Let’s Go to the Public Library!

As a professional nanny, one of the most important roles you play is that of a child’s educator. While it may be tempting to rely solely on electronic devices or your own knowledge to teach children, it’s important to remember that other valuable resources can help you, and one of the most valuable of these resources is your local public library. In this blog post, we’ll explore the many benefits of involving children with the local public library.

Access to a Wide Range of Materials

One of the biggest benefits of the public library is the wide range of materials available; from picture books and board books to chapter books and young adult literature, the public library has something for children of all ages and interests. Additionally, many libraries offer access to audiobooks, e-books, and even streaming video services, allowing children to access a variety of materials in multiple formats.

As a nanny, you can use the public library to help children explore their interests and discover new topics. For example, if a child shows an interest in dinosaurs, you can help them find books, videos, and other materials on the topic. If they enjoy drawing, you can help them find art books and magazines. By using the public library to supplement your own knowledge and expertise, you can help children learn and grow in a way that is tailored to their individual needs and interests.

Let’s Go to the Public Library!

Opportunities for Socialisation

Another benefit of involving children in the public library is the opportunity for socialisation. Many libraries offer story time, reading clubs, and other programs specifically designed for children. These programs not only provide an opportunity for children to interact with their peers but also allow them to learn important social skills such as sharing, taking turns, and following directions.

Additionally, many libraries offer family-friendly events throughout the year, such as holiday parties, craft fairs, and author readings. These events provide an opportunity for families to come together and have fun while also learning something new.

Support for Early Literacy

The public library can be a valuable resource for supporting early literacy skills. Many libraries offer early literacy programs that focus on developing skills such as letter recognition, phonics, and vocabulary. These programs are designed to be fun and engaging, using songs, rhymes, and other activities to help children learn.

Nannies can use the public library to supplement their own efforts to support early literacy skills. For example, you can borrow books and other materials that focus on specific skills, such as letter recognition or phonics. You can also attend early literacy programs with the children you care for, providing them with additional opportunities to learn and grow.

Let’s Go to the Public Library!

Exposure to Different Cultures and Perspectives

The public library can be a valuable resource for exposing children to different cultures and perspectives. Many libraries offer materials in multiple languages, as well as books and other resources that focus on different cultures and traditions. By using the public library to explore these materials, children can gain a greater understanding of the world around them and develop empathy and understanding for others.

Using the public library is a simple and effective way to help children learn about different cultures and perspectives. For example, you can borrow books and other materials that focus on different countries or traditions. You can also attend cultural events and programs with the children you care for, providing them with an opportunity to learn about different customs and traditions.

Development of Critical Thinking Skills

The public library can also be a valuable resource for developing critical thinking skills. By reading books and other materials, children are exposed to a variety of ideas and concepts, which can help them develop their critical thinking skills. Additionally, many libraries offer puzzles, games, and other activities that require critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

When working as a nanny, you can use the public library to help children develop their critical thinking skills. For example, you can borrow books and other materials that challenge children to think critically and ask questions. You can also participate in library programs that focus on problem-solving and other critical thinking skills.

Let’s Go to the Public Library!

Encourages a Love of Reading

Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of involving children in the public library is the encouragement of a love of reading. By exposing children to a variety of books and other materials, the public library can help foster a lifelong love of reading. Children who enjoy reading are more likely to do well academically, have higher self-esteem, and be more successful in life.

Nannies can help to encourage a love of reading in the children they care for, and the library can be a great resource for doing this. By taking children to the library regularly and exposing them to a variety of materials, you can help them find books and other materials that they enjoy. Additionally, you can set aside time for reading each day, either alone or together, to encourage a love of reading.

Saves Money

Another benefit of involving children in the public library is that it can save money. Purchasing books, videos, and other materials can be expensive, especially if you need to do so frequently to keep up with a child’s interests and needs. By using the public library, you can borrow materials for free, saving money and allowing you to provide children with a variety of materials.

Let’s Go to the Public Library!

Teaches Responsibility

Using the public library can also help teach children responsibility. When borrowing materials, children need to learn to take care of them and return them on time. They also need to learn how to handle materials appropriately to avoid damage. By borrowing materials from the public library, children can learn these important skills, which will serve them well throughout their lives.

As a nanny, you can help reinforce these skills by reminding children to handle borrowed materials with care and helping them return materials on time. You can also use borrowed materials as a teaching opportunity, discussing responsibility and the importance of taking care of things that belong to others.

Provides a Safe and Welcoming Environment

Finally, the public library can provide a safe and welcoming environment for children. Libraries are designed to be quiet and peaceful places, which can be a welcome change from the noise and chaos of everyday life. Additionally, libraries are staffed by trained professionals who are knowledgeable about children’s needs and interests.

When working as a nanny, you can use the public library to provide children with a safe and welcoming environment where they can learn and grow. By taking children to the library regularly, you can help them develop a sense of comfort and familiarity with the library, which can make it a go-to destination for learning and exploration.

Let’s Go to the Public Library!

Involving children with the public library can have a variety of benefits, from access to a wide range of materials to the development of critical thinking skills and a love of reading. By using the public library as a resource in your work as a nanny, you can help children learn and grow in a way that is tailored to their individual needs and interests. So the next time you’re looking for a fun and engaging activity for the children you care for, consider a trip to your local public library.

If you want to find out more about planning activities and outings that can support children’s development across a range of different areas of learning, then check out our Caring for Children. This course has a dedicated unit that teaches professional nannies how they can better plan their day when working with children in different age groups. If you’d like to be the best possible nanny you can be and be confident in scheduling the perfect activities for your charges, visit us today at www.international-nanny.institute to learn more about our courses.

International Nanny Institute

Nature Inspired Art: Leaf Rubbing

As a professional nanny, finding exciting new ways to engage and educate the children you look after is a big part of your role. Leaf rubbing is a fun and educational art activity that can help young children develop their fine motor skills and creativity, while also fostering an appreciation for the natural world. 

In this blog post, we will explore how nannies can organise and carry out this activity with young children, supporting them to make their own artwork, and we will also examine the benefits of this activity.

