Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Madness

  Is Anyone Else Weary on Mondays? Not the actual thought of being with your NK (nanny-kids) but the transition between you arriving and the parents leaving?

Transition times can be hard on everyone. The kids, especially little ones who don't understand why Mommy and Daddy are leaving. The parents, most parents (Mommas usually more than Papas) struggle to some degree with leaving their children in the care of someone else. No matter how good you are as a Nanny, no matter how much you love your NKs and how much your Mom-Boss loves you, she will struggle a bit at the transition time. The Nanny, and then it is hard on you holding a screaming toddler who wants their Mom and Dad, not you - their beloved Nanny.

We have all been there: Mom is walking out the door - one screaming toddler in your arms - the baby on the floor wanting to be fed - and then the 6 year old comes down with a school outfit that doesn't match and her hair in knots. And you have to pick up the pieces while making it a fun start to the day.

Well after some years of experience and seeking out what works with for other Nannies here are 4 tips to help end the Monday Madness:

1. Communicate with your Nanny-Family, everyone wants this to be a smooth transition, no wants to see the water works. Find out what you can do together to make this transition smoother, maybe you come earlier to help get the kids dressed. Maybe they change their morning schedule a bit and have the baby fed by the time you get there. Sometimes this isn't possible, but talking things through can often alleviate some tension and get everyone on the same page.

"Bear loves breakfast with his parents. We all began to notice that the hardest mornings were the ones he didn't get to eat with one of his parents. So we talked and made a change. Yes there are mornings where it just isn't possible for his parents to eat with him, but overall this small change has revamped our mornings"

2. Get a Game Plan! Every child is different, every stage is different. Find out what works best for your nanny-child. Sometimes distraction is a great way to go when the child is too young to know what is happening. Find a toy, a book, or go outside while the parents are leaving. At this age being in a different room from where the parents are leaving is ideal. Older children start to wonder where Mommy and Daddy are going, so work out a routine with the parents to say good-bye, give a kiss or hug before they leave, and tell the child they will be back before (or after) dinner. This may not stop a meltdown but more often than not it will lessen it.

"When I first started watching Bear he was 17 months and the distraction method worked great. By the time he turned 20 months we switched over to Mommy and Daddy explaining where they were going and when they would be back. As your NK changes so will your methods."

3. Find Their Favorite Activity. This tends to go with #2, but includes a bit more tactile activity, especially for 24months and older. While the distraction method can include a book or something less distracting, here you want to find a favorite activity, one that includes the child using their hands and minds.
"For us 'play Play-Doh' is the perfect activity for when Mom is walking out the door. We start playing when she is packing her bags, before she starts to say good-bye. Making shapes, rolling balls, squeezing the Play-Doh, or cutting out numbers in the Play-Doh. The key is for the child's mind to focus on the fun they are having and not the sadness of the parent leaving."

4. When All Else Fails - Go Outside! In truth there is something undeniably relaxing and calming for a child when they get outside, whether for a walk, a ride to the park, or a few minutes of bird watching. Granted this is harder when you have more than one child, but it is doable. If you are having daily tantrums when Mom and Dad leave, ask if there is a possibility of you leaving on a walk first with the kids. Sometimes you being out of the house while the morning transition happens is easier for everyone too.

"When I first started watching Bear we had more rough mornings than not. Not only was he transitioning from having his Momma home all summer to her headed back to work and a new Nanny (me) - someone he had only met once before, but he also had a new baby brother, one that although really well behaved took attention from Bear. Almost daily walks by the water became our sanity. Not only was the fresh air, new sights, and his favorite bird watching good for him but the exercise was great for my mental and physical health."
Note that none of these will work 100% of the time, they are just what have worked for others. Children are human beings, not machines.  Sometimes it is easy to expect A+B to always equal C when trying to implement new plans. When this thought process starts, stop and think if I were this child how would I feel, why would I be crying, and what would make me feel better?

What additional tips have worked for you and your NK during transition periods?

CECONNER © 3.31.2014

Friday, March 28, 2014

"Let Us Start at the Beginning, a Very Good Place to Start"

Really a Nanny Blog? Why would you want to do such a thing? You know you would need to keep up with it more than your other one? Who would read it? And what do you have to say that is important? What credentials do you have to write about being a professional nanny?

This conversation has been playing ping-pong in my head for a few months now. The truth is I am scared and don't want a back lash of angry people if every now and then I say something controversial. The topic's surrounding children and how to raise them tend to be the most sensitive, kids are the people closest to our hearts. Being really aware of that fact, know if you are going to follow me - I will sometimes say things, out of love, that you may not agree with. I am OKAY with that. There will be things you say I don't agree with too. If we are all on the same page that there are topics that it is okay to agree to disagree lets get on the fun Nanny Adventure!

Where It Began?
Truly it began at age 10, well earlier but 10 years old began my first real job watching children. The sweet thing was I started watching the girls of the nanny who watched me growing up. Amanda and Emily; they were old enough to take care of themselves. My main jobs were to make sure they went to bed on time, brushed their teeth, showered, ate a real dinner, and then I would fall asleep on the couch watching TV after the girls went to bed. Soon after that my mom thought it would be a good idea to take the RedCross Babysitting Basics Course. I attended the first two classes and honestly 100% forgot about the third one - sadly no babysitting certificate for this gal but that didn't stop the jobs from rolling in. 

Children have always had a soft spot in my heart, from watching them in the church nursery to loving the two little one's my mom took care during the week. All of us have different natural talents and gifts: some are great teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, producers, models, fighters, lovers, etc. For me it has always been kids; playing Barbies and Baseball was always more fun then adult conversation.

Some of the More Memorable jobs: 
  •  2 brothers - 8 & 10 years old when I started watching them (I was 13). I remember them shooting me with Nerf guns, trying to stick their "killer" rabbit on me, and wanting to make sure I went home with at least one bruise every week.
  • 1 sweet girl and her 3 lovable brothers - ages 8 years to 4 months - this one was mainly when the mom was home. I would help the school kids with their homework and keep them entertained while their mom finished the laundry, cleaned the house, got some alone time, and eventually went on small shopping trips. This is one of those families I am sad we lost contact. 
  • 2 brothers - at the time my pastors kids. This was a fun one, I was at least 18 when this job started. It was fun to play catch, tag, hit a baseball bat, or throw the football. They allowed my inner tomboy to come out and taught me a lot about College Football.
  • The three year old boy who knew more about the human anatomy than I did; he would tell me all about the birthing process of his soon to be born brother.
  • The 3 Musicians, such great and humble talent, all under the age of 7. Karaoke night was a must at this house. It was no surprise when this family moved to Nashville.
  • 2 Mexican brothers - the oldest boy would have me attempt to read his Spanish books and then laugh at my horrible pronunciation. While the younger brother would always grab me ear any chance he could. This two little ones (pictured below) still have half my heart. 

These are just a few of the many jobs that have crossed my path in the last 16 years. The stories above are not to brag or show off, but to resonate with you, wherever you are. To give you a tiny resume of where I have been, a place to start and understand where I am going.

Kids are fun, adorable, precious, sweet loves that make you want to pull your hair out one second and give them a hug and kiss away those tears the next. As a Nanny we often times don't have the freedom to express that dichotomy of kids. Most parents don't want to admit their child can cause a stressful day for their Nanny. And that is okay. It is part of our job, we love our Nanny-Kids in the good and bad moments. Just like we do any other person who captures our hearts.

What were some of your more memorable Nanny-Kids?

CECONNER © 3.24.2014