Toddlers

From crawling comes walking, and with walking comes a sense of independence and freedom.

Children have a natural sense of curiosity and wonder about the world, and the ability to walk makes exploring and investigating all that much easier for them.

This is generally when children enter what is commonly known as “terrible two’s”. Although we know that toddlers aren’t terrible, they are just learning and trying to make sense of the big wide world. They are full of energy, wonder, passion and motivation.

Toddler hood is a small window of opportunity and the amount of care, patience, and love received during these years will pave the foundation for lifelong learning.

Common challenges for toddlers include;

  • Learning boundaries
  • Developing verbal communication
  • Gaining control of their bodies
  • Discovering and developing ways to be creative and expressive
  • Learning how to navigate their emotions.

Toddler hood is a fine balance between their growing independence and their dependence on adults to take care of their needs. Managing this balance can be tricky and daunting for some but take some comfort in knowing that toddlers thrive on challenges, comforting rituals and loving care moments.

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Take a deep breath, then breathe some more

Lower your voice, then lower some more

Soften your hands, then soften some more

Find your sense of calm, then find some more

Open your heart, then open it some more”

THE HEART SCHOOL

Once we understand and get to know toddlers, we are then able to respond to what they are telling us. Te Whāriki ( New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum)  provides some key curriculum requirements for toddlers.

These are:

  • A secure environment and a programme that provides both challenge and predictable routines
  • Opportunities for independent exploration and movement
  • A flexible approach – with spontaneity and a pace that allows toddlers to try things themselves
  • Adults who encourage toddlers’ cognitive skills and language development
  • Responsive and predictable adults who understand and accept their developmental swings.

Research also shows that toddlers need to develop secure relationships to promote cognitive and emotional growth, small group sizes and an environment that is calm, relaxed, and unhurried. Based on this, home-based care ticks all the boxes. Educators are able to really get to know the children, can offer flexibility in their day and provide loving spaces for children to explore and play.

“To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe” THE HEART SCHOOL

Observing children at play is one of the easiest ways to really get to know the child. Sometimes as adults, we are rushing around multitasking but by simply slowing down and watching children at play it is easy so see what they are trying to tell us.  In Early childhood education we call this a holistic approach. Toddlers have a lot going on and sometimes we miss what they are trying to communicate to us.

The environment plays a big part in ensuring a smooth transition through toddler hood. Having lots of one object is ideal, as this stops children arguing about who’s is who. Loose parts are preferred as this encourages imagination and creativity. Loose parts and open-ended resources also allow children to take control of their learning, empowering them to follow their own ideas, interests and urges.

When you are setting up your environment for toddlers, keep their motor development in mind. Ensure that the learning environment has plenty of space for (usually VERY) active exploration and constantly scan for possible hazards.

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It is impossible to prevent all accidents and injuries, but it is crucial that we create an environment, where toddlers feel safe and secure, so that their energy can all be channeled towards their learning and development.

“Toddlers with a zest for life need carers with a zest for toddlers”

THE HEART SCHOOL

Care Moments

Throughout a child’s day, children experience many moments of care between them and
their parent/educator/caregiver. These special moments are commonly referred to as routines, but at a much deeper level, these are sacred moments shared with a loving, respectful adult who is fully present and engaged in the moment. Care moments can be a change of nappy, sitting down to eat, getting dressed, being supported to sleep, or any other intimate moment that requires care for a child.

While engaging in care moments, we as adults need to be mindful of our own movements, slow down and ensure the child feels involved and respected. The child is then more engaged, and will enjoy spending this special time with you. Imagine attending a doctor’s appointment where the doctor checked you over with no thought about your feelings, no conversation, no care? How would this make you feel? It is the same with children.

♥ Children who are consistently handled with kind hands and good humour are far more likely to radiate those gifts back to the world – Brainwave Trust ♥

We need to ensure we give them the respect they deserve and show love and kindness.
When this happens, the child becomes emotionally satisfied and the relationship between the caregiver and the child is cemented in trust and reciprocity.

An emotionally satisfied child feels secure in themselves and is happy to explore, play, and be involved, as they know all their needs will be met from a responsive adult.

The presence of respectful care, natural unfolding, and offering an unhurried pace, is especially crucial in a child’s early learning stage when they are developing a sense of self, as well as making sense of the world around them.

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By offering choice and our calm respectful presence, we empower children and communicate that their needs, feelings, and interests are important and worthy of respect – setting them up for life-long learning and a healthy self-esteem.

Take a nappy change for example – it is estimated that a child may have up to 5,000 changes in their lifetime! Imagine if all these opportunities for relationship building and learning were wasted or lost? Inviting the child to transition from playing into a care moment is a way to show that you respect what they are doing in their play.

Imagine if you were deep in thought and someone whipped you away, and plopped you
on a nappy changing table. An invitation can be as simple as getting down  to the child’s level, asking them if they are ready to engage in the care moment, or simply outstretching your hands with palms facing up. This works particularly well with infants. All you need to do is simply pause and wait for a response, whether this is verbal or non-verbal.

