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.

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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!

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TLN

NANNY AGENCIES

Da da da da (imagine a real serious music) 😁 Well Okay, I Have been listening to a podcast from founder of a Nanny agency, Lucy, about how we have to give Nanny agencies a break. And I thought I can write my view on the topic. It is a very touchy- feely subject, but I feel I have quite a lot of experiences with Nanny agencies in a different  countries, good and bad and really bad.

I was so incredibly excited when I signed with my first Nanny agency. I imagined it as they see me as a great professional who will be a good asset to their portfolio and I was just so thrilled I will be represented by the best in the business. I had deepest respect for them and seen them as the ones who will get me the jobs I want and represent me fairly. I had grown up since than a little, but it still catches me by surprise, that way too often when the Nanny agency places you with the family, they are done with you. That way too often you are not being put forward for the jobs you want (given you do fill all the criteria for it), that sometimes you will even be sent to the interview and there will be no-one there, or the family will be a really bad match for you – even though you said what you are looking for.

Once you learn how they operate (and I have to add it is not all of them that operate the same) than you kind of almost give up, as somehow the middle man (which is the agency) never seems to work in your favour. As much as they say how great you are and how they know you will be perfect for the jobs they are sending you to, it is really up to you to read between the lines and see what the situation is.

This is a view from one side – Nanny side. I also want to say that I do know how much hard work goes in to what the agencies are doing. Lots of times the clients (families) they are pitching the jobs for, have really poor communication with them and sometimes they even disappear. I imagine every day they also have to deal with Nannies who have to high demands – with too little experience. All that said I still feel many of them are not giving enough support to the people who they are actually placing in the positions.

When things go bad with families, and believe me – they do go bad (just scroll down a Nanny facebook page – you can read horrible things daily), the agencies lift their hands of the case and say they can not do anything. I do agree that problems that occurred on the job, you need to solve by yourself, but I cannot help but wonder, what to do when things really go south – when you are in a new country and the family trows you out, or you are not getting paid, being assaulted verbally…ect.).  I have a hinge that agencies who are big and busy and are constantly changing their staff, sort of loose the balance and there is no way that that agency is the right one to represent you.

Another problem I see is no update, working in the stone age since forever. But times change, people have different needs and no time. Just an example to give you. When I was looking for a new position a while ago, I signed with a few new agencies. For most of them I had to send in a new application form, which usually is at least 4 pages long, with all my details from my CV written in. Every form has different layout, for some of them I needed to instal new programs etc. Don’t get me wrong, I want the job, I have to put in the work, that is cristal clear to me, but at the time I was working 6 days a week and more plus some nights and every one of the forms took me hours to do. There was only Lucy’s agency that had this clever survey you have to fill in instead of the old boring Application form. I thought that was really good, and refreshing amongst all the other agencies.

I would also like to write about some positive things regarding Nanny agencies and there is definitely a light there. I have been signed with a lot of ”high end” agencies, that literally promised the world. From all of them I can literally count on one hand how many I can trust to represent my name. Those will usually be smaller agencies (but by no means small in work ethic and experience), and the ones that did not twerk the jobs when presenting them to me.
To conclude what I think is, if the agency is not what you think you want, than you have an option not to work with them anymore and focus on being loyal to agencies that work with you and for you. The ones who actually put you forward for the jobs, the ones who respect you millage and your worth. You also have to learn that some things (most of them) you will have to resolve yourself, and I promise you, that you will get really got at it. But we do learn all our lives, and don’t be so hard on yourself if you fail the first time.
BUT where to go to deal with all your work frustration other than to the agency, your family or your friends?  I will write about that soon! So stay tuned!
As always I would be very happy to see your comments and opinions on the topic. It would be great to start a debate so we can start changing thing for the better- for all of us. Maybe you have some experience first hand? Let me know, you can also DM me on instagram or write me on my email the.lovely.nanny.world@gmail.com
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TLN xx