How to Collect Leaves for Leaf Rubbing Artwork

Before you can make leaf rubbing artwork with young children, you will need to collect leaves. This can be made into a part of the activity too, extending the process and building anticipation.

Choose a variety of leaves

When collecting leaves for leaf rubbing artwork, it’s important to choose a variety of leaves with different shapes and sizes. This will allow children to create a range of different designs and patterns.

Nature Inspired Art: Leaf Rubbing

Collect leaves in the fall

Fall is the best time to collect leaves for leaf rubbing artwork because the leaves are often brightly coloured and have fallen from the trees, making them easier to collect.

Look for leaves in different environments

Encourage children to collect leaves from different environments, such as parks, gardens, and nature trails. This will allow them to see the variety of leaves that can be found in different settings.

Handle leaves gently

When collecting leaves, it’s important to handle them gently to avoid damaging them. Encourage children to pick up leaves by the stem and handle them with care.

Identify leaves

Take the opportunity to identify the leaves that you collect with the children. You can use books or online resources to help identify the leaves and learn more about the trees that they come from.

How to Make Leaf Rubbing Artwork

Nature Inspired Art: Leaf Rubbing

Once you have collected leaves, it’s time to make leaf rubbing artwork. Here are the steps to follow:

Gather materials

To make leaf rubbing artwork, you will need:

  • Leaves
  • Paper
  • Crayons or coloured pencils
  • Tape

Tape the leaves to the paper

Place the leaves onto a piece of paper, with the veins facing up. Use tape to secure the leaves in place, masking tape is best to use for this as it can be removed easily without tearing the paper later on.

Rub the paper with crayons or coloured pencils

Using a crayon or coloured pencil, rub over the paper to create an imprint of the leaf. Encourage children to experiment with different colours and textures.

Remove the leaves

Once the rubbing is complete, carefully remove the leaves from the paper to reveal the leaf imprint.

Display the artwork

Display the leaf rubbing artwork in a prominent place where children can admire their creations.

Benefits of Leaf Rubbing Artwork for Young Children

Leaf rubbing artwork offers numerous benefits for young children, including:

Nature Inspired Art: Leaf Rubbing

Develops fine motor skills

Leaf rubbing artwork requires fine motor skills, such as hand-eye coordination, finger dexterity, and precision. By practising leaf rubbing, children can develop these skills and improve their overall motor control.

Enhances creativity

Leaf rubbing allows children to express their creativity and imagination through their designs. By choosing different colours and textures, children can create unique and personalised designs that reflect their personalities and interests.

Fosters an appreciation for nature

Leaf rubbing artwork encourages children to explore and appreciate the natural world. By collecting leaves and creating artwork with them, children can learn about the different types of leaves and the trees that they come from.

Improves concentration

Leaf rubbing requires a high level of concentration and focus, which can help children improve their attention span and concentration skills.

Boosts self-esteem

Completing a leaf rubbing design can provide children with a sense of accomplishment and boost their self-esteem. Seeing their finished design can give them a sense of pride and satisfaction, which can help build their self-confidence.

Additional Activities to Incorporate with Leaf Rubbing Artwork

Leaf rubbing artwork can be incorporated into a variety of other activities to help promote learning and creativity. Below are some additional activities that can be combined with leaf rubbing:

Nature Walks

Take children on a nature walk to collect leaves for leaf rubbing artwork. Encourage them to identify the different types of leaves and learn about the trees that they come from.

Leaf Identification

Use books or online resources to help identify the leaves that you collect with the children. This can help children learn about the different types of trees and the ecosystems that they support.


Encourage children to create leaf rubbing artwork based on their favourite stories or books. This can help them develop their creativity and imagination while also promoting literacy and reading skills.

Leaf rubbing artwork is a fun and engaging activity that can help young children develop a range of skills, including fine motor skills, creativity, and an appreciation for nature. By collecting leaves and creating artwork with them, nannies can provide children with a fun and rewarding activity that can promote learning and development. 

If you’d like to find out more about the benefits of teaching children about nature, or how to do this in a meaningful way, our Alternative Approaches course has a session on the Forest School approach.

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Creating a Pre-writing Environment

As a nanny, you have the opportunity to play a role in helping young children become excited about writing. Writing is an essential skill that opens up avenues for communication, creativity, and critical thinking. It is crucial to create a pre-writing environment in the family home to nurture this skill in young children. In this article, we will cover tips and tricks for nannies to engage children in writing while creating a pre-writing environment in the family home.

Benefits of Encouraging Writing to Toddlers and Young Children

There are plenty of benefits to nannies supporting children with their pre-writing skills. These skills underpin development in a range of different areas which we look at in some more detail below:

Creating a Pre-writing Environment

Enhances Communication and Language Development

Writing plays a critical role in language and communication development. Encouraging children to write helps them learn new words, practise their sentence construction, and improve their vocabulary and comprehension.

Develops Fine Motor Skills

Writing activities involve the use of precise motor movements to hold a writing instrument, control the movement of the hand, and manipulate materials. This process helps in the development of fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and dexterity of the hand.

Sparks Creativity and Imagination

Writing is a creative activity that can unleash a child’s imagination. The freedom to express themselves through writing encourages children to explore their thoughts, feelings, ideas, and experiences.

Cultivates Critical Thinking

Writing promotes critical thinking and problem-solving. When writing, children learn to analyse information, draw conclusions, make judgments and apply information to specific situations.

How to Create a Pre-Writing Environment in the Family Home

Much of what you can read about pre-writing skills online is tailored towards preschools or nursery settings but Nannies play a unique and vital role in supporting children’s development in a home environment. Here we consider how this can be done effectively.

Creating a Pre-writing Environment

Provide Writing Tools

Providing children with developmentally appropriate writing tools helps ignite their interest in writing. Colourful and child-friendly tools like crayons, markers, chalk, and pencils can help children express themselves, experiment with writing, and facilitate communication.

Incorporate Writing into Daily Activities

Incorporating writing activities in the child’s everyday activities is an excellent way to develop their interest in writing. Activities such as helping with grocery lists, writing menu ideas, and birthday cards can encourage language development and allow children to practise their fine motor skills.

