How to be Mary Poppins.
I run Nutkin Nannies Agency, Recently I was asked to write an article on the essential qualities of being a good nanny for Families Upon Thames Magazine, this is it.
A bit of a cheat for a first blog… so, How to be Mary poppins
The first question I ask a nanny wanting to register with me is: “Why did you become a nanny?” Sadly, I have received the answer: “Because it’s easy to do and anybody can do it.” This is absolutely NOT the case. Being a nanny is neither a 9 to 5 job nor an easy pay check. As every parent knows, children can push you to the very limit of your patience every day and caring for them can be physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting.
Do you need childcare qualifications in order to be an exceptional nanny? Not necessarily, but, by the same token, I am not interested in people who simply “didn’t know what else to do.” There is a call for all nannies to be qualified, but there are some exceptional child carers that have personal qualities that cannot be learned and which no amount of qualifications can guarantee. Insisting on qualifications would push these child carers out of the market and this would be a great shame.
Such nannies have an almost innate ability to tune into what is going on around them, to take note of both the big picture and the minute details and act accordingly. Nannies with this ability can often pre-empt the needs of others before they even arise, making it possible to step forward when pro-activity is required, blend into the background, if necessary, and switch between the two seamlessly and at a moment’s notice. These nannies react appropriately and quickly to ever changing circumstances and integrate themselves into the family unit, whilst, at the same time, respecting its privacy and staying detached from any personal issues with which it may be grappling.
These exceptional nannies excel as entertainers, educators, chefs and good listeners. They are brilliant multi-taskers who can feed a baby whilst helping an older child learn spellings for a test, and build a Lego car at the same time. They are endlessly creative, coming up with new ideas daily, whilst simultaneously keeping calm, having the patience to repeat things multiple times and conjuring up a catalogue of answers for realms of endless “Whys?”
Mary Poppins was indeed unique but a good nanny will find their own way to be practically perfect is every way.
As a nanny, you are in loco parenti. Your job is to enable parents to get to work on time and stress-free, safe in the knowledge that their children are well cared for and well-loved in their absence. As sad as it may be for parents to see their own children screaming for the nanny when she leaves at the end the day, it does mean that she is doing a wonderful job. This will have a lasting and positive effect on their children.
Such a nanny is remembered when children grow up for being the person who could discipline them whilst showing them they were still loved: the one they came to for advice, for comfort and to have a laugh with, and most importantly, the person who never turned them down if they wanted a cuddle!
Categorised in: Childcare
This post was written by Sarah Cozens