A young child may shake their head and tell you they are not ready, whereas an infant may turn their body towards you or hold their hands out to you. By taking this approach, slowly in time, you will find you will begin to read children’s non-verbal cues, listen to what they are saying, and respect them as little people with feelings and emotions, just like us.

For infants, care and education are inseparable because valuable learning is taking place during routine care times and this learning is hindered if the child does not have a strong reciprocal and consistent relationship with the person who is caring for them. In being cared for, the infant is learning to care for others.

The Pikler Collection

Freedom of Movement

As children grow, they experience many developmental changes and milestones. As they reach each of these milestones, they begin a new stage of learning and development. Navigating these transitions can be tricky for children, families, whānau, and educators.
“Knowing about children’s development can help us understand how children respond to transition. In addition, when educators collaborate with families, they can learn how individual children experience change. Educators can also learn how to help children feel secure and comfortable during transition.”

Ko te Tamaiti te Pu – take o te Kaupapa
The Child – the Heart of the Matter
ERO, 2015

Learning how to move their body is one of the biggest and ongoing developmental challenges children face. From learning to roll from side to side, crawling, walking,
running and jumping, all requires development of gross motor skills, co-ordination, concentration, confidence and determination.

In order for children to master these skills, it is fundamental that they experience as much freedom of movement as possible during their day. One of the key principles of Dr Emmi Pikler was that infants are never put into a position which they cannot get into by themselves. This includes resisting the urge to prop infants up into a sitting position, before they have the strength to do this on their own.

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“Whilst learning to turn on the belly, to roll, creep, sit, stand and walk, (the baby) is not only learning those movements but also how to learn. He learns to do something on his own, to be interested, to try out, to experiment. He learns to overcome difficulties. He comes to know the joy and satisfaction which is derived from this success, the result of his patience and persistence.”
Dr Emmi Pikler

With a vast array of infant ‘equipment’ available on the market, it is easy to get confused as to what an infant may need. While there is definitely a need for this ‘equipment’ ie: a car seat while traveling in a car, sometimes it can be more about convenience as opposed to what is good for an infant’s development. As famously said by the Beatles, “All you need is love”, is actually quite true. All infants really need to foster their physical
development is loving attentive parents/whānau and caregivers, a safe space on the floor to explore how their body moves, and time.

According to Emmi Pikler, the natural rhythm of how nature intended an infant to learn how to move is;

  • Turning the head from side to side
  • Practices movements of the hands
  • Turns on the side
  • Turning on the belly
  • Turns back
  • Stretching
  • Rolling
  • Creeping on the belly and on all fours
  • Getting up into the vertical
  • Sitting
  • Standing up
  • Standing up alone – without holding on
  • Walking about on their own

Written by Rockmybaby

Wellness programme for our staff

Rockmybaby® values the importance of our team taking care of themselves and each other and keeping emotional intelligence in check.

Rockmybaby® started in 2006, a kiwi initiative born out of friends and families asking for childcare solutions.  Rockmybaby® is a forward-thinking and innovative agency that prides itself in the careful and considered selection of staff, and the ongoing support and care provided to ensure the well-being and care of each employee.

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Our team goes to Pilates weekly at  The Works Wellness Centre

Rockmybaby® provides a welcoming and warm environment that creates a relaxed atmosphere, creating a space for productivity and creativity.  Each week staff attend a Pilates class which is pre-booked by the company and there is a freedom for staff to take time to step outside into the sunshine away from technology when they need to.  Spontaneous home-cooked meals arrive at the office and locally brewed coffee is always ready, along with a lunch break at a time that works for you.  Our staff feel valued and supported.

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Example of one of our lunches – yummy fish pie

It’s important for our team to have a good work-life balance and time to focus on their well-being and personal development.

As a Kiwi owned and operated agency, we understand and have a culture that meets the needs of our people.

Interview tips for Nanny roles

First impressions are formed within seconds of meeting someone for the first time, keep this in mind when preparing for your interview with a family.

  • As soon as the family expresses interest in interviewing you, make contact as soon as possible and lock in an interview time. A phone call should be your first point of contact, not a text.
  • Wear clean, tidy, professional clothing and shoes. Ensure you are well–groomed including tidy hair and clean groomed nails. Don’t overdress or wear inappropriate revealing clothing or high heels – remember this is a nanny interview, dress accordingly!
  • Don’t be late: Ensure you have the address and contact number of the family and allow plenty of time to travel and map out your route.
  • Bring a hard copy of your CV along, use this as a reference or talking point as appropriate.
  • Know the job! Make sure you have found out as many details as possible about the children, family, and the nature of the role prior to meeting with the family.
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“Find your joy … and let it run your life” – Cleo Wade

Be open, friendly and chatty and be prepared for some of the questions you might be asked for example:

Why do you want to be a nanny?

What activities do you enjoy doing with children?

What are your views on children’s routines and rhythms?

What are your views on behaviour management strategies?

Can you give me some examples of age appropriate activities for children?

Are you comfortable with house work and preparing meals?

What other experience and skills do you have?

Are you flexible with hours i.e. babysitting or if a parent is running late?