Make It Fun

Making writing interesting, and fun can help children develop a love for writing. Incorporate fun games like writing comics, writing a story one letter at a time, hangman, and creating picture stories to pique their interest.

Creating a Pre-writing Environment

Encourage Creative Writing

Creative writing allows children to explore their imagination and provides an opportunity to express themselves. Encourage children to write stories, and poetry, and create imaginary worlds to help them develop their critical thinking and foster their creativity.

Start with Small Writing Exercises

Starting small helps children build confidence, and taking baby steps in writing development and building a healthy foundation from the beginning. Provide writing exercises like copying sentences, tracing letters, or free-writing activities to help children practise their writing skills.

Read and Write Together

Incorporating writing and reading as a joint activity helps create a value for writing and develops their language and writing skills. Shared writing activities such as keeping a journal or writing letters to pen pals can help children build their communication and writing capabilities.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement that encourages and celebrates a child’s achievements in writing is fundamental in helping establish self-confidence and motivation. Praising every small achievement, rewarding stickers for completing writing exercises, and providing words of encouragement and support helps keep children motivated.

Activities to Encourage Writing in Young Children

Encouraging writing should be part of a nanny’s role but it needs to be done in a low-pressure, fun way. These are some ideas of activities to try which may help to support children’s early writing

Creating a Pre-writing Environment

Drawing and Writing

Ask children to draw pictures of stories, animals, or their favourite characters while encouraging them to write short descriptions about their artwork. Drawing and writing enable children to express their thoughts and ideas as well as develop their fine motor skills and handwriting abilities.

Memory Book

Writing a memory book allows children to record their special memories and events throughout the year. They could write letters to their future self, and record fun family events, birthday celebrations or day trips.

Making Lists

Making a list helps children organise their thoughts while developing writing skills. Assist and encourage children to make various types of lists such as grocery shopping lists, books they want to read, and lists of their favourite music or even bucket lists for different seasons e.g. a Spring Bucket List.

Creating a Pre-writing Environment

Nannies can play an essential role in encouraging young children to write. Creating a pre-writing environment in the family home to enhance communication, fine motor skills, critical thinking, and imagination. Providing age-appropriate writing tools, making writing fun, incorporating writing into daily activities, and reading together are some of the ways nannies can encourage writing skills. Fun writing activities like drawing and writing, memory books, making lists, writing challenges, and letter writing can further pique children’s interest in writing. Supporting children with positive reinforcement, encouragement, and motivation can help establish self-confidence and motivation. Nannies can make their role in creating an environment that fosters a love for writing while providing opportunities for children to advance their writing skills. By using these tips and activities, you can help spark a child’s interest in writing and establish a love for learning that can last a lifetime.

If you want to become more confident and knowledgeable when supporting children’s development in a range of different areas, including emergent literacy, check out our Early Years Childcare course. This course has been designed by Early Years experts and will help you gain insight into the different areas of learning and how these can be supported at various ages and stages of development. If you’d like to learn more about Early Years Childcare to help develop your nanny career, visit us at www.international-nanny.institute today!

Creating a Pre-reading Environment

As a nanny, you have an incredible opportunity to help introduce young children to the joys of reading. Reading is a critical skill that lays the foundation for success in both the academic and personal lives of children. By creating a pre-reading environment in the family home, nannies can help set children up for a lifetime of learning, curiosity, and exploration. In this article, we will explore tips and strategies for nannies to help toddlers and young children get excited about reading and create a pre-reading environment in the family home.

Benefits of Reading to Toddlers and Young Children

Creating a Pre-reading Environment

As well as the obvious benefits of boosting children’s ability to read when the time comes and providing a pleasurable pastime, there are many benefits of promoting pre-reading skills which impact on  children’s overall wellbeing and different areas of development. Here we explore some of those:

Enhances Language and Cognitive Development

Reading plays an essential role in the language and cognitive development of young children. It exposes them to a broad range of vocabulary, sentence structure, and syntax, which helps build their language skills and comprehension abilities.

Develops Imagination and Creativity

Reading provides an escape from reality and opens up new worlds of imagination and creativity. It allows children to explore new ideas, places, and perspectives, nurturing their minds with a deeper understanding of the world around them.

Creating a Pre-reading Environment

Cultivates Critical Thinking

Reading promotes critical thinking and problem-solving. Through reading, children learn to analyse information, draw conclusions, and apply knowledge to specific situations, all of which are critical analytical skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.

Sparks Curiosity and Love for Learning

Reading helps foster a love for learning and a thirst for knowledge in children. It encourages them to explore new interests and topics, expand their minds, and pursue lifelong learning.

How to Create a Pre-Reading Environment in the Family Home

Nannies have the unique position of providing children with early care and education in a home environment. There are many ways that the home environment can be leveraged and enhanced in order to support pre-reading skills. These are some of the ways that nannies can create a pre-reading environment in a family’s home.

Provide Age-Appropriate Books

Provide age-appropriate books for children to read, engage and immerse in stories. Ensure that you have a variety of books that cater to different interests, reading levels, and genres to promote curiosity and exploration.

Create a Dedicated Reading Space

Creating a dedicated reading space in the home helps to set the tone for reading as a consistent activity. The reading space can be cosy with colourful pillows, comfortable chairs, or bean bags in a quiet and well-lit room, warding off distractions and maximising the reading environment.

Creating a Pre-reading Environment

Read Aloud

Reading aloud to children helps develop their language skills, increase their vocabulary, and develop their comprehension and critical thinking skills. Encourage and engage children to participate in the reading process by asking them questions and allowing them to interact with the story.

Set a Positive Reading Example

As a nanny, setting a positive reading example within the family is crucial! Children tend to be influenced by the behaviours of their caretakers, seeing them reading and enjoying books helps encourage children to become avid readers themselves.

Creating a Pre-reading Environment

Encourage a Love for Libraries

Visiting the library is a perfect way to show children the world of literature, offers access to an abundance of books, and is an excellent way to expose young children to the world of literature. Encouraging visits to the library, borrowing books and attending library programmes can further foster a passion for reading in children.

