Annabel has close to twenty years experience. She started working in a child care centre and was promoted up to a Director before making the career change to become a child carer/nanny. Here’s Annabel’s experience work with Littlehubs:
The ins and outs
Q: What safety checks are done?
A: “ I think it is second nature to me now. I am constantly scanning to ensure the children’s environment is safe. Conducting an initial check when you arrive at the house is critical. Parents are generally really good but they do leave things out on occasion. By doing this check when you arrive (ideally with the family), you eliminate any risk or blame that you have left things out throughout the day.”
Q: How do you communicate between the families?
A: “I would always update the parents each day with lots of photos. It’s important that they know their kids are safe and are having a good time while the parents are not there. A parent has never complained to me that they are being updated too much about what their kids are doing. Parents love photos and videos!”
Q: How do sleeping arrangements work?
A: “It depends on how old the kids are, I had two portable cots which I could set up in different rooms which helped if one of them was a restless sleeper. You do need to have appropriate bedding so if you are setting up a consistent arrangement, it’s important to have somewhere for all the kids to sleep. If the kids are both in the same routine, I have put them in the same room together but it really depends on how the kids are sleeping.”
Q: What do the families normally do about food each day?
A: “The parents will always tell me in advance if their kids have any allergies and if they do I won’t give the kids anything that their parents don’t provide. There is too much risk so setting the standard is extremely important. Schools and child care centres have strict rules about what you can and cannot bring so I try and abide by the same rules just to cover myself.”
Understand child care sharing
Q: Do you think child care sharing works?
A: “It definitely works! I have been really lucky over the years because the families I support have made the experience much easier. Ideally, you want to match kids who are similar ages. If you don’t, you face the risk of them having different routines and disrupting one another. When the kids are the same age, they also entertain one another which takes some of the pressure off you.”
Q: What’s the difference in nannying and putting your kids into a child care centre
A: “I have worked in both and my experiences are very different. My career began in a child care centre, I acted in multiple roles and finished up as a Director. I realised that I loved the children but the environment was just too chaotic.”
“As a nanny, the environment is much more relaxed. You can give the kids one on one time and you can actually help them learn and develop. Comparing this to a child care centre, there is just too much going on and the rules and restrictions make it very
difficult to provide a personalised service.”
Working with the kids
Q: Do you think certain age kids are better matched together?
A: “Most definitely, If the kids are a similar age they generally will have similar sleeping routines. The kids can also play with one another and they enjoy the company of someone else their own age. I think having a balance is key, you don’t want three newborns because that can be too much to handle. At the end of the day, the carer needs to be comfortable so I would generally ask them in advance.”
Q: What do the children do during the day?
A: “Creating a routine is extremely important but variety is key. They will get bored if you leave them in front of the TV all day, you need to stimulate their minds. Arts and crafts, reading and excursion e.g trips to the park are a great way for them to make friends and remain curious. In my opinion, outside activities are much more enjoyable for the kids, they love being outside.”