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

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