Make It Fun

Making reading fun is the key to keeping children engaged and excited about it. Incorporating fun activities like puzzles and colouring pages related to the books they’ve read, costumes or acting out scenes from books, and drawing and writing their own stories based on their favourite books, all of which promote imagination and creativity in children.

Activities to Encourage Reading in Young Children

Creating a Pre-reading Environment

If you would like to plan and carry out some specific activities to support children’s pre-reading skills in your role as a nanny then here are some good ideas:

Role-playing and Storytelling

An excellent way to engage children in reading is through role-playing and storytelling. Encouraging children to act out scenes from their favourite stories, or even create their stories, helps them to develop their imagination and helps in language development.

Library Scavenger Hunt

Going to the library and organising a scavenger hunt can help children discover new books and exploration of the library while having fun. Children can search for specific books, and find different genres of books, topics, or authors, to promote curiosity and exploration.

Educational and Interactive Apps

Interactive and educational apps for phones or tablets can be a fun and engaging way to introduce new stories and promote reading skills. There are various reading apps available that help children improve their reading skills, vocabulary, and comprehension abilities while making learning fun.

As a nanny, creating a pre-reading environment in the family home is a crucial step in fostering a love for reading in toddlers and young children. By providing age-appropriate books, creating a dedicated reading space, reading aloud, setting a positive reading example, encouraging a love for libraries, and making reading fun, nannies can ignite the spark of curiosity and imagination in children. Engaging in activities like book clubs, role-playing and storytelling, library scavenger hunts, movie nights, audiobooks, and educational apps can further enhance the reading experience for young children.

By investing in developing literacy skills, nannies can help set the foundation for a lifetime of learning, encourage critical thinking and imagination, and help preschoolers and young children become well-rounded individuals. This is a vital part of your role when working as a nanny. If you want to become more confident and knowledgeable when supporting children’s development in a range of different areas, our Early Years Childcare course will help you gain insight into the different areas of learning and how these can be supported at various ages and stages of development. Visit us today at www.international-nanny.institute to learn more.

International Nanny Institute

How nannies can encourage children’s independence

Maria Montessori encouraged adults to “never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed” as she had observed that often adults stifle children’s emerging independence by jumping in to ‘save the day’.

Unfortunately, not only does this rob children of the chance to try and to persevere, but it also gives children the message that they can’t do things and they need adults to help them with everything.

Whether the family you are working with has explicitly stated that they want you to use a Montessori-style approach with the children, or you just see value in promoting independence, there is plenty that you can do as a nanny that can help children to develop these self-help skills.

So, if you would like to encourage children’s independence at home, here are some good starting points;

Acknowledge children’s attempts at independence

encourage children's independence

Often we are in a hurry to get out of the door, and see the child having a tantrum about wanting to put on their own shoes as being “difficult” but if we step back and consider what is going on a little more carefully we will realise that the child is expressing a sense of frustration that we are preventing their attempt at independence.

Taking a step back, and acknowledging that this is what is going on is a great place to start thinking about how you can set up the home, and your routines with the children to allow for this growing sense of independence.

It is also worth noting here that most tantrums are a toddler or child’s manner of expressing frustration at boundaries, and lack of independence. This does not necessarily mean you should remove or reduce your boundaries; just that you should consider how you are acknowledging children’s feelings for what they are.

Creating a ‘yes’ space

Often we limit what children are allowed to do based on safety concerns, or worries about the mess and tidying up.

For example, you may tell a 3-year-old that no, they can’t play with their dolls in the lounge as it will make a mess, and no they can’t throw the frisbee inside the house as they may break something, and no they can’t jump around the house like a power ranger or a fairy or a superhero because they may hurt themselves.

Before you know it you’ve spent the morning telling them ‘no’, and if anything will frustrate a growing sense of independence it’s the word ‘no’.

As a nanny this can be a difficult line to tread when working with parents, as ultimately the house belongs to them, however, it is certainly something that could be discussed tactfully if you feel that too many rules are starting to affect a child’s growing sense of independence.

To combat this it may be a good idea to negotiate being able to set up a ‘yes’ space in the home; this might be a playroom, the child’s bedroom, or a play area.

The idea is to set the space up to be safe enough that you, as the caregiver, do not need to constantly say no. Montessori classrooms are largely yes spaces; somewhere that you can trust children to play independently and stay safe.

Encourage children’s independence with words 

encourage children's independence

What we say and how we say it can make a huge difference to children.

As we already discussed most children want to be independent and become frustrated when they are not allowed to be.

When we verbally permit, encourage and celebrate children’s attempts at being independent we validate them, and when children feel validated in their attempts at independence, they are more likely to persevere with what they’re trying and eventually succeed. 

As a nanny, you can try saying things like “You have a go” or “keep trying” to children.

You can praise the effort by saying “You’re working so hard at that” or “great trying” and acknowledge success with “well done, I knew you could do it!”

Use mealtimes as an opportunity

Meal times with little ones are a common source of stress, but they can be a great opportunity to build independence and self-help skills.

Even young babies (so long as they are over 6 months) can feed themselves at the table and using a baby-led weaning approach is a great way to promote that early independence, as a nanny this is something that can be discussed with parents.

encourage children's independence

For older children, encouraging children to serve or even help prepare their food, and pour water from a jug enhances their balance, dexterity and hand-eye coordination.

This also helps to divide responsibility at mealtimes which are perfect for promoting independence.

As a bonus, children tend to eat a wider variety of food when they select it themselves.

Avoid wardrobe battles

encourage children's independence

Children are often keen to select their own clothing and dress themselves, although their fashion choices can be questionable at times, allowing them to make attempts at dressing will pay off in the long run.

If a child’s choices are likely to be unsuitable for the day’s activities or the weather you could decide on an outfit together perhaps the night before and lay it out for them to put on themselves in the morning.

Younger toddlers and babies can be encouraged to lift their arms to put on a shirt or raise their feet to put on shoes and socks.

Use your best judgment as to when a child may be able to attempt dressing alone and remember, that wearing a tutu over a raincoat is not the end of the world.

Make sure children contribute

Involving children in running the household from a young age is great for promoting independence and also demonstrates their role in the family and enhances their sense of belonging.

