When you have a child, no one teaches you how to parent, you might be lucky and have family and friends with children or you may have read books on parenting tips, but it can still be a minefield of trial and error! One of the great things if you employ a nanny is that they have years of practice and are experts in childcare. They have tried and tested methods to help establish positive behaviour, excellent manners, and good routines.
We asked some of our nannies what their top tips were to help parents from those early years:
It’s okay to let your baby cry.
If you are a first-time parent you can feel anxious and unsure when your baby cries. Particularly in the early days when you aren’t sure why they are crying, and you are tired and feeling out of your depth. But a crying baby is normal, they are also feeling anxious and unsure, and a lot of the time just want to be held close and feel safe. Nannies recommend you trust your instinct, if you feel they need feeding, changing, cuddling, or rocking to sleep go with it, you will soon learn, it just takes a little while.
You Don’t Need to Buy All of the Baby Products
You’ve just found out you are expecting, you are excited and the first thing you want to do is rush out and buy every baby product you can from Activity mats to Cuddly Zebras! All and hug expense and often just left to be forgotten in a cupboard somewhere. Stick to the basics, if you have friends or family who have had children see what they might be getting rid of and ask them what their must have item was and what was a waste of money. In the first few months your baby really will sleep and feed, so they don’t need much!
What happens when it comes to weaning?
When your baby is ready to wean you need to give them a varied, healthy diet. Just because they don’t like bananas on the first try doesn’t mean they won’t like it on the second or third try. As their taste buds develop and change they will almost certainly learn to love foods they initially rejected.
When you have been out at work all day and you and your child are tired, mealtimes can become a bit of a battle ground and are often rushed to get bath and bedtimes out of the way. However, this doesn’t give a healthy message around food and it’s important that children learn to sit the table and enjoy their meal and allow them time to relax and digest it before they must get on with the next activity. Think about when you most enjoy food, it almost certainly is when you are relaxed and able to really think about what you are eating and not when you are rushing about and eating on the go.
Routines don’t need to be regimented and should have some flexibility in them. Children need some guidance and structure to their day as it provides security and a good foundation for them to build on, but it doesn’t need to be so strict that there isn’t room for fun, or changes to help an exhausted parent or child feel life is a drag!
Talk and Listen to each other
This applies to parents as well as children. As we have said before, life can be busy and them seems little time to sit and chat or really listen to what the other person is saying. How often are you multi-tasking as your child tells you about their day or an issue they are having? You might miss something important that they are saying. Find time to sit down and really talk to them and if you find yourself have a shouting match with your child or partner, stop, take time out and then return to the conversation when you are both calm and can have a constructive conversation.
Don’t jump through hoops to make you child happy.
Parental Guilt is rife, many parents work long hours to pay the bills and keep a roof over their family’s head and they feel guilty because they can’t always be there for their children so they shower them with gifts and agree to things (like getting a dog!) when it’s not really what they can afford or cope with. It’s important for children to learn early on that No means No and that throwing a tantrum and being rude will not get them any further. Establishing the difference between a child’s needs and a child’s wants is hugely important and will help teach your child the difference top. Also picking up after your child because it’s easier and quicker and saves an argument does not help them develop and grow. They need to learn to be independent and do things for themselves as they reach the appropriate stages/.
Parenting is tough, whether you are a staying at home parent or go out to work, it comes with its challenges. No two families are the same and what is important to one may be less important to another. Following your instincts, doing what works for your family and your household is the most important thing and trusting your ability as a parent and if all else fails ask the Nanny!
It’s an age-old debate, and one that has caused many a stir amongst new mums regarding what they feel is best for baby. With so many Women being the main breadwinners now or needing to return to work more quickly for financial reasons is breast really the best way for everyone?
Gone are the days when it was a given that all new mums would breast feed, with few alternatives being promoted at all. Babies were simply expected to ‘latch on’ with no problems (or none which were discussed openly by midwives or our own mums!). In reality, most of us know that this does not always run as swimmingly as the way we plan it whilst pregnant. In fact, it can sometimes be a source of great pain both physically and emotionally to many mums who innocently expect a stress-free start to baby’s feeding.
Mums can also feel a fair amount of pressure from others to breastfeed, making this very personal choice a tricky one. Whether the breast or formula choice is made before or after baby arrives, it is certainly a decision that you need to feel happy with, in a time when emotions are heightened and doing ‘the right thing’ by baby is the only thing in mind. Here is our simple guide to the benefits and possible drawbacks of each:
Some benefits of breastfeeding:
- Nutrition – Colostrum, which is the milk produced at the end of pregnancy and the early part of breastfeeding, is high in concentrated nutrition for newborns, and has a laxative effect on baby.
- Protection in childhood – In addition to containing all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs in the first six months of life, breast milk is packed with disease-fighting substances that protect your baby from illness.
- Protection into adulthood – Breastfeeding’s protection against illness lasts beyond your baby’s breastfeeding stage. Antibodies in breast milk may give a baby’s immune system a boost, and can protect from childhood and adult illnesses, including diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
- Bonding – A strong physical and emotional bond can be formed between mother and baby.
