My take on this week is a little different than most I think so I wanted to share.
Next week from Sept 22 to the 29th is National Nanny Recognition Week. If you are reading this blog you probably already know about NNRW. It was started a few years back by a few nannies and agency owners who wanted to showcase the important work that nannies do.
Times have changed in the past few years since the first NNRW. The nanny profession has increased its visibility and there are more nannies working in the states than ever. Nannies have been featured on television as childcare experts and we have started to connect to each other and educate ourselves in larger and larger numbers.
NNRW is often promoted as a chance for families and others to appreciate nannies. But I really think that this is a chance for us to celebrate the whole nanny universe. What does that mean?
I think it is a time to recognize the families that employ us. We work for some amazing people. I think that nanny care is the best choice you can make for your kids. But it is not easy. It is a remarkable thing to hire a nanny and let that nanny into the family. Nanny care is usually the most expensive care option. And it is emotionally much more difficult. Parents know that they will miss moments that the nanny will see. They know that the child will come to love the nanny in a very personal way. There will be a moment when the child calls out for the nanny instead of the parent. They put an extraordinary amount of trust in us. They do what is best for their child at the expense of their own ego (not to mention pocketbook). Not to mention the work of building a strong nanny/family relationship! It is not easy and it should be celebrated. If we didn’t have them, we would not have a job.
I think it is a time to celebrate the kids who come to love us. I am thrilled to be a part of the lives of my kids. It is an honor. I am thankful for every shared moment and I like to take time each year to think of those times and be grateful.
I think it is a time to celebrate nannies. The nanny profession has changed a lot in the past 10 years. There are more of us than ever! We are more visable and there is a greater diversity. During NNRW I like to think of the wonderful people who have come before me, who have helped me learn about this job and shown me the way. I like to think of those who are nipping at my heels, to thank them for sharing their innovative ideas and enthusiasm for an occupation that I love.
It is a time to celebrate all those in the business community, the agencies, tax professionals and the like that have made being a nanny so lucrative. Agencies can get a bad rap, but it is a tough spot and most agencies really do care about the placements. These businesses support us and our families and make it easier to get paid, find jobs and work with families. They deserve a spotlight moment this week too!
Sure, I love a little recognition. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t. And there have been so many times when I felt like I got little or no thanks for the blood, sweat and tears I put into my work. However, perhaps as Dr. Seuss would say, NNRW doesn't come from a store. Perhaps it means just a little bit more. The reason for the season for me is to celebrate all the people in my life who have made this job, this calling if you will, a part of my life that defines me in so many ways.
Not sure if you heard- but I love training! I love going to a workshop, webinar or conference. I LOVE new ideas.
There is nothing like the spark that happens when you are talking through a problem and you connect with others. You gain perspective and get a fresh take on what you might think you know or what you might be struggling with.
No matter if you have been a nanny for 100 years or 1 year- there is always more to learn. Kids are like onions, there are more layers than you can imagine (they also can be sweet or sassy and can make you cry but more on that in another post!).
My passion for training for myself and sharing my experiences has led me down the road to Nannypalooza and the work I do with webinars and this blog etc.. But it also makes me seek out new places to find inspiration. That is why I was excited about my friend Kellie Geres' new website www.nannytrainings.com. This website aims to be a clearing house of sorts for all kinds of opportunities to connect to the best and brightest resources for nannies. From nanny schools to online venues, Kellie is working to create a one stop shop of professional development.
Not all experiences will be for every person. That is what is great about this resource! Shy and wanting to be more on your own or ready to reach out and personally meet someone, there is an opportunity for you!
Please stop by the webpage and check it out. And be sure to like her page on Facebook and follow her on twitter! That is a great way to stay on top of what is coming up!!
Recently my friends and I tried this great idea we "borrowed" from some mommy bloggers. And it is a GREAT idea for all nanny groups big or small.
Google Busy Bags and you will get a whole bunch of ideas for these homemade bags of fun! The idea is that they are simple activities that are made that kids can do with some direction or on their own. Preferably they will become self sufficient with them even if at first they need help.
Bags range in complexity from simple matching games or letter activities to more complex math games etc.. They are hopefully self checking so that kids can see the correct answer themselves.
Now you could make busy bags yourself and many people do. But it can get pricey and can be a lot of work to make individual bags. To get a whole bunch of bags fast- we organized a swap.
Each person in the swap makes 2 different kinds of bags. We started an email thread so we could tell everyone as we picked which bags we were making. Then we made bags for each person participating. In our group there were 7 people, we each made 2 different bags and 7 of each so we all walked away with 14 different great bags!!
I keep the bags in a drawer in the kitchen and the Caterpillar (my 2 year old) begs to do them. I introduced them one at a time and made sure that she understood each bag's activity before starting on the next one. Now she can get out something fun while I tidy the kitchen or while we are waiting for mom to come home.
Our favorite bags are the iSpy rice bottle, the fishing game, the hanging clothes game and the letter matching cards. We still haven't tried all the games we have!!