It builds an understanding of working as a collective and is something that is highly emphasised in educational approaches like Montessori.

encourage children's independence

This is not to say that children need to be doing housework all day long, but small contributions add up and will help promote children’s independence too;

Little babies can be encouraged to help put their toys away in a box when they have finished playing, or wipe the highchair tray when they are done eating.

Toddlers generally love to help around the home and can use a small dustpan and brush or a handheld vacuum to clear up.

Matching socks and sorting laundry are also valuable learning opportunities for preschoolers and will help children to feel involved in the running of the home.

Encourage risk-taking

As nannies, it’s our job to keep children safe, but sometimes we can become overly worried about this responsibility and as a result, we can become very overprotective of our charges and actually hold their development back by doing so.

Healthy risk-taking is vital for children’s emerging sense of self because where there is a risk of failure, success is more valuable.

Allowing children to climb, run and jump and explore their limits is essential for the growth and development of independence, so we can consider ways to allow for healthy risk-taking that promotes children’s physical skills and sense of independence.

International Nanny Institute

We hope that some of these ideas will help you consider how to approach encouraging children’s independence.

To find out more about the natural pattern of Children’s development and how and when to support their growing independence sign up for our Child Development course.

Not only will this boost your confidence in working with children in an age-appropriate manner, but it will reassure families that you have the expertise in childhood and early years.

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How nannies can support families to plan healthy, balanced meals

Both nannies and parents want children to be happy and healthy. Most of us understand that nutrition and what we eat plays a crucial role in this.

However, feeding a family can be a difficult undertaking. Many parents are battling with time pressures, the rising cost of living and their own energy levels.

Employing a nanny can be a wonderful support in ensuring that healthy meals are put on the table every week. Sometimes though, lack of inspiration, picky eating or having allergies to deal with mean that it can be challenging to plan weekly menus.

It might be that making the grocery list, doing the grocery shopping or planning the menu is part of your role as a nanny or parents may ask for your input, ideas or support. Here we take a look at what should feature on a family’s weekly grocery list.

Plan healthy and balance Meals

What is healthy eating?

The definition of ‘healthy eating’ is continually evolving in response to new research, as is what is considered to be a healthy diet or healthy eating.

One definition suggests that healthy eating is simply “eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight” but we should also consider that “healthy eating” is about more than just what we eat because how we eat is important too.

Humans naturally have a close relationship with food, not only is it our source of nutrition and therefore vital to life, but it is also part of most societies’ cultural identity and rituals.

Having a good relationship with food is to do with how and why you choose the foods you eat much more than what those foods are.

If you feel any type of shame, guilt, stress, or fear regarding the foods you eat, you may have an unhealthy relationship with food.

As nannies, it is often part of our job to help children to develop a healthy relationship with food.

What is healthy eating for children?

Plan healthy and balance Meals

When we think about healthy eating it’s important to remember that nutritional needs will vary from person to person, and babies, toddlers and children have different nutritional needs to adults.

There are some similarities between the nutritional needs of adults and children as all humans need vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and fat. However, these are needed in different amounts depending on age.

Younger children require fewer calories overall. For example, a 1-year-old child should consume about 900 calories per day, but a 14- to 18-year-old needs 1,800 to 2,200 calories, depending on activity level and gender.

Children need to get these calories from a variety of foods too; a child aged 2 to 3 years should get 30 to 35 percent of his calories from fat but by the time we reach adulthood we should only get 5 to 6 percent of our calories from fat.

What are the benefits of healthy eating?

Plan healthy and balance Meals

The WHO states that “Unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity are leading global risks to health” Whilst “a healthy diet helps to protect against malnutrition in all its forms, as well as non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.”

Basically, healthy eating is important because it helps to maintain good physical health, which prevents costs to health services.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet and staying active can also help us to maintain a healthy weight, which in turn helps to prevent health issues!

Deficiencies in some key nutrients can weaken parts of the immune system, making it much easier for us to get ill, so healthy eating helps us to get all the nutrients we need for the immune system to function normally.

Healthy eating helps humans to feel physically and mentally well, and to perform well at school, work and contribute to our communities.

For young children, all of these are benefits in the long term, but in the short term too healthy eating can help small children to grow. Since the early years of childhood are a period of rapid growth this is especially important.

Meal planning

Meal Planning

Meal planning can help to save time, money and disagreements about what to have for dinner, and it is a task that nannies are often assigned and it doesn’t need to be boring, strict or limiting.

Some families really struggle to cook from scratch every night because modern life is extremely busy with after-school activities and homework to complete too, so sometimes we do need shortcuts.

However, we can help to balance those nights where we need to cook a quick, but less nutritious meal with cooking a bigger batch on the days we do cook from scratch and saving a portion to put in the freezer.

This way, when families have a busy night, they can simply pull a healthy meal out of the freezer.

Ingredients to include in a healthy grocery list for families

If you are asked to put together a healthy grocery list for the family you are working for, you should be sure to include foods from the following categories:

Ingredients Plan healthy and balance Meals

Fruits and vegetables

Try to include a portion of veggies or salad as part of the main meals. Fruit can be used as a good alternative to dessert too. Nannies can encourage children to choose fruit or vegetables as a snack by having them prepared and ready to dish out quickly, for example, cucumber and carrot sticks, sliced peppers or prepared mango.


Children need to get a bigger proportion of their energy from fats than adults and dairy is a good way for them to achieve this.

Under the age of 2 or 3 children should drink full-fat milk, but semi-skimmed or skimmed are okay once they are older and growing well.

Cheeses and yoghurts are another good way to get more fat into children’s diets along with plenty of calcium, which contributes to strong bones and teeth.

If the children you are caring for don’t tolerate dairy well or their parents choose not to give it, this is not normally a problem, but nannies should seek some advice on how to best ensure that dairy alternatives meet children’s needs.


Most western countries suggest basing meals around carbohydrate foods which give us energy, so you should ensure that you keep a stock of rice, pasta or potatoes as the base for meals.

