18 July 2013
I wish.

A go-to handbook for little Hannah’s parents perplexed by her quirky eating habits and a compendium for Nanny V to explain to mum & dad that their darling three year old is simply discovering and learning.

Alas, this fantasy tome does not exist and whilst countless learned scholars have applied years and decades and centuries of wisdom, still we adults wonder. And just think, we were all children once. I have worked as a Governess, Nanny and Tutor for 20+ years and although I can name wonderful families with parents who are cooler than cool, and kids who I hanker to hang out with any and EVERY time, perfection does not exist.

Negotiation, chaos, laughter, tears, rules, curiosity, frustration, noise, grumbling, and tantrums, and a little more laughter prevail in homes with one child or a menagerie. And that’s just the adults.

I’d like to introduce you to my world of working with families across the globe, across cultures, across philosophies and perspectives, and across generations.

Of course there are the basics in the way parents innately nurture their offspring and provide for them. But some need help. And that is where I come in with my sister and brother carers.

There are innumerable ways we can work in a family. To help with teaching appropriate behaviour, supervising homework, kicking around a football, acting as a role model, being serious when necessary and rolling on the floor laughing too. To acknowledge achievements no matter how small or on a world scale, seemingly insignificant. To foster a child and find a talent or a passion, to put a smile on the face of all.

When you chase around a three-year-old roaring like a dinosaur, it’s not a great stretch to notice that glint in his eye that tells you “I like dinosaurs”, then collapse on the sofa with the laptop to watch dinosaurs on YouTube and Google dinosaur facts and pics. A visit to the dinosaur museum, a stack of dinosaur books, a collection of dinosaur toys and in no time, young Master T will be able to recite the difference between carnivores and herbivores and pronounce Latin words I find too much of a tongue twister.

He might not end up a palaeontologist, and even switch to building model planes in a few years. But there is nothing sweeter than a child curious enough to expand his knowledge to comfort mum, dad, and Nanny V, that all is good in his world.

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