Summer Holidays

We have a little over 3 weeks of summer holidays left here in UK and I thought now is the time for me to start putting my thoughts back on the paper (or computer – but you know what I mean!). 

I assume there is two camps of childcarers and parents out there. One camp is patiently waiting for school to start and the other one is dreading the school runs and rush. I get it! At this point the routine (or what is left of it) has evaporated with the heat wave Europe has the pleasure to experience and you might be feeling a little done and tired. Maybe the kids are not behaving as ‘great’ as the usually do, and you are wondering weather you can manage to survive the last weeks with grace and dignity, while also having lots of fun. I am here to assure you that you can and also give you a few helpful hints if you need them. 

When I find myself overwhelmed with work, children, anything (and I do, just like everyone else!) I tend to go back to basics. Maybe even have a tiny little meltdown, than I brush myself off and start thinking of things that helped In the past. And just as we get overwhelmed at times, children get overwhelmed with a lot of things. There is so much happening around them, and as they are not equipped with tools to identify feelings and process them in the most gracious way, they simply overflow their cup daily, and the spillage is seen as a tantrum, scream, slap, pinch…just to name a few. 

Now, we as adults know, that most of the time, when children act out, is usually because their basic needs are not met. They act in a way that they think will get their basic needs met, and if that does not happen, they try another way (and boy they are pretty resourceful ha?). The way adults try to correct children’s behaviour is to act when negative behaviour presents, which might work for some time, but sooner or later negative behaviour will still continue, you feel stuck, tired and overwhelmed with constant warnings. Sometimes behaviour even gets worse. That is when you have to draw a line and start over. 

So if you find yourself drawing a line and having a little ‘enough is enough’ moment, here is a few tips you might like to try out. 

  1. Plan a day or morning or hour with just you and the kids, without any other distractions, no playdate, playgroup, class etc. Take the kids to the park and just play with them, forget about preparing flawless organic snacks and just sit down with them, talk to them, listen to them, hug them, be silly and see what happens. 
  1. Praise the good behaviour – it pays off! Children need a lot of instant feedback, praise when it happens not two days later.
  1. Make them your little helpers – if you cannot get them to do their chores, promote them to your assistant, and don’t get upset if they spill a little water when they bring the cup from the table.
  1. Relax! Yes it is absolutely essential that the kids are safe, fed and thriving, but they will not remember if their toys where all tidy and in right boxes, if the clothes were matching and what you ate. What they will remember is, how much you hug them, how they felt around you, how much bugs they saw on the garden on how much they made you jump every time they showed you a spider!
  1. Read a book with them (any will do) and cuddle on the sofa. The book by Carol Mccloud is absolutely a winner when you need to reinstall some positive behaviour. I think it is absolutely genius to present the idea of filling people’s buckets when we are kind, do something nice and taking away from them when we are not. It is not complicated and very easy for children to imagine the whole thing.

PHOTO-2019-07-21-15-20-11

At the end of the day the thing we all agree upon is, giving children a childhood that will give them wings and teach them how to fly them. It doesn’t make a difference if you are a parent, Nanny, Manny, childcarer, Teacher, those goals are the same. 

Hope you will enjoy the rest of the summer, and if you are starting or already started school, have a great start!

Sharing is caring,

TLN

HOW TO BE A GOOD BOSS TO YOUR LIVE IN NANNY

Nanny – parent relationship is so delicate and special, and it is unlike any other work relationship. Especially if you have a live-in Nanny that looks after you precious tiny humans and lives with you. There is no denying, that every family you work for, is different and with every new position, you learn a lot of new things – good and bad. Somehow being a Nanny, you have to learn to be your own personal advocate and coach, and the ability to advocate for yourself might be hard, especially if Nanny is living with the family.

Every Nanny is different too, and some positions you go in thinking they will be the best you ever had, turn out they are not, and some positions you had a hard time deciding for, turn out to be a blessing in disguise. You almost never know for sure, how things will turn out once you commence your position, but there is surely a few good points that every Nanny Boss should follow, at least to some extent.  So let me be your advocate if you are struggling, I guarantee you it will get better!

 

crayons-1445054_1920

DEAR NANNY BOSS

Having a Nanny is a luxury, and it is definitely not one of the cheapest options, when it comes to childcare. If you can’t afford a living wage and provide her with good work conditions, than you can’t afford a Nanny and should think of other options.