Meat, fish or other protein

Protein foods like meat and fish are important for building muscle, try and choose lower fat cuts where possible as these will be better for the whole family. If the family you work for are vegetarian or vegan you can choose alternative protein sources like pulses, beans or soya and seek out some tasty recipes for these.

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Healthy Living Course. OCN-London and International Nanny Institute

When seeking work as a nanny, being able to provide a healthy, balanced set of meals and snacks is a very desirable skill and many families will include being able to cook nutritional meals as essential criteria for applying to their role.

If you need to learn more about nutrition, healthy eating and a balanced diet, our Healthy Living course can help you with this and ensure that you are a more attractive applicant when applying for new nanny roles.

Sign up today to improve your skills and your confidence in supporting healthy lifestyles for children and their families.

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A nanny’s guide to making a good first impression

Making a good first impression is really important.

No matter what industry you are in, the way you carry yourself on the first day of work matters.

This is especially true of the nanny industry where your employer is trusting you with their most precious and irreplaceable possession, their children.

Being a nanny on his or her first day of work, you might be wondering if you are ready for your new job, and to work with a new boss.

You might have thoughts like  “Do they still think I’m right for the job?” or “I hope they won’t change their mind” or suffer from imposter syndrome, where you feel out of your depth and hope that no one will find out! All of these things are common, understandable, and completely normal but it’s up to you to overcome them.

In spite of how you may be feeling on the inside, you still need to make the right first impression on the outside. Here are some of our tips for how to do just that:

Dress appropriately

This does not mean that you have to wear your Sunday best. Sure, you are dressing for a job; however, your job is likely to include physical activities especially if you will be taking care of a toddler.

You need to wear something that you can move comfortably in, think about how the clothes will feel and look as you run after a child, kneel down, and sit on the floor.

a good first impression

Some families like their nannies to be smart, while others prefer a much more casual approach, this is something that you could ask about ahead of time.

Even if your employers say that casual clothing is fine, remember to check that the imagery and language on any clothing are appropriate.

Take along some activities

Whilst you don’t necessarily want to go in with a school-style lesson plan, you may want to take a couple of activities along to help bring some structure to your day.

You could also prepare a list (it would be better if paired with colorful photos) of arts, crafts, or activities that you can show to the parents or the child. From this, they can help you to create a schedule of activities, and build anticipation for the coming days and weeks. This shows that you’re interested in the child and family as individuals and that you’re planning ahead!

a good first impression

Another good tip is to bring along your favourite children’s book on the first day and read it together with the child. This gives you the opportunity to spend some quiet time together, and get to know each other and is also a good way of gauging their ability to read if they’re at an appropriate age to do so. 

Greeting the Child

Respect is vitally important in nannying and if you want to get respect from a child, often you have to give it first! Greet the child in the same way that you greeted his or her parents, showing that you value them too.

Introduce yourself to the child in a friendly way such as, “Hi (their name), my name is (your name). Nice meeting you!”

You will need to use your interpersonal skills to make a judgment as to the child’s personality.

If they seem confident or easygoing then get started with a game or a chat, asking them lots of questions to allow them to talk about themselves and their interests.

If the child is more introverted or shy, do not force interaction. If you do this, the child might further withdraw himself or herself from you.

a good first impression

Instead, just keep calm and place yourself in their shoes; strangers can be scary, intimidating, or confusing to young children. Don’t rush into trying to play with them instead stay nearby and maybe start an activity where they can see.

Most children will build up their confidence and come over and join in at their own pace. This shows that you are confident in your own ability as a nanny and that you’re able to be very caring and respectful of a child’s needs. 

Ask Questions

Often on the first day or trial day parents or maybe even the previous nanny will be around. You can use this time to gather the information that you need to be able to do your job well and feel confident in your new role.

Ask open-ended questions like “tell me about your usual routine” or “can you talk me through your family’s values” and listen carefully to the answers.

a good first impression

You may want to ask specific questions about the children too so that you can get to know them better. Some nannies hesitate to ask questions because they feel like it is too forward or that it makes.

Most parents enjoy talking about their children, and they will appreciate that you are taking the role seriously and that you are interested in their family.

Take the initiative

This is not to say be bossy but you do want to show parents that you’re able to take the lead a little and get on with the day.

Perhaps after you have played at home in the morning, and been shown where everything is you can suggest taking the children to the park in the afternoon.

a good first impression

Perhaps if you’re taking care of a newborn you can mention that you have done some research and found local classes for when the baby is 3 months old.

All of this will boost the parents’ confidence that you are interested in and committed to the role and reassure them that you don’t need to have every detail spelled out to you because you are confident and capable.

A good first impression

When nannies think about making a good first impression they often focus on the parents and what the parents think of them which does make some sense since it is the parents who pay the nanny’s wage, but really most parents are happy when their children are happy so it’s vitally important to create a good, lasting impression on the child you will be taking care of.

Taking their wants, needs, and personality into consideration and thinking of them first, above anyone else, is how you make a good first impression and make the best start on your nanny career journey! 

If you want to get off to a good start in your professional career as a nanny, you need to have experience, but also accreditation of your nanny skills.⁣

⁣If you want to know more about our programme, send us a direct message and we will help you make the best decision you can make.⁣

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What makes a ‘Professional Nanny’

Uncovering the Essential Characteristics of a skilled Nanny

Roles vary significantly from country to country and family to family, which makes it difficult to define the role of the professional nanny. As a result of this lack of clarity, many people consider themselves qualified to take on the role of a professional nanny when in reality they are not. Here we look at some of the experiences that do NOT qualify you to be a professional nanny:

Taking care of siblings or babysitting

Taking care of siblings or babysitting for friends or relatives is something that sparks an interest in a career in childcare for many people. Of course this is a good thing and can be a good base to build on but it is not adequate experience from which to take on professional nanny roles.

Often babysitting takes place when children are already in bed sleeping, or it may be a much more short-term arrangement where parents’ expectations are fairly low.

For example, a mother may employ a baby sitter to play with her kids for a few hours while she finishes a work project. Here she would expect the children to be kept safe, but she may be in the house or nearby, and not expect the babysitter to support children’s development, plan activities for them, cook meals or work with them on a long-term basis.

