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!

Sharing is caring,

TLN

HOW TO PRACTICE GRATITUDE WITH KIDS

 

We live in a day and age where we have an overwhelming amount of things. Sometimes it’s super hard to be grateful for what you have, and be grateful for the things someone does for you rather than buys for you. For tiny humans that is just the same, especially after December when they usually get an enormous amount of things that they don’t even know what to do with.

I get it, I love buying presents for loved ones, but I’ve come to realise over the years that the most important thing is my relationship with the person, I want to give a gift to, and my time with them, no present can substitute that. So, I wanted to write down a few ways we can practice gratitude on a daily basis with children. It does matter what we instil in their little minds from early on, what patterns we shape, so I think this will be a good thing to do all year around, but especially around and after holidays.

 

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The Gratitude Game

The game needs ideally three or more players and one person to serve as a timekeeper. Have everyone sit in a circle with one person starting off saying, “I am grateful for [fill in the blank].” That person has five seconds to come up with something for which they are thankful, whether it be their favourite stuffed animal, food or activity. As soon as the first person finishes, the person to the left goes. “The key is to say what you are grateful for without repeating, and without pausing for more than five seconds,” by Lennay Chapman.

Goodnight Gratitude

Every night before or after bedtime story we can say what we are grateful for. This makes for a nice finish to the day and leaves us feeling good and happy.

Be Thankful for Others’ Hard Work

Teaching your children to be thankful for the hard work everyone put into making the life easier and happier for us is crucial to raising unspoiled children. No matter how many staff you have at home teaching children to appreciate what everyone does for them is just right.

Random Acts of kindness

Being nice and kind in never overrated. Teaching by example and letting children know that just doing a small thing like helping an older lady with the groceries or picking something someone lost and give it to them can make their whole day and change the world for better. That might sound silly but that is exactly how we start, with small things in our community.

Say Thank you and Mean It

We throw thank you around a lot, but do we really mean it? Maybe say thank you less but when you do, really mean it. When we teach children to say thank you, let them say it in a full sentence like: ‘Thank you daddy for repairing this for me’. That way ‘thank you’ is not just a word, but a mean to let someone know they appreciate them.

Think of Others

Do small things/surprises for your loved ones, like buy their favourite fruit, make a card, make the bed or clean the office and involve kids in it. Ask them what they think would make someone happy.

 

 

gratitude

There is really many many ways we can practice gratitude with kids and create a happy life. I hope this will give you some ideas and bring you joy while doing it. I would love to hear how are you practising gratitude? Let me know in the comments!

The Lovely Nanny xx

 

P.S. I originally wrote this blog post for blog of a lovely Nanny from Australia that live and works in London.

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.

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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)

 

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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