Don’t make your Nanny feel bad for being sick or needing time off

Nannies are human beings and they in fact, do get sick from time to time, most of the time from something they pick up in your house. So don’t make her feel like she can’t be sick, or she has to be afraid for her job, if she does. Yes it’s a huge inconvenience for you, but a good solution for situations like that is, to always have a back up. That way you don’t get stressed out and your Nanny can get better without feeling, like she is letting everyone down. The same goes for having your Nanny work crazy hours. If you overwork your lovely Nanny, no one benefits from that. Some weeks might be a bit hectic  and you will need her more, but than make sure you give her enough time off to recover. Unfortunately Nannies are not robots, as much as some families would like them to be.

Don’t bank your Nanny hours!

It’s always good, if both sides are flexible to some degree, but banking your Nannie’s hours is something you shouldn’t do. I you for some reason don’t need your Nanny around, after you come home, or you want to spend morning alone with kids – that is completely okay. But don’t expect from your Nanny to be making these hours up. She was free and willing to work, you decided you don’t need her at that time, the hours are gone and not to be stored for when you want.

Babysitting with no heads up

Just because your Nanny is living in your house, doesn’t mean she is available to you all the time. Yes, there are emergencies, and she might have to step in from time to time, which is different. But if you regularly ask her to babysit the evening an hour before her day ends (even though you knew you have obligations in advance), or ask her “Are you in tonight, could you listen for the kids?” that is just a no go for so many Nannies. And to be honest, most of the live in Nannies will not like this, but will still do it, as they will feel guilty and obligated, since they live in your house. But is it so important to respect their time off, as that is essentially giving them time to recover and start fresh next day. It’s also important that your Nanny can plan her evenings and socialise with her friends or do a sports class. That will keep her happy and content, and not isolated and miserable. So whenever you can, plan your babysitting nights at the beginning of the week and give her plenty of notice – sure, it’s not always possible, but for most of the time it is.  If you do need your Nanny to be available to you 24/7 for whatever reason, than you make sure that she knows that from the get go, and she is also noticeably compensated for that. But that is a whole another ball game.

Respect privacy

As much as you love your privacy, your Nanny loves is too. She chooses to live in at her job for whatever reason, but that does not mean that she doesn’t love peace on her time off. And depending on how many hours she works, she is probably completely fine with being left to her own devices. The children that Nanny looks after might have a hard time understanding why their friend and one of the main caregivers is out of reach for them at the times. In that case it is good to set firm boundaries from the start so everyone feels comfortable and happy.

Make your Nanny feel appreciated

Every live in Nanny knows, that when you live with the family, the rules a not just black and white. If you go to the family kitchen, and there is something on the floor – you will pick it up, sometimes even do the dishes, while you are waiting for lunch to cook or put the wet laundry in the dryer. Even though it’s weekend and it’s actually your time off. There will be a lot things, a live in Nanny will do around the house, that might not be in her job description. But she does it, because she cares about your family and your home. So just make her feel appreciated. If you notice that your Nanny is constantly going the extra mile – let her know that. Remember her birthday – especially if she is to work that day. And be generous, if you can – no Nanny will be sad about extra cash bonus.

 

people-2941982_1920

 

I would like to write a post about how to be a good LIVE IN Nanny as well, as I think it is equally important. This post was definitely not about criticising the Nanny bosses, but purely informative nature. There might be some, that will not agree with this point of view, and many who will – and that is okay! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I think though, there is so many Nanny bosses out there who are just amazing, and that makes me very happy. I read about them all the time from my Nanny friends – and I, have been very lucky, to have some pretty fabulous bosses in my Nanny career.

I was writing in female form, but I know there is many Mannies out there now – which is so so great! Yay! – and I definitely am not here to discriminate, so just a little disclaimer, that the same goes for Live in Mannies 😉.

Please let me know, down in comments, if you have experience as a live in Nanny or Nanny boss with a live in Nanny. Maybe you have something to add? I would love to hear it! You can also contact me on my instagram or drop me an email on the.lovely.nanny.world@gmail.com

As always, sharing is caring!

