As well as having great responsibility attached to the role, being a nanny allows you to have fun: yes, you are being paid to have fun! It is impossible to engage with children if you are withdrawn, miserable or angry. You need to be able to enter their world and leave your adult preoccupations behind, so that children can play, create and enjoy themselves. This means that, while keeping an eye out for any problems, you need to have fun too. You can be:
- The ducks you draw don't have to be perfect,
- the songs you sing don't have to be in tune,
- your dances don't have to be perfectly choreographed.
When you are with growing creatures, you are in a wonderful position to watch their growth and enjoy their development. Some people get this from watching their gardens grow, or their kittens become cats but as a nanny you have the privilege of watching a child develop in so many areas: physically, intellectually, creatively; in their speech and mastery over their environment; in their understanding of the world about them, of relationships and emotions. You would have to be hardhearted and cold, not to take pleasure in this complex unfolding. There well may be challenging parts to it, but the growth of a child is the most wonderful process, and you are able to observe and enjoy it at first hand.
- You will hear the early attempts at speech: 'da' and 'er' develop into recognisable words, and then into the mispronounced words that become part of a family's vocabulary eg 'guessing gown' for dressing gown!
- You will see the early attempts at movement evolve into crawling, standing, walking, climbing until have to rescue someone from the fence or tree.
- You will see the shy smile evolve into kisses and cuddles and see the comfort you've given played out when a doll has an accident.
- You will receive confidences and have people looking forward to seeing you, what a boost to the ego!
- a growth in responsibility from the responsibility of caring for other people's children;
- the ability to organise themselves so that they can organise activities to meet the developmental needs of one or more children as well as ensuring their physical care and safety;
- a sense of independence which has come from being a sole worker and so having to rely on their own resources.
I'm sure many of you would have experienced other benