As the eldest of five siblings, I had a firsthand experience in caring for younger children. Since my parents both continued to work full-time I quickly became the first choice go-to- babysitter. I have always had a knack for working with children. Blame it on my personality. As a child, I was in love with using my imagination. Naturally, as an adult, I still seek adventure and exploring many different interests. Aside from helping out at home, I was often asked to babysit some of my church member's kids whenever they needed to head out of town for church events. Most of the children fell between the ages of 2 to 7. It was great to learn how to cater to children of different ages all at the same time. Talk about keeping busy, well I did indeed! But I had so much fun. I learned so much about each individual child and I definitely became attached. I still keep in touch with a few of them. It's great to see kids I use to take care of, now, blossoming into young adults and teenagers.
While helping out at the church, word of my being such a big hit with the kids started to spread. I loved it! I was asked to be a role model for the Youth Department. I portrayed Disney's Princess Tiana at all of the church festivals and events. It was a great honor and so much fun. Having kids look up to you is a feeling like nothing else. I felt proud and humbled.
As a professional nanny, I worked with newborns, teenagers and everything in between. My first position gave me great multitasking skills as I cared for a 6-month-old baby boy and a toddler, age 4. Their mother was a Personal Trainer so her schedule was very non-traditional and often the hours she needed me to cover were sporadic. This position taught me the most because it was essential that I kept a schedule primarily with the newborn-he had certain times when he needed to eat and sleep. I decided to mimic his schedule to fit his brothers was my best bet for an organized and easy flow. I would arrange a new activity or "book-reading time" whenever I knew I had to feed the baby or put the baby to bed. This was helpful to everyone. The toddler was able to utilize his time in so many ways, and he really felt like he did so much every day. By sticking to this type of schedule it also helped the mom to come home to a more easier evening/night, knowing fully what to expect. Both of these boys are growing into such lovely guys and I am so happy that I was able to partake in that journey with them.
My next position was non-stop action and fun, to say the least. I cared for twin girls, age 6 and one pre-teen, age 12. Their mom had a corporate position which required her to travel a bunch. Often she would have me stay overnight on the weekends to care for the girls. on those weekends I would help out by cleaning up around the house and doing the girls' laundry. This position allowed me to really utilize my time in the best way possible because the girls were all very different and there was quite an age gap between the twins and their older sister. With the twins, I would organize certain events for each of them on different days. We went to the neighborhood festivals and carnivals, the circus, The Land of Make Believe and much more. I did my best to keep everyone included on the events so that the main person who chose the event would feel supported. Luckily most of the places were just as much fun for us as they were for the person who chose them. I also think it is helpful to explore other people's interests-you may end up finding out that you like the same thing. With the pre-teen, she often would accompany me on activities. At home, she would do a lot of reading and whenever we did family movie night, which was about 2-3 times a week- she would get to choose the movie. I also cooked meals on family night and would take turns letting each child pick what we would all have for dinner. With Layla, I often took her to her friend's house and made sure she would stay in contact with me. This way she was able to stay connected to the family unit while exploring her own interests and freedom.
My most recent position was caring for a young boy, age 7. He was a gem. He was very active and enjoyed building everything from planes to room-sized forts. Because I knew how much he liked to utilize his imagination, I would make sure we had at least one major outing every week. I would take him places like The Liberty Science Center, Dinosaurs in 3D exhibitions and any other event where he could explore his imagination and utilize his hands. It is a great thing when you can connect to a child and really feed what they enjoy doing. I cooked many healthy meals for him and monitored his snacking, especially when we were out. Staying outdoors and active was a great way for him to stay healthy. I also would exercise with him sometimes, which was a great bonding time for us both.
I believe the reason why childcare is more of an experience for me than a duty is because of my personality. I thoroughly enjoy spending time finding out what's going on in these brilliant, beautiful minds. Kids are free and so unpredictable. We can learn just as much from them as they can learn from us. It is both a gift to give and receive. And no small task- for that reason, I pride myself on being responsible and sensible when it comes to caring for other people's kids. Communication and affection are essential, in my eyes. Kids need to be nurtured and supported in different ways. So getting to know them I am able to tailor my attention in a way that is suitable for their growth. Time is of the essence so if I'm going to spend my time assisting in the development of another, you can rest assured I'm putting my best foot forward.