- No cost – Breastfeeding is free, and available whenever baby needs a feed.
- Good for mum – The NHS states that there are health benefits to mum as well, including up to 500 calories being used per day, and the risk of breast and ovarian cancer being reduced.
What they don’t always tell you about breastfeeding:
- Pain – Breastfeeding can be physically painful for mums, lead to sore or even bleeding nipples.
- Attaching – Many new mums find that baby doesn’t attach or ‘latch on’ as naturally as they’d expect, which can lead to a feeling of rejection or failure for mum. Patience and persistence are key.
- Thrush – this can occur and pass between you and baby’s mouth. If nipples become sore or pink after breastfeeding without problems, this may be a sign of thrush.
- Tongue-tie – Some babies are born with ‘tongue-tie’ where the skin between the underneath of the tongue and the bottom of the mouth is tight, making it difficult for baby to attach. If you experience any of the above and want to continue breastfeeding, don’t panic as help is at hand from GPs, health advisors and midwives.
In contrast, here are some benefits of formula feeding:
- Nutrients – Commercially prepared infant formulas are still full of nutrients, and can even contain some vitamins & nutrients that breastfed babies need to get from supplements.
- Convenience – Formula feeding is convenient, and feeding can be shared between both parents enabling mums to do other things, and dads to feel the bond that comes with feeding their baby.
- Back to normal – ‘Normal’ life can resume more quickly, including returning to work, and taking birth control or other medication.
- Sleeping – Baby may sleep for longer in between feeds, giving you more chance to sleep for longer too.
- Quantities – You know exactly how much milk baby has had when formula-feeding.
What they don’t always tell you about formula feeding:
- Getting it right – It’s easy to make the mixture too strong, weak or hot.
- Illness – the NHS states that formula fed babies are more likely to get diarrhoea, chest, ear or urine infections.
- Expense – it is estimated to cost at least £700 per year to formula feed.
- Sterilising – there is a lot of work involved in thoroughly sterilising all the equipment required to formula-feed.
- Mixing it up – if you decide to combine bottle feeding with breastfeeding, you should not introduce bottle feeding during the first six weeks of life, because the difference between nipples can confuse the baby, cause feeding problems, and it can interfere with the establishment of breastfeeding.
If you’re still not sure whether breast or formula feeding is best for you, speak to your midwife or health visitor for information and support, or call the National Breastfeeding helpline on 0300 100 0212.
Parents … how many of your friends with nannies seem to have had an enviously easy ride, with seemingly no problems and happy children, in what looks to you like a Mary Poppins style montage?! So, if your situation doesn’t always seem to run as smoothly as your lucky mates, are you doing something to make your nannies want to leave? Or are you just not choosing the ones with staying power in the first place? If you have ever wondered this, it may be time to stop and think about whether or not there is more you can do to keep your nanny happy, or to simply keep your nanny! Once you think you’ve found the right person, you want to make sure she or he will stick around. Here are our top tips on keeping good nannies:
It may sound like a simple employer/employee dynamic, but respecting the person who you choose to look after your most important assets makes obvious sense, but doesn’t always come easily to some parents. Make sure you discuss any issues you may have immediately with your nanny, and make her feel like you value her opinion on your children (after all she will be getting to know them very well). Remember that even though you are the parent, your nanny is the expert in child care, so admit if you think she is right and you aren’t about something!
– Keep the green-eyed monster at bay!
It is only natural that you may feel some pangs of jealousy that your nanny is spending time with your children and seeing them do things whilst you’re at work. Good nannies are well aware of this and will do their best not to make you feel like you’re missing out. If you start to feel jealous that your child is enjoying his or her time with nanny, or even preferring spending time with them, remember that this is just a sign that your nanny is doing a very good job. Wouldn’t you rather have a happy child, even if it does mean swallowing that green-eyed monster feeling for the time being?!
Much like respecting your nanny, she will do a better job and feel more comfortable if you trust her. Of course, this may take a little bit of time to build up naturally, but the sooner you can make her feel as though she is in charge and running her position, the sooner she will come into her own, resulting in your child feeling more at ease and happy with the nanny and the situation. On the flip side, if you really do think there is a trust issue then speak to her straight away to keep things as open, and honest, as possible.
– Keep it real!
Like any job, make sure you have a realistic job description for your nanny right from the off, so that you both know- and are happy with – what is realistic. It’s true that no two days are generally the same in child care, but this doesn’t give you an excuse to expect her to work longer hours than agreed in the beginning, or to do household jobs that were not clear at the start. This is one of the quickest ways of de-motivating any employee, so if there is anything that you think you’d like to add to your nanny’s duties, make sure you ask her thoughts first.
– Realistic pay rises
Again, just like any other position, a good nanny should expect to be rewarded appropriately financially, and you should consider annual pay rises as a part of this. The standard annual rise is around 5-10%, but if you are unsure, ask other families in your area what they offer. Of course, pay is just one part of the reward that a good nanny gets from her job, but it is likely she will know other nannies and if she isn’t getting a similar financial reward to her peers, a good nanny can move on very easily.
