Hi Nannies and Parents! Happy Thursday to you all!
Today I thought I’d share some of the childcare tips I’ve found to be useful and effective with all of my kiddos I’ve watched over the years. Over my 10 years of working with children I like to think I have seen it all. Granted I also know from those years that when it comes to kids you can never know it all 🙂 Everyday they do something new. Somedays it’s funny things, somedays it’s amazing new things, and somedays it’s really tough things to deal with! Every day spent with a child is a learning opportunity for you as the nanny or parent. You can learn a little more about what works and what doesn’t in your nanny/child or parent/child relationship. All of my relationships with my kiddos vary because each kid is unique and special and perfect in their own way. However I have found some pretty universal tips that work well with all of them! So here we go…
- Get down on the floor and play with them. Be as active with your child as you can. If they are having a spontaneous dance party, dance with them. If they are building blocks in the family room, get down and build along with them. As well as showing them you are interested in what they are doing, it can also teach them sharing and interactive play. Engage with them. Ask them questions. Join in the imaginative play. This is a great time to bond with your child as well. Ruby and I quite often have princess parties with her dolls.
- Talk to your child at their eye level. Get down on their level or bring them up to your eye level. This is especially important when talking about something they did that wasn’t okay. They feel less threatened or intimidated if you are calmly talking to them face-to-face versus raising you voice and standing up tall over them. They also tend to retain their information you are telling to them better because there is less distraction between the communication.
- Praise your child’s good behavior. Don’t just point out the bad. While it is important to correct your child when they do something wrong or inappropriate, it is even more important to point out and tell them what they are doing well. This can also be known as positive reinforcement. You are reinforcing your child’s good behavior. Simply saying “wow thank you for putting away your toys Sam,” will encourage your kid to keep doing that behavior. Other small things to praise and encourage are listening to you the first time you tell them to do something, clearing their dishes, using good manners, and being well behaved in public places.
- Choose your words you use in front of them wisely. If they are not allowed to say shut up, don’t say it in front of them to another person either. Children are little sponges they absorb everything you say, and I mean everything. If they hear you using certain phrases they will most likely imitate you because they don’t know any better. So be careful and keep your conversations as age appropriate as possible when they are in hearing distance. Other good words I found to avoid are hate, stupid, any swear word, and other words with strong negative connotations.
- Read to them. Reading aloud to your child helps develop language skills. Language development is crucial in a child’s development. The easiest and most fun way to expose them to language is through reading books with them. Read aloud to them at least once a day. Make going to the library to pick out books a fun adventure. Usually libraries these days have toys, blocks, comfy chairs, and other fun things to do while there, so you can make a morning of it. Also Barnes and Noble has a great kids program that rewards you with perks after you buy a certain amount of kids books. Ruby loves going to Barnes and Noble because they have blocks there. We always play with the blocks for a little while and then go to the books. Being able to play with the blocks motivates her to go to the bookstore. However once we get there she sees all the book’s, and sometimes she even ignores the blocks all together because she wants to read all the fun books.
- Build in an extra 10-15 before leaving the house. I have found this to be my number one stress reducing trick. Something always comes up when little ones are involved, whether it be needing to go potty, spilling juice, or forgetting blanky. All of those little accidents or moments can add up and make you feel stressed to push faster to get out the door. I’ve learned if I start preparing to leave to go to dance class (or the library, soccer practice, dinner, etc) 10 minutes before I think I need to, I usually end up getting out the door right when I need to. If you end up having no mishaps and get out the door super fast, getting somewhere with 10 minutes to spare never hurt anybody! When you are stressed your child can tell, and that usually stresses them out as well. Keep your cool and give yourself some extra time when possible.
- Give effective timeouts. Sometimes kids don’t always understand why what they did was wrong, especially if it is the first time they’ve done said thing. Explain to them what they’ve done wrong, why it is wrong, and why they need to have a time out. Make sure they get it before leaving them in their timeout. What seems clear to you may not be clear to them. Also make sure you are only leaving them there for a reasonable amount of time. 10 minutes to a toddler feels like an hour. 2-3 minute time outs for toddlers is enough. As they get older the time can/should increase to a degree, especially when they can understand the severity of their actions.
I hope you found some, if not all, of these tips helpful! Like I said above they are general universals I have found. I’ve had experiences with kids who range from needing strict guidelines and rules to kids who are okay with only a few. All these tips are all adaptable as well 🙂 Tailor which ever ones you like to your own family. Every family is different, but I’ve found these one’s tend to work with all kiddos!