The Lovely Nanny xx

MY GO TO RECIPES

I believe that good nutrition in early years is a solid foundation for a healthy life of a tiny human. With healthy and varied diet we instal important habits that will last a life time and give children a proper fuel they need for all they developmental needs. We as care givers (may it be Nanny, grandparents, parents, childminder etc) have to come up with a million new dishes, snacks and tasty treats that are going to win over little ones. Sometimes you succeed and sometimes you fail, but the ones that they like, will mostly likely become you go to recipes for any day.

As a Nanny (and I’m sure every parent too) I want to cook meals that as healthy but easy and take little to no time to prepare. I also want to be mind full about food waste, and want to make up the recipes, when I can use leftover from the day before. So I came to love these few go to recipes and wanted to share them with you. Some of them are one time favourite and few are a recent development that was well accepted by picky eaters.

 

BREAKFAST

Pancakes two ways:

  • Banana and egg pancake with a side of yoghurt

Two ingredients and such a yummy result. Mash banana and mix in an egg. I also add some vanilla to make it even more appealing. Pour small amount on hot pan and flip after a few min. You do have to be a bit more softer with these as they are quite delicate. Serve them with some yoghurt and blueberries.

IMG_0757

  • Stacking pancakes with condiments of choice

I rarely measure this recipe as I always do them with kids running around, and once you do it lots of times, it sort of just happen. But for the sake of you knowing how much and what to put in, here is a version of it.

Hand mix 2 eggs, add a cup of milk and vanilla. In a separate bowl mix 1 and a half spelt flour with a table spoon of baking powder than slowly add to the wet mixture and try not to leave to much lumps (but if there is any – oh well that is life). Consistency is quite thick, but it still pours nicely. You know the rest!

 

Rice pudding

Is also a good snack or dessert, but so so yummy for breakfast when it’s cold outside. It’s much faster if you have some left over rice in the fridge and you can speed up the process.  So than you put a cup of cooked rice in a source pan and ad a cup of milk, vanilla, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Leave to boil until the milk is reduced and rice is creamy. Serve in a bowl with some berries and a drizzle of maple syrup (or honey).

If you do it from scratch than you would need to add more milk (double) and it just takes longer as the rice is not cooked.

img_0904.jpg

 

Overnight oats

These are great for summer mornings, easy to prepare as you do most the night before, and basically just serve it next morning.

TO DO: Put half of a cup of rolled oats in a glass jar, add 3 spoons of yogurt and half a cup of milk of choice. Also add cinnamon and raspberries. Put in the fridge over nigh. In the morning take it out of the gas jar and add a little warm milk, just so it’s not super cold – more like room temperature.

This is just one of many variations you can do, but add whatever your kid likes. I would also recommend doing it with them, so they can chose what is inside. This is especially good, when there is a lot of drama and negotiating with breakfast in the morning. That way they do it, and it’s all ready for them, so no

 

LUNCH

Carrot and potato croquets

Boil one potato, grate one carrot – tap it with a kitchen towel to absorb the excess water, add egg, salt, pepper and majaron. When potato is cooked mashed it with a tea spoon of butter (coconut is best) and add to the carrot mixture. To all that add spelt flour and spoon out portions on hot skillet. Brown it on both sides – It does not take long – and take out on to the kitchen towel to absorb extra oils. Serve with some peas (or any other green veg).

IMG_7833

 

Rice and carrot omelette

This quick meal is great when you have left over rice. It’s so easy to make, but at the same time it provides all the right nutrients that the child needs, and it’s a finger food, which is especially good when the baby does not to be feed anymore. It’s also a good way to get kiddos eat egg, if they don’t like it on it’s own.

Just mix egg with some rice and grated carrot (1 egg, small carrot and 3 spoons of rice). Add spices and herbs of choice. Pour it on the hot pan (medium hot) and bake until it’s solid enough to turn around, and than sometimes I will sprinkle a little of parmesan cheese on top to add another flavour. serve with some veg – we tend to go for peas a lot as that seems to go down well, but I offer green beans and edamame as well with this meal.

 

DINNER

Sweet and sour chicken

Sauce: 2 table spoons of apple cider vinegar, 2 table spoons of sugar (coconut), 2 table spoons of ketchup, salt to taste. Bring to boil and add 1 tea spoon you previously mixed with 3 table spoons of cold water. Add and take of the stove (it will thicken quickly).

