Nanny lesson

Lessons You Can Learn From a Nanny

We examine some of the parenting skills you can learn from a nanny and what they can teach you about your kids.

Nannies spend years taking care of children, learning valuable tips and tricks along the way. How to get them to eat their vegetables, how to keep them entertained — these are all questions nannies can answer. So why not learn from their collective wisdom?

Here are 12 parenting skills that you can learn from your nanny:

1. Be involved

Even if you’re having a hectic, stressful week, it’s important that you make time to connect with your kids on a daily basis. All it takes is 15 minutes and a good book or puzzle. Kids want to know their parents are invested in them and may act out when they lose that connection. Give them your undivided attention for a short time each day as a way to let them know they have you. You might even want to let your child decide what you’ll do during this special time together.

2. Life is meant to be flexible

If you’re often out and about with your little one, it can be difficult to stick to a strict 1 p.m. nap time. Instead, work off of your child’s cues and have a set routine that takes place before nap time. It’s the pre-nap routine — made up of things like lunch and story time — that truly helps your child unwind.

3. Meal time can be fun

For some, presentation is everything, which is why you should try serving your child colourful foods on fun plates. But if your little one still refuses food, you may want to have her checked for allergies. If they avoid eating in the beginning and at an age when children are typically excited about food, it may be because the food is upsetting their stomach.

4. Teach your kids about responsibility

Kids can pick up after themselves from a young age. Encouraging your child to try to clean up his own messes is a great way to teach him about being responsible. Looking after a pet is also a great way to learn about responsibility. But don’t forget to keep a watchful eye and lend a hand when needed.

5. Make reading enjoyable

Going to the library should be fun. By taking advantage of all of the workshops and activities that your local facility has to offer, you can encourage your child to develop a love for reading early on. You should check to see if your library has a free story time for babies or toddlers as well.

6. Put on your acting shoes

Being the authority figure can be tiresome. Try reversing roles with your kids every once in a while, so that they can learn to think through a situation themselves. For example, if your child refuses to put on their seatbelt, you can act like you’re not putting yours on and have them tell you why it’s not safe.

7. Try not to get stressed out

Babies and kids pick up on stress easily. If you act stressed out about mealtime or bedtime, they’ll feel it, which might lead to a battle of wills.

8. Make sure that no means no

If you use the word ‘no’ too often, your kids will rebel. But when it’s something important and you say ‘no’, then they should listen. So be sure to watch your use of the two-letter word, even when you’re not speaking directly to your kids.

9. Use positive reinforcement

Don’t forget to praise your child when they do wonderful things throughout the day!

10. Know when to tell your kids about your plans for the day

How many times have you handled a tantrum resulting from a canceled play date or event? In an effort to avoid these types of incidents don’t tell kids about an activity until they are ready to head out the door.

11. Teach your kids to sleep just about anywhere

Many newborn babies can only sleep well in dark, quiet rooms. But it’s important to let children learn to sleep with background noise. It depends on your lifestyle, but you may find it helpful to have a child adapt to your routine to a certain extent.

12. Live simply

No one likes a cluttered home. Instead of hitting the toy store, you should try to find ways to make new games out of the toys and supplies you already have. Who doesn’t love a good game of laundry basketball?

Have you learned any parenting skills from nannies over the years? Let us know in the comments below!

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