29 Oct Nanny tips you can learn from
Professional nannies spend years taking care of other people’s children. They’re exposed to a wide range of personalities and situations and seem to know all the tricks of the trade whether it’s dealing with fussy eaters or how to effortlessly get everyone organised and out the door on time!
Nannies also form strong bonds with most of their charges and in this blog we share some of Sydney’s most popular nannies’ top tips for forming great relationships with your kids.
- Take time to be ‘involved’
Connection is something that children thrive on, but in this day and age, the reality is that most parents work outside the home and in between juggling a myriad of responsibilities it is not always easy to carve out time for kids. But the research continually shows that kids who feel very connected to their parents act out less, have more patience and more resilience. The way to create this connection is with time spent together.
“The good news is that quality time counts just as much as quantity,” says Jasmine, a Sydney-based nanny with more than 10 years’ experience working in Australia and the UK. “Make time in your day – and not just at bedtime. While a bedtime routine with a little story and a chat is a wonderful way to end the day, kids are often tired, so it’s not the best time to talk and really find out what’s going on with them.”
Similarly, because mornings can be rushed, especially if you’re working, then making sure you spend time at dinner with no distractions – no phones or TV or other gizmos. Sitting down to a meal can be a good time to talk and listen to each other. Making time after dinner can be great too. Choose an activity that you can do together – a puzzle, some colouring in, drawing, or take the dog for a walk. It doesn’t have to take up the whole evening, just spending 15-20 minutes doing something together can make a big difference to your relationship with your children.
- Have a timetable, but be flexible!
Kids like routine, but that doesn’t mean you always have to have dinner at 6.30pm. Or bed that time should be strictly 7pm. Some days just don’t run that smoothly! And kids have a way of messing up your timetable like nothing else – you can guarantee that the very morning you need to be out of the house at 7.45am, is the morning that you’re going to run late, no matter how prepared you think you are!
If you’re someone who doesn’t like to rush, or be late, then you do need to adjust when you have kids. One good tip, if you want things to run smoothly, is to build ‘buffer zones’ into your schedule so you do actually have an extra ten minutes when your toddler wants to change shoes three times, or when your ten-year old can’t find their favourite
T-shirt, or when your teenager sleeps in!
Trying to push against circumstances, makes everyone stressed, so work with what is going on in any given moment. Experienced nanny Sarah, says, “Go with the flow when you can”. She says being prepared helps, but even the most organised days won’t always go according to plan. But, she says – your expectations should be age-appropriate.
“When you have older children who can read the time, then of course you should expect that they can meet the schedule and they can help the younger ones along too.”
Give your children responsibilities
When you’re a busy parent it’s easier to ‘do it yourself’, especially when you’re dealing with toddlers and young children – they take so long to clean up, and they don’t really do the job properly. It can be frustrating.
But habits start early, and young children can be taught to tidy up, and be responsible for their belongings and to help out with household chores – putting out rubbish, unpacking the dishwasher, setting the table and getting their own breakfast. Teaching them to do these things does take time and effort and a lot of supervision in the beginning, but it pays off, because as they get older, they can be valuable help, especially when you’re busy. They also learn important life skills because they’ll need to do these things themselves one day.
Teach your children the value of entertaining themselves
Throughout life, we all spend time alone, and teaching children to be able to entertain themselves from an early age is an important life skill. They can learn to enjoy their own company simply by observing the world around them, making their own fun or tapping into their imaginations.
“When they’re little, children tend to demand a lot of time and attention,” says Nina, a Nanny with more than 20 years of experience working with families across Sydney.
“But, as parents and caregivers, it’s not our job to continuously entertain them. It’s critical that children learn to entertain themselves. Technology is a great educator, but it can also be a distraction, and being able to make their own fun is an important life-long lesson for kids. They don’t need to have every moment filled with activity. Learning to love reading also means that kids will always be able to find something to do if there’s a book or magazine around.”
Being silly, and playful and sending yourself up are all great ways to have fun and create laughter – and laughter forms a great connection between people. Sometimes, as parents, we think we need to have complete control over every situation and be the disciplinarian at all times. But kids need to know were human. When we send ourselves up, particularly in moments that could potentially lead to tension or an argument, we can diffuse the situation and end up with a totally different outcome.
Sometimes being a parent feels like you’re endlessly nagging to ‘pick up toys’, ‘do homework’, ‘eat with your mouth closed’ etc. But a great parenting strategy that pays off in the long run is to use positive reinforcement. When you see you children do something great, tell them so! Whether it’s kindness to another, or handing a bad situation well, or even remembering to do something without having to be asked. These can be real game changers in terms of getting your kids to do what you need them to.
From hearty hugs to high-fives, it’s important to enjoy physical touch with your kids. From an early age you can teach them boundaries – when a wrestling match becomes too much and one of you says “stop’ it’s a good chance to reiterate what’s appropriate and what’s not. When they’re little it’s always easy to find a reason to snuggle on the couch together, but as kids get older, particularly into adolescence, they’re less likely to seek physical contact with their parents. This is ok too – it’s part of their development and their wishes should be respected, but aiming to maintain the hugs ‘hello’ and the kisses ‘goodbye’ are signs of a healthy, affectionate parent-child relationship and can be a great way to let your kids know they’re loved no matter what age they are.