At the age of 11, I took a babysitting course and learned to change diapers, swaddle, and feed a (plastic) infant. When I turned 12, my first babysitting job was for neighbors with three young children. I was grateful that the six-month-old loved her swing so much! I continued to babysit regularly for several families and was a lifeguard and children’s swim instructor in high school. In college, I volunteered and worked as a tutor for children as young as 5 and as old as 16. After college, I was honored to be a part of families’ lives and difficult decisions when I worked in adoption. While studying for my masters in social work, I spent a year interning at an elementary school and another year advocating for families at the public defender’s office. There hasn’t been a time when I wasn’t working with families and children!
I spent several summers with five-year-old triplets and their younger brother. It was a demanding role, but I function best in challenging environments and found the work exciting. It certainly kept me on my toes! In a moment of bravado, I taught them to make sugar cookies. There was flour everywhere, but we had so much fun! (No worries, I’m also a meticulous cleaner and promise not to leave your home in disarray.) I spent several years as a vegetarian and love to cook healthy meals. My personal diet currently consists of mostly plant-based and homemade meals with a weekly box macaroni splurge. It’s all about balance, right?
I have an active lifestyle and am creative in finding fun things to do with kids, whether it’s imaginative play at home or taking outings to the park, library, or elsewhere. Caring for children is important work, and I provide a safe and stable but stimulating environment for them to grow and thrive. I see positive reinforcement as the best motivator for good behavior and consistency as key. My graduate and professional experience has shown me that if children receive help handling their emotions now, this will benefit them and their relationships long-term.