I can't wait to do this again. It was fun and cost effective- for about $50 we got the materials and walked away with so many great and fabulous learning activities that are great for transition times, waiting times and independent play.
Let me know if you have done this or if you want to try!!!
Here are some great links!
Walking by the way Blog
Motherhood on a Dime
Money Saving Mom
AND here is a link to my pinterest board where I have loads more ideas!!
A friend of mine posted this article- I figured it was the standard article about internet safety and warning of some new way kids were in danger using social media.
I was half right. The article does warn of the new way kids are using instagram to hold beauty pagents. It is alarming and the author made good points. But I stopped short when she said that her kids had to share their passwords until they were 13. What? Then she goes on to say these kids including hers that were on instagram were in 4th and 5th grade.
I had the standard nanny reaction You know- we all love kids and most of us rail against thee kids using tech. In fact I am always boring people about studies that show that TV is so harmful for young children and have been very strict with my former charges who wanted Facebook pages or the like.
BUT I am going to challenge us to think about this for a minute. Technology is this funny thing- it doesn't go backwards. Just because it is dangerous to drive a car, we probably will never go back to the horse and buggy. Just because it is more comforting to communicate face to face- cell phones are not going anywhere. In fact recent studies have indicated that almost all U.S. kids under the age of 2 have a digital footprint already.
So if the new technology we are integrating into our society at a rapid clip is here to stay- shouldn't we be teaching kids to use it from the very start? We all know a 2 year old who can work an iPhone to get to the pictures they want to view or play a game. Shouldn't we also be teaching kids how to use it to learn? to get information?
As we teach manners and social norms to our young children, should we also be teaching them how to communicate online? Should we be teaching kids at 4 and 5 the right way to phrase things, the emoticons you need, to get along with others in a digital world? Because in light of the intense bullying and easy misunderstandings of kids in middle school- it might be too late by then.
When we teach kids about how to evade that white van at the playground and how to use their instincts about strangers perhaps we should be teaching them to detect online predators and find safe communities to interact with on their devices.
I am not so sure when is too early and when is too late. But I think it is time to start thinking of technology in some new ways. I mean we all know that we can not tell kids to eat vegetables and healthy foods and then eat Cheetos and drink soda for lunch. We know what that yields. So if the digital world is one where our kids are going to live (and it is) then we need to give them opportunities with boundaries to make mistakes and learn in a safe way.
I am still puzzling this all out. What about you??
Need an idea for quick and simple motor skill play? Great here is a simple one- make a line!
We just put a long line on the floor with masking tape. Can be on carpet or hardwood (but check in a spot first that the tape doesn't ruin hardwood in your home)
Then we hop on the line, hop over the line, skip on the line, dance on the line - you get the point. This is a great way to work on language skills as well as you can talk about over, on top of, as well as action words like crawling, skipping, hopping, tip toeing.....
Encourage kids to try some other deceptively simple tricks. Like keeping both feet on the line like a tight rope. Or try putting objects on the floor and having child stop while walking (or running or skipping) and pick up object without moving their feet. This is a tough skill for those 2/3 year olds!
Try putting on some music and asking kids to move on the line in response to the music. Is it fast or slow? Does it make you want to do something funny as you move or does it encourage you to move like a ballerina?? You can talk about rhythm and the effects of music on mood.
For older kids practice changing directions on line, make the line turn or be wavy. Ask the older kids to make up activities for the younger kids!
This activity increases equilibrium and helps kids coordinate movement. It works large muscles and also is helpful for the connections between their will and their movements. As you use music it can be a great way to incorporate some emotional words into the play and help them use their body to indicate mood.
What do you bring with you to work each day?
Do you bring materials to use like cotton balls, flour or markers?
Do you bring your lunch, a snack or a good book to read?
Do you bring with you your patience, caring, and your sense of humor?
Perhaps you bring a wealth of information on raising kids, or an article that you read or a book you studied.
You might bring a few things to work with you that you maybe should try to leave at home. You probably bring with you your own parent's parenting styles, scars (both good and bad) from past nanny jobs and preconcieved notions of what will or won't work.
You might also bring along outdated information, emotions from your own personal life and your own physical condiditon.
No matter what you bring to the table- it is worth taking a moment before you start your day to breathe.
Being a nanny is a pretty difficult job. And the main thing you bring to your job is yourself.
It is worth it to take a few minutes each morning and consider what you bring to your job. Are you bringing positives or negatives? How can you leave the bad stuff behind? What should you remember to bring every day?
Then leave the unwanted bags at the door and bring what works and a smile. NEVER forget that smile!!
Well, change is good right?
Sometimes though it is not easy.
This change is hopefully going to be easy and GREAT! We have a newly designed website and a new address for the blog. Hopefully you can change your RSS feed (or sign up if you haven't already) and you won't miss a thing.
I am particularly excited to utilize some of the great features of the new website. Like more videos, and a new onsite registration process for Nannypalooza. Hopefully it will work. (crossing fingers!)
So thanks for stopping by and supporting Nannypalooza. Be sure to share the site with your friends!