The most important thing for you as a parent is to make sure your children have a happy and consistent care routine, and for this, holding on to a good nanny is key.
Have we missed anything? Leave a comment with your thoughts, or stop by our Facebook page to tell us what you think!
With Easter right around the corner, we’ve scoured the internet for some fantastic Easter activities for children of all ages!
With holidays soon to be allowed and the summer, not far behind, many nannies might be preparing for a trip with their nanny family.
Whilst a sunny break away from everyday life might sound like a fantastic escape, it’s important to remember that you’ll still be working and that your job might become a bit more difficult when faced with new challenges and unfamiliar surroundings.
We’ve put together our top tips to help you make a success of any trip with your nanny family:
“A mother is like a flower, each one beautiful and unique.”
With Mother’s Day coming up on Sunday 10th March, we’ve put together some fun activity ideas for children of all ages to create something special.
Parenting is one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do. Raising a baby through childhood isn’t easy, and it’s even harder for disabled parents. Especially those without a solid support system.
Disabled parents often have a harder time admitting when they need help. Every parent has days where they feel overwhelmed and in desperate need of respite, but disabled parents don’t always have the courage to stand up and ask for the help they need for fear of negativity from others like being seen as unfit to parent or unable to cope.
By welcoming a nanny into your family, you can gain the help you need without worrying about negativity – after all, it’s not like nannies are unheard of!
Here are our top reasons why a nanny is a perfect choice for disabled parents: read more…
Today is Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras, also known as pancake day! It’s the day before the start of Lent, the build up to Easter. Lent was traditionally a time of fasting so all the fat in the house needed to be used up. That’s what gave it the name Mardi (Tuesday) Gras (Fat). It’s also why we make pancakes because the recipe uses up fatty foods like eggs and milk, and sugar too because fasting meant giving up sweet things.
How to make pancakes:
4oz (110g) Flour
10floz (275ml) Milk
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and break the eggs into another bowl or a jug then beat them
Mix the flour and eggs to a smooth paste using a fork of whisk, then slowly add the milk bit by bit whisking constantly. You want to avoid lumps so you need to whisk hard.
Heat a frying pan on a high heat (you want it good and hot) and add a little oil or butter. Use some kitchen paper towel to make sure all the pan is covered in a thin layer of fat and ladle in some batter. Tilt the pan to get the liquid batter to spread evenly and allow it to cook for a minute or so. When you shake the pan slightly a cooked pancake will be loose underneath. Flip it with a spatula or, if you’re brave, toss it to allow the other side to cook.
You can have sweet or savory fillings for your pancakes – here are some ideas:
Ham and cheese
Sugar and lemon juice
Caramel sauce and chocolate sauce (this is known as a carachoc in France, pronounced ca-ra-shock)
It might seem like a strange question, especially with all the warnings about children and screen time that are constantly in the news, but can blogging actually be beneficial for children?
According to online safety charity WiredSafety, in 2017, there were over 6 million children around the world, regularly writing blogs and whilst there are a number of dangers revolving around children and the internet, there are also a number of benefits to blogging.
Parents and childcarers – nannies, childminders, aupairs or nursery staff – are almost all familiar with the tantrums, but there can be differences of opinion on how to deal with them.
As a childcarer it’s difficult to bring up a sensitive subject. Tantrums are an entirely normal phase of development, coming from a child’s desire to show their independence and assert themselves or an inability to communicate, and intellectually parents know that but no-one likes to hear that their child has been ‘misbehaving’.
Parents may not share details of the behaviours with childcarers, perhaps feeling that it’s a reflection on their parenting skills, or perceived lack thereof. Children do often save their worst behaviour for their parents but it is not a sign of weakness to make others aware of facts.
It’s important that neither party shies away from discussing the issue. The best way to deal with tantrums is a consistent approach from everyone involved. That way a child quickly learns what the limits are and that having a paddy isn’t an effective way of getting what they want. Communicating also allows parents and childcarers to share tips and tricks. Parents may know what frustrates their child and be adept at handling it so sharing that information with their child’s carer is vital to help prevent tantrums. Childcarers may be able to offer strategies that have worked with other children or reassure parents that their child is indeed learning to deal with frustration and that the tantrums will soon decrease.
Toddlers especially need to make sense of the world. It’s reassuring for them to have a set of consistent rules and boundaries, consistent positive attention for good behaviour and a consistent response to a tantrum. It’s especially important that everyone is on the same page when it comes to safety. Communicating about expectations and accommodating each other’s practices where possible makes the transition as easy as possible for children and avoids unnecessary tantrums.
Children also need autonomy. Some adults are inclined to say ‘no’ to anything out of the ordinary, even when it’s perfectly possible to accommodate a request, and others will bend over backwards to comply. Obviously in group childcare settings it’s more difficult to deal with individual whims, and it doesn’t do any good to spoil children by giving in to them all the time, but by working together parents and carers can agree what will or won’t be accommodated.
Finally, while it’s important to communicate between adults it’s also important not to let what happens when you aren’t there affect your relationship with a child. Sharing information should help you understand and deal with tantrums, but it needs to be done sensitively and with respect.