‘Virtual Nannying – Take Another Look’, is one of a series of guest post from Nanny Laura, a friend of Army of Nannies..
Laura – who has over 30-years’ experience – has worked with families all over the world. And across COVID-19 she has advised nannies on adapting to the impact of the pandemic.
Virtual Nannying Part Two: Here We Go Again
A couple of months ago. I shared a piece called, 5 Tips on Virtual Nannying – you can read it here.
Here’s part two – it dives a little deeper into how to apply virtual nannying, And how it can be another tool to extend a nanny’s usefulness to their host family.
My Journey Into Virtual Nannying
I first did some virtual nannying several years ago when the family I nannied for moved abroad. I spent the first couple of weeks with them to help settle in the baby and the older siblings. The mum really struggled keeping to the routines and disciplining the kids who were playing up a lot after I left.
She found disciplining hard. The baby began refusing to be put down for naps. And then decided – as an extra treat – to be nocturnal. Her husband worked fulltime, and the rest of her family were back in the UK.
We started having a few phone calls, after I had left, with me giving her advice. After eight years, I was well-rehearsed with her children.
We agreed that she would pay me to help her as much as I could. We had daily calls and a couple of emails a day with tips, time management ideas, sleep training advice, mealtime etiquette tactics etc. I became her ‘go-to’ and made myself available to her for advice and support.
I provided a very real service mum very much needed, in a virtual way.
When lockdown happened this year, I had literally just started in a new role. Instead of physically going to my new family’s house, I offered to virtual nanny for them. ‘HOW??’ I hear you ask!
Well, it was not just my face on a phone. That would have been not very interesting and of little use. My charge was 10-months at the time, so his attention span was limited. However, he did like a funny stuffed toy dog called ‘Woof’.
We became a happy double act, myself and Woof. This engaged him for a few minutes at a time. Which of course is not much, but it provided a level of consistency and recognition which he loved.
Top Tip: Having a sidekick like Woof is a great tactic – on and offline. Woof is never left with my family. He stays with me. But bringing him out pretty much immediately draws a little one’s focus towards me.
It’s often helped me settle situations or counter distractions – and there are lots of those around right now!
My employer would film him during mealtimes and playtimes to keep me up to speed with his development and any issues. I worked out meals and recipes. And advised on his routine, like tips on settling. Gave developmental play ideas. LOADS OF STUFF!
Virtual Nannying is There to Adapt
This was my adaptation to virtual nannying, in my role, at the time. It worked so well!
Please do read the 5 Tips on Virtual Nannying blog to get more ideas on how you can tailor the tool to suit your set-up.
Show them what you’ve got!
So many incredible nannies have extra qualifications, qualities and boundless gifts to bring to the table: teaching skills, experience in social care, particular childcare skills like sleep training or weaning, the list goes on.
Virtual nannying as an additional service.
If COVID restrictions have limited to hours, you can use virtual nannying to extend your sphere of influence beyond your primary family. Consider using your spare time to offer virtual services allowing others to benefit from some of your specialist nannying skills.
Or look to extend your services with your employing family. Remember, the selling point with virtual nannying is that you can chat about the matter without disturbances. And with the bonus of a professional on hand – you!
I say ‘you!’ because any parent can go online seeking advice for anything from a web page. However, surely having someone familiar, someone the children know, someone they know is the winner hands down.
Safeguarding and ways of working: It is, of course, important that safeguarding should be in place as with any childcare solution. If you are offering your services to new families, references and accreditation must be offered and checked.
For example, emails and WhatsApps must be monitored and marked as work-related. Also cc’d where possible with all the adults within the workplace. And hourly rates considered and terms of services agree before any engagement.
Finding Effective Ways of Working in the New World
It seems to me this can only be a positive new world nannying service. Even when looking at less disrupted roles, can virtual conversations play a role? What about those unsaid, everyday niggles?
There are additional tensions right now. And a negative atmosphere – or a toddler meltdown at the wrong moment – can lead to misinterpretations or misunderstandings.
So, after the event, can you voice virtually what was left unsaid?
I believe virtual nannying advice/roundups/clarifications should be part of the service provided by nannies in the new world. The tech is there and readily available to support better day-to-day relationships, let alone additional services.
Everyone should have a moment to have their say. And creating this kind of online interaction, at a regular catch up, may make it easier all around.
Virtual nannying will always be contentious, but if we look for what it can do, rather than what it can’t, it may present opportunities for even better childcare services from professional nannies.
Didn’t get part one
Here it is – click here and read all about it.