  • Engage with the children, it is not just about impressing the parents / whanau (introduce yourself to them).
  • Be a good listener not just a talker!
  • When the interview complete, ensure you thank the family/whanau for their time and express that you enjoyed and appreciated meeting them and their children.
  • Lastly, make sure you follow up with an email or phone call thanking the family for the opportunity to be considered for the role, and emphasise that you would be delighted to work with them and their children into the future.

Good luck, you have got this!

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“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius

www.rockmybaby.co.nz 

 

 

 

 


 

CV TIPS

A well-written CV is very important – it represents you

Your CV represents who you are, and is the first point of contact with the family. In order ensure the best chance of being asked for an interview, it is important your CV is well written, formatted properly, spell checked, and informative. It is also desirable if it is aesthetically pleasing.

It’s crucial to review your CV on a regular basis and add any new skills or experience that’s missing.

Explaining a gap in your CV

Whether you’ve been travelling or unemployed, sometimes there can be gaps in your CV. There are legitimate reasons for gaps, and short breaks shouldn’t make a huge difference to your CV.  If you took time out to go travelling, you can describe your cultural experiences, and you may have even worked while you were away .

If you took a prolonged period of time off due to sickness, you shouldn’t have a problem being honest as long as the illness doesn’t affect your ability to do the job. State that, due to a medical condition, you had to take some time away from work but have now returned to full health and are looking to re-enter the workplace. Likewise, if you were made redundant and became unemployed for quite some time, explain that your nanny family or company that you work for had to make cutbacks that unfortunately led to a reduction in hours,days or role.

Every nanny position you want to be put forward for, requires an up-to-date child-related CV attached to your email of interest.

Note on Social Media: Given this connected internet age you can expect that any prospective families will investigate you via the web also. Consider carefully any personal online public profiles on social media such as Facebook. For example, compromising photographs or comments will negatively influence your application with any prospective families.

Happy loving mother and her baby child playing outdoors in the park


Full Name

Picture of yourself

Address

D.O.B:  – Nationality:

Introduction

Write about yourself, any child-care experience you have had, your philosophy and approach to childcare. Include a Personal Statement.

Education and Qualifications

Pediatric First Aid – St Johns    May 2017

Certificate in Child Care and Education    June 2014

Driver’s License (Clean Record) July 2017

WORK EXPERIENCE

Jones Family          Full-time Nanny          February 2015- February 2017

This was a sole charge position in which I cared for a 5-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl. Duties included picking the children up from school and nursery respectively, arranging play dates for the girl, teaching her arts and crafts, taking trips to the park and helping the boy with any homework he may have. This role also involved meal preparation and household duties such as the children’s washing and ironing. (5 days per week)

Reason for Leaving: Girl was to start school full-time and hours decreased significantly.

Family #2          Full-Time Nanny          Date Started – Date Finished

Job description.

Reason for Leaving: One sentence explanation as to why you no longer work for the family.

Family #3          Full-Time Nanny          Date Started – Date Finished

Job description.

Reason for Leaving: One sentence explanation as to why you no longer work for the family.

Interests and Hobbies

Cycling, hiking, travelling, reading and running marathons.

Reference

At least two contactable child-related references – make sure you have permission to put their details down and are happy to be contacted.


Rockmybaby® consultants can help with your CV if required. Please see below a sample of a comprehensive child-related CV.

Loose Parts – The benefits of unstructured play and open-ended resources.

As a parent or educator, you have no doubt heard about the importance of ‘free play’, ‘loose parts’ and ‘open-ended resources’. But what do these terms really mean and why are they so important?

“Giving meaning to loose parts requires us to think about the possibilities of how a child learns and consider the materials and environments she uses. Loose parts create endless possibilities and invite creativity. For example, if a child picks up a rock and starts to play, most likely that rock can become anything the child wants it to be. Imagination, creativity, curiosity, desire, and need are the motivation of loose parts.

Loose parts are materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up, and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways. Loose parts can be used alone or combined with other materials. There is no set of specific directions for materials that are considered loose parts. The child is the direction.”

When setting up your learning environment, consider how the child will interact and engage with the materials and resources around him/her. Do the resources you have provided allow the child to freely explore their own interests, urges and curiosities, or do they limit and restrict the child’s play?

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Loose parts or open-ended resources create opportunities for learning and open up a world of discovery. The importance of these resources lies in the children’s interest and engagement. There are no rules or expectations with this form of play, and no ‘right or wrong’ way, making it free flowing, relaxed and natural. This invites more in-depth inquiry and active exploration, as children do not feel under pressure to perform or ‘get it right’.

Another fantastic thing about loose parts is that they are suitable for all ages.  “Children will manipulate and use them in different ways according to their own specific ages and stages of development – they can also use them in different ways day after day!”

Finally, these resources are cheap and easy to collect – making them perfect for setting up a quality learning environment on a budget! You can pick up little treasures from op-shops, as well as collecting natural resources, and keeping recycled materials, such as washed out yoghurt pots, empty plastic containers and cardboard tubes.

Above all else, HAVE FUN!

Written by Jess Shepard