Some of the skills you may develop from this experience are:

  •  Basic childcare skills
  •  Trustworthiness
  •  Responsibility

Some skills you may need to develop further:

  •  More advanced childcare skills
  •  Knowledge of child development
  •  Improved communication with parents/care

Having your own children

Other people draw this idea that you don’t need to be qualified to look after children from the notion that parents are not qualified yet have to look after their own children.

This is a flawed idea on many levels; Firstly because it equates professional childcare with parenting, which is disparaging to both parties, childcare and parenting are distinct roles, and secondly because it seems to suppose that parenting is easy. Ask any parent and they will tell you that having kids can be really hard work.

Having your own children and taking care of them as they grow up, experiencing the highs and lows of parenting is a wonderful experience and there are plenty of skills from this that you can bring to a career as a professional nanny.

Nanny-parent-child relationships take many forms and nannies have been described as mothering-by-proxy, shadow mothers or third parents. (Macdonald, 2011).

However, being a parent does not mean that you are ready to work as a professional nanny as there are several fundamental differences between raising your own children and professionally caring for someone else’s.

Some of the skills you may develop from this experience are:

  •  Patience and resilience
  •  Understanding of family dynamics
  •  Empathy with other parents

Some skills you may need to develop further:

  • Advanced knowledge of child development 
  • Working with families as a professional
  • Communicating with parents

Working in a nursery 

Working in a nursery or preschool environment is often a very demanding role. Expectations are high as you may be caring for many children at once and there are often strict regulations to comply with.

The skills that you learn through nursery work include talking to children’s parents and working in partnership with them to support children’s development. Most nurseries and preschools will also help you to develop your knowledge and understanding of child development and teach you how to plan activities that meet children’s individual needs.

Working in a nursery however does not prepare you completely to work as a professional nanny as working with children and families in their own homes requires a unique and specialised skill-set that is quite different to providing group care in a nursery setting alongside colleagues.

Some of the skills you may develop from this experience are:

  • Planning activities for children based on their age, stage of development, interests and needs.
  • A good working knowledge of child development
  • Communicating well with parents

Some skills you may need to develop further:

  •  Working with children and families in their own homes
  •  Dealing with sibling dynamics and working with multiple ages of children at once
  •  Working with newborns and very young infant

Being a teacher 

Being a teacher demonstrates a good level of education, commitment to children and skills in planning and assessment, all of which can be transferred into a career as a professional nanny.

However, being a teacher in and of itself does not qualify you to start a career as a professional nanny as there are many more skills that you will need.

Some of the skills you may develop from this experience are:

  • Planning educational activities 
  • Making learning fun for children
  • Assessing children’s developmental needs

Some skills you may need to develop further:

  •  Carrying out care routines 
  •  Working in a home-based role
  •  Working with newborns, infants and toddler

Being an Au-pair 

For some nannies, being an au-pair is an excellent stepping stone. Working in an au-pair’s role allows you to gain valuable experience of working with children and engaging in family life.

Although au-pairs live in the family home and work with children in this setting, they are often used for babysitting more than sole-charge care, and may not have responsibility duties  such as designing routines or planning activities that support children’s development.

Some of the skills you may develop from this experience are:

  •  Working with children
  •  Working in a home based role
  •  Carrying out care routines

Some skills you may need to develop further:

  •  Sole charge working
  •  More in-depth knowledge of child development and how to support this
  •  Planning appropriate routines and activities

Teaching language classes 

Teaching a language class is a fantastic way to gain experience working with children. It also helps you build up your knowledge and understanding of how children learn languages.

It’s likely that in teaching a class you have also gained some skills in managing children’s behaviour such as rewarding and promoting positive behaviour and discouraging negative behaviour.

However, teaching a class for a short period of time is totally different to being a sole-charge carer children throughout the day and whilst many of the skills you have developed will be useful and transferable, there are many others that you will still need to develop.

Some of the skills you may develop from this experience are:

  •  Making learning fun
  •  Behaviour management
  •  Supporting children’s language development

Some skills you may need to develop further:

  • Working with children and families in their own homes 
  • A holistic understanding of child development
  • Communication and partnership with parents 

What parents expect from a professional nanny

There are several different kinds of nanny and parents’ needs and expectations will vary from role to role. However, as a general rule, expectations of a professional nanny are pretty high.

When hiring a nanny, parents are entrusting someone else with their children’s safety, emotional wellbeing and development, so it stands to reason that they may have demanding expectations.

A professional nanny will need to be able to plan and arrange safe, fun learning opportunities that suit children’s age and stage of development, and are based around their interests.

In order to do this they will need to be able to observe and assess children’s development in relation to the typical and expected sequence and rate of child development.

Parents will also expect a professional nanny to know how to plan and prepare healthy meals and snacks, carry out age appropriate care routines (such as making up bottle feeds safely, planning weaning, changing nappies, supporting sleep and rest times) and have up-to-date Paediatric first aid training so that they know how to respond and keep children safe in emergency situations.

Professional nannies will also need to show good organisational skills, time management skills and be able to communicate well with both parents/carers and children themselves. Sometimes a professional nanny may need to work in partnership with other agencies

What qualifications should a professional nanny have

Despite legally not requiring any formal qualifications, eighty-two per cent of nannies responding to the SIRC (2009) survey reported having a childcare-related qualification and in interviews and focus groups with nannies it was apparent that nannies viewed qualifications as an important part of their professional identity. Parents too are increasingly looking for nannies with qualifications.

Gaining qualifications in the field of childcare requires study and effort but through this, you are able to gain the knowledge and skills that you need to do your job properly.

Studying how children learn and develop means that you will feel confident to plan activities that will be stimulating to children of different age ranges and will help to support their development across different areas of learning.

Having the skills that you need to keep children safe means that you are able to carry out your role on a day to day basis as well as respond appropriately in an emergency.

Our International Nanny Institute provides practical and comprehensive childcare related courses designed to train and educate nannies, au pairs, babysitters and childminders.

We offer reasonably priced online training, which allows our students to study any time and anywhere.