Chicken: Cut big chicken file in to a bite size pieces and add 1 table spoon of corn starch. Trow everything in a ziplock bag and shake. Add oil to pan and fry the chicken (without the plastic bag) 😉

Veg: Cut Carrot and red peppers to bite size pieces and steam them until tender and add them to the pan with chicken to fry for a min or two.

Transfer everything in a bowl and add the sauce.

Serve with steamed broccoli and rice.

 

fullsizeoutput_6da7.jpeg

 

Roasted Vegetables with feta and cuscus

Such a simple thing to do and lovely autumn dish. I love the recipes you put in the oven and a while after it’s dinner! They work especially good, when you cook while looking after the kids. I tend to pre cut the vegetables when children nap and than a little before it’s dinner time, I will pop it then oven, and it will be nice and fresh.

Cut butternut squash, red peppers, courgette, celery and beetroot. Put them all on the baking tray. Drizzle over some olive oil, add salt, pepper and rosemary. Roast until tender and nicely brown and crisp. Take them out of the oven and crumble feta cheese over the tray. Serve with cuscus.

 

Bolognese sauce with pasta

The ultimate meal that even the most picky eaters will love. I adopted the recipe from the wonderful Annabel Karmel and can now do it with my eyes closed. Only thing I change is I use majaron and not thyme, and I don’t use sugar. I love to make a big batch and just have portions on hand in the freezer. It really can save you on the days that are just to crazy. And on top of that it is a delicious and hearty meal full of hidden veg. Definitely head on her web site for more yummy recipes.

img_0963.jpg

 

I hope that gives you some inspiration and ideas for your future meals. I am by no means a trained chef, but some would say I am a tiny humans chef, and as we all know, it’s not easy to be one of those! What we all wish is for them to eat a well balanced diet and grow up healthy. I would be a so happy if I had help sparked some ideas to help you in that process.

As always Sharing is caring!

The Lovely Nanny xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECYCLE TO CRAFT

We live in a world where recycling has become totally normal and is part of our daily routine. It is particularly important to introduce recycling, and be an example, to the tiny humans. One way to do that, is by using things we have on hand – or would throw out.

We certainly don’t need to buy a lot of things to do a craft. Sure it’s lovely to get special papers, boxes, tubes, all sorts of glues, glitter and stickers. Sometimes we want to do a specific crafts, and that is perfectly fine. But I challenge you to go around the house and you will see there is a million things, you could use, to do all sorts of craft with children.

paper-2357299_1280

PAPER 

  • we all have things delivered – amazon boxes are usually in a really good condition and they are all brown (just remove the sellotape) and you have a great brown carton to work with.
  • toiler roll tubes and paper towel tubes
  • cling film and aluminium foil tubes
  • all sorts of small boxes (tea, crackers)
  • newspaper (so good for protecting the table and doing paper mâché)
  • egg containers
  • some nice wrap paper saved
  • napkins (also great for paper mâché)

PLASTIC

  • yogurt cups (there is all sorts and shapes out there!
  • disposable cutlery and plates
  • water bottles and their caps ( caps from fruit pouches are really good as they are all sorts of bright colours)
  • empty cosmetic packaging
  • vegetables packaging (square baskets from salads or peppers)

 

bottle-caps

GLASS

  • from all sorts of food items (jam, yogurt, olives)

YOU CAN ALSO USE

  • old fabric (pair of trousers that are ripped  – cut the good parts out)
  • old wood (if you have a wood shop near by, why don’t you stoop there and ask for some cut outs, they surely have a lot that they would maybe throw away otherwise)
  • metal parts (not sharp though!), could be old coins, screws with flat ends
  • funny shaped things you can get hands on

lixo

I have been very lucky, and sometimes I guess spoiled as well, as in all my Nanny positions I have had a lot of great materials bought, so I can do crafts with the kiddos. But as much as that is lovely, its also important to use what we have and not accumulate new things. That way we can help our lovely planet at least a little bit. The craft will not be any worse if it’s made from old material, and there is nothing that a little splash of colour and glue can’t fix!  The only thing that matters, when we do crafts with kids, is what they learn along the way and that they have fun!

I will aim to do a recycled craft now and than with kiddos, so join me, tag me in your recycled crafts, message me on instagram or send me an email on the.lovely.nanny.world@gmail.com and I would be happy to post all the crafts up here for everyone to see!

SHARING IS CARING!

The Lovely Nanny xx