Ask any parent with one and they will agree – a nanny is a vital part of their everyday lives.
Child minders are those who are responsible for the safety, care, and well being of children ranging from newborn to adolescence. Whether you are a nanny or night nurse, maternity nurse, governess, tutor, babysitter or au pair you no doubt have an interesting story to tell.
One of our team members had the opportunity to speak with Karishma, a qualified and experienced nanny currently living and working in South London. She shared with us what it is like dedicating a career caring to other people’s children, and the natural bond that transpires between nanny and the family.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your journey into childcare?
From a young age I have always loved and been intrigued with little children. In all honesty, I don’t think I have ever really grown up as I still feel like a huge child at heart. I knew I wanted to work with kids right from the start and so I started my career in childcare in a nursery setting. I worked in the toddler room while studying for a Level 3 diploma in Early Years Development. This gave me a great sense and insight into the world of childcare, and it taught me so much about what it entails. Working at the nursery was a great foundation for me as it helped build my confidence with young children. I was lucky as I had the opportunity to learn and receive support from a full team.
After two years of studying and working with loads of wonderful little ones I left the nursery with my Level 3 certification and moved to London where I started searching for a family to nanny for. I truly landed on my feet with a lovely family and from there my nanny career started. I have since sadly left them and have joined with another beautiful family!
Some might say that being a nanny is one of the toughest gigs. What do you think about that?
I would say I agree with that but in a very positive way. The job of a nanny is very important and can be very tough at times, but in my eyes, it is the best job in the world. There are a few aspects that can be tough, but I truly believe it’s what makes it such a special job. Physically it’s very demanding as you are running around all day doing different activities and school runs. In my opinion being so active with children is good for your health as it’s forced exercise everyday. And mentally it can be quite challenging because you grow to love each child you look after so much, and the bond is so strong that when the time comes to move on and find a different family it is the most heart-breaking thing ever. That said, I am lucky enough to be in touch with all my previous families so it’s not like you’ll never see them again.
What are some of your basic responsibilities?
Some everyday basic responsibilities include, getting kids ready, maintaining hygiene, preparing and giving the children their meals and ensuring the kids are safe and happy throughout the day, whether they are on a play date or involved in extracurricular activities.
A typical day in the life of “me” would usually consist of arriving at work nice and early and getting the little ones ready for the day. Depending on the ages of the children, they may need assistance with getting ready for school or nursery or just getting up and dressed for a day full of fun! The little teeth need to be brushed, breakfast had and then our mornings are normally spent doing some fun activities, such as music or arts and crafts. We can also play dress up or play with playdough. We would normally get out on bikes or scooters if the weather is nice and with that of course comes the responsibility of keeping children safe on busy roads,
Then comes lunchtime, school pick-ups, afternoon play dates, and extracurricular activities. Another important responsibility of mine is to ensure that the children are where they need to be at all times, for example, arriving on time for dancing and swimming lessons.
My work day usually ends with having a nice dinner with the children, followed by their nighttime routine comprised of bath time, getting them ready for bed and reading them stories.
What do you feel is (more) important, formal childcare qualifications or experience?
Some nannies study early childhood development and their jobs evolve from teaching, others graduate from prestigious schools with a specific training certification while others start out as babysitters and learn as they go.
I personally believe that in order to excel when working with little ones, you really need to understand how their brains work and why they act the way they do. I think it’s important to have an understanding and to have learnt about children, so you are aware what is emotionally and behaviourally appropriate during their formative years. This being said, the education does not define you as a nanny and you can still be absolutely amazing even if you don’t have any formal training.
How important is discretion in your role?
In terms of confidentiality, most families require you to keep their personal details and any matters discussed in the household private? Privacy and confidentiality are essential for most UHNW or HNW families, but every family will have different requirements.
Can you humour us with a few ‘nanny problems’ that you have encountered throughout your career?
Ha-ha, well every day is surely different, and you just cannot predict anything. I think a common one is probably toilet incidents, such as having wee wee accidents in awkward and random places. I have had a few instances where I have been caught off guard with a toilet emergency and have had to just make do. Bless the little ones though…when you have go, you just have to go!
Sometimes things can get a bit tricky if the little ones are hungry or tired, and Mondays tend to be a little trickier if the children have had a busy weekend – this can be a cause for some tears and maybe grumpy children!
One other thing I would definitely say is to never be disheartened if things don’t go according to plan or the routine is messed up for a day or so; children are so unpredictable and you need to be able to just change plans last minute and move things around! As long as the little ones are safe and happy, then having a little switch around with plans or doing things differently for a few days does not matter!
A great skill the nanny role has taught me is to cook so many different healthy meals! Seeing the real Peppa Pig live has also been a great experience!
What is the key to a healthy and happy nanny/parent relationship?
I think the main thing is good communication! At the end of the day, a family appoints a nanny to ensure the smooth running of their day, so that the parents can head off to work, feeling confident that their children are safe. That’s the aim of the game, so I believe that keeping parents up to date and having open communication always works as they love to know how the children are getting on and what they are up to! I have been so lucky with all the families I have worked for having just built a very positive relationship with them all and eventually becoming a part of the family! This, to me, is also one of the many wonderful aspects of being a nanny!
What traits do you believe are required in order to succeed with children?
I would definitely say being patient, fun loving, energetic and kind are the main characteristics you need to be a nanny! Of course, being dependable is also very important.
We know that working can sometimes be all-encompassing. How do you manage your work schedule and still find time for yourself and your own family?
In order to excel at being a nanny, I truly believe it’s about balance. It’s a very high energy, physically intense job and you need to get good rest and down time in order to on top of your game the next day. This means that as a person, having good time management skills are definitely key and also not making too many plans in evenings or on the weekend, because trust me, you’ll probably want to spend most of your free time in bed – at least the first few months anyway, until you get into a groove and routine!
Do you have advice for future nanny candidates?
I would say” go for it!” Being a nanny is a unique type of job and sometimes even comes with perks, such as travel opportunities. The job allows you to constantly build new relationships as you make friends with little ones and other nannies. Mostly, this job is about having a whole lot of fun! Resilience is key when becoming a nanny because it is tough, and you’ll certainly feel it after a week or so. Stick with it, you won’t regret it!
What is the best thing about your job?
There are so many amazing things about being a nanny. The best for me, though, would have to be the special bond that you build with the little ones. Arriving at work and having them run to the door because they cannot wait to see you is just so amazing. It is a feeling of joy that I would not trade for anything in the world.
Turning up every morning to smiley and excited little faces peeping out the window brings me so much joy! I love the fact that every day is different. We can go for picnics in the park, swimming lessons or indoor trampoline parks and then on rainy days, painting or baking at home is always fun! I leave work everyday feeling content that I have had a positive impact on a little life and that is a magical feeling in itself.
Hiring a nanny for your child can be an overwhelming process. You will be introducing someone into your life and home, counting on them and trusting them to help take care of your children, potentially for years. While providing safety and well being for children might be a priority, a family may at the same time, need an efficient housekeeper, Au Pair or even Tutor to keep everything running smoothly.
At 19 London we pride ourselves on placing qualified, screened, and experienced nannies, tutors and housekeepers to meet all your families’ needs and exceed expectations. Get in touch with 19 London today so we can hear more about our recruitment needs!