There’s certain things a lot of people think must just be a given if you’re a nanny. But we’re all unique and have different interests and strengths! I decided it was time to ‘own up’ about some of these that just don’t apply to me.
Loves to bake? Doesn’t happen often.
Ah, that nurturing scent of freshly baked muffins, and the joys of mixing and icing cookies with children… It’s just not something I tend to do often. I think I’ve baked maybe 15 times in the past 8 years. (That’s how rare it is – I can remember specific instances!) I guess I don’t think of it as an activity and only really do it if there is a special occasion or purpose for it. I much prefer cooking (savory meals).
Baking is something I can do (and I’ve had the chance to do a little more during my current time away from nannying during the pandemic), but I wouldn’t call it a natural skill. I’m not a big fan of sweets, and I live alone so I wouldn’t often think of baking things for myself. The children I care for typically don’t need regular baked goods either. Baking together is a great activity, but for me, it’s a sometimes activity. I do love to make treats for teachers and visitors when the occasion comes up though!
Artsy Craftsy? Not so muchy.
Whether coaching the kids through intricate creations from Pinterest (which I actually don’t use…) or letting them put together their own creations (no matter how much mess it makes or how many resources they use), many nannies have a knack for crafting. It’s never been something I’ve gravitated towards, and only has a large focus in my work if the children show a particular interest. The mess and clutter of using tons of resources honestly made me cringe when I helped out in one of my nanny children’s kindergarten classes!.
For the occasional birthday or holiday I’ve helped children make things for their parents or teachers. Once a 2 year old decided his mother would like a pop-up snake birthday card, so we made it happen! I have always given opportunities for children to explore arts and crafts of their own ideas. But there are no daily or weekly creations showing up from their time with me. I’m much more likely to have them drawing in the sand or dirt, or creating a pattern with leaves, rocks, and flowers.
Adores babies? Give me a toddler.
This is something that nannies are actually somewhat divided on. Not every nanny is a ‘baby nanny’, and I certainly don’t identify as one. When I was starting out as a babysitter, I never had the opportunity to work with babies, and it wasn’t something I pursued later. Sure, there have been babies that I’ve enjoyed spending time with – baby siblings of former nanny kids, and babies of other people I love – but I’ve never had a passion for taking a full-time ongoing nanny position starting with a baby.
On the other hand, I LOVE toddlers.. Which is a feeling a lot of nannies and parents don’t share with me. Really, once they start talking (or just before) and walking is when I’m in my element. I feel like my strengths lie in caring for toddlers and preschoolers, rather than meeting the needs of young babies. Also, everyone is familiar with baby sleep experts, which is not me, but I have been really successful at promoting great sleep habits and routines in that 15mo-4yo age range.
At-home purpose-made resources? I’d rather be out adventuring
I’m on Instagram. I see so many of the intricate activities and resources and plans caregivers have put together for young children. They make me feel inspired and a little envious, but it’s not actually something I tend to want to do. I’m quite the minimalist, and as much as I love some of the learning tools people make, I’m an advocate for learning through natural resources, play, and daily life. Sensory kits are amazing, but they use so many materials. Sorting coloured shapes into bowls is great, but we don’t need something purpose-built for that.
I prefer going to the playground, to the beach. Exploring the natural world and local community, and travelling (when we can!) to learn about objects and environments. Counting pushes on a swing, singing about the colours that we see, feeling the textures of the trees. Interacting with people we meet at the park, schedule playdates with, or encounter in a business. I don’t love staying in the house all day, but when we need to there are existing household items that can facilitate learning and spark a sense of fun. Finding matching socks in the laundry basket is a fun one! So while I have to admit I sometimes have fantasies about having themes of the week or a ton of specific resources, when it comes down to it that’s just not my style. And that’s ok.