Our courses are designed by a team of experts including psychologists, nutritionists, teachers, paediatric nurses and SEN specialists who are committed to maintaining high standards and staying up-to-date in the field of childcare.

The International Nanny Institute is passionate about empowering and raising the standards of child carers as professionals in their fields.

If you would like to complete a childcare related qualification, designed especially for nannies with us, browse our course catalogue now.  

International Nanny Institute

The Benefits of CPD Certification 

Here at International Nanny Institute, all of our courses are accredited by the CPD Certification Service which is the largest and leading independent CPD accreditation organisation working across all industry sectors.

To be accredited by this service the learning content of our qualifications has been scrutinised to ensure integrity and quality. The learning activity has also been judged to have reached the required Continuing Professional Development standards and benchmark/

The CPD Certification Service was established in 1996 and is a well-known and well-established brand that has been working with training companies, professional bodies, conference providers, academic institutions and corporate organisations throughout this time to support individuals seeking CPD learning activities.

You may be wondering how a qualification supported by the CPD certification service might benefit you. Here are some of the ways:

Logo CPD Member Certification

Stay up to date

Qualifications certified by the CPD certification service must demonstrate that they contribute to candidates refreshing their knowledge and keeping their skills up to date.

Training with the International Nanny Institute helps ensure both academic and practical qualifications do not become outdated, and allows nannies to continually upskill throughout their career. 

International Nanny Institute

Fill knowledge and skills gaps

Our training courses at International Nanny Institute are designed specifically with nannies in mind, to support their day-to-day professional work with children and families.

This makes it simple for you to focus short term on specific knowledge gaps and missing skills.

Our accreditation by the CPD certification service can leave you assured that there will be a recognisable improvement to your proficiency, as all of our training courses have been scrutinised as part of the accreditation process to ensure that they provide value to the learner.

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Increase your confidence

CPD can help to increase nannies’ confidence, and knowing that our qualifications have been examined to ensure that they provide adequate challenge will allow nannies to embark on a training course with the knowledge that their professional capabilities will improve and evolve.

This in turn, will increase your confidence that your skillset will thrive through any industry, or role, changes.

Showcase your learning

Another benefit of completing training that has been accredited by the CPD certification service is that it enables nannies to clearly showcase their further learning and development, which can help create a competitive advantage within the job market.

Boost your employability 

Completing our CPD certification service approved courses  is a great way to show potential employers that you take your responsibilities as a nanny seriously, and that you are committed to continually upskilling and developing your professional knowledge.

Our CPD certification service accredited courses will help you stand out from other nanny candidates seeking similar roles, getting you more interviews more often.

All of our courses here at International Nanny Institute are accredited by the CPD certification service, so you can embark on any course that interests you knowing that it will add value to your skill set and meet your professional needs.

If you think one of our courses might be a good fit for your professional development, visit our website at www.international-nanny.institute! We can’t wait to have you on board!

International Nanny Institute

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Why should I enrol in a Healthy Living course?

In any career, continuous professional development is vital. Completing ongoing training helps you grow as a professional by gaining new knowledge, reflecting on your experience and mastering new skills to take back into the workplace.

Professional development also demonstrates your passion and commitment to your sector and shows you are dedicated to your chosen career.

When working with young children in private, domestic households, earning an OCN-London approved qualification via our course, Healthy Living, caregivers can ensure they are getting ready for a professional childcare placement.

With a growing public awareness of, (and interest in) health, there are a range of different courses and qualifications available for those interested in healthy lifestyles.

The International Nanny Institute Healthy Living course has many unique benefits and features that make it the perfect fit for nannies and others in the domestic childcare field. 

Tailor-made for nannies

With an array of different courses related to caring for children available, it can be difficult to know which to choose.

The International Nanny Institute Healthy Living course has been carefully curated by a team of experts who are committed to maintaining high standards and staying up-to-date in the field of childcare.

Our experts specialise in a range of different fields and include practical advice as well as academic information. Our courses have been designed with nannies in mind, so they will be well suited to the day-to-day work of keeping children and their families active and nourished.

Learn to support children’s wellbeing

As society has a renewed interest in children’s wellbeing, it’s a great time to ensure that your knowledge is up to date.

We all want the best for the children in our care and while we aim for them to grow up to be healthy and happy, it’s not always easy to know how to achieve this. 

Our ONC-London certified Healthy Living course will help you build up the knowledge and skills necessary to support children and their families with healthy eating, physical activity and all round the best wellbeing practices.

Improve your own wellbeing

When caring for young children, caregivers often forget that their personal needs are also important.

Our Healthy Living course is designed to encourage nannies to consider their own lifestyle while also learning how to support children and their families in making positive choices around exercise and nutrition.

Healthy Living gives students a chance to reflect on their personal wellbeing and inspires them to take small steps towards improving their own sense of wellbeing through managing stress, eating well and getting enough physical exercise.

Broaden your skill set

Being a nanny can be a demanding job that requires a broad set of skills.

Completing our internationally certified Healthy Living course is one way to showcase your understanding of proper nutrition, age-appropriate exercise, and ability to provide children with the building blocks for living a healthy lifestyle. 

Demonstrate a specialism

As the nanying industry evolves, more nannies are specializing in different areas. Some nannies support families with sleep routines while others specialise in newborn care or working with multiple children at once, but increasingly there is a need and demand for nannies who are able to support children in the process of developing healthy lifestyles.

As many families begin to focus on their children’s physical and mental  health, our internationally certified Healthy Living course is a fantastic way to demonstrate that you have developed your skill set in this area, setting you apart from other applicants for jobs.

Healthy Living Course. International Nanny Institute

The Healthy Living course consists of 4 weekly, in-depth training sessions supplemented with a test for checking your understanding.

We also offer an interactive group forum so you can discuss what you are learning with other students in your cohort. This forum can help foster understanding, learning and personal development on a deeper level.

Healthy Living is taught as an online course  100% online and it will take about 60 hours to complete over 8 weeks, giving you a window of time to complete the course and leaving you in control of how and when you study.

If you like what you’ve read about our Healthy Living course and think it might be a good fit for your professional development, visit our website at www.international-nanny.institute!

We can’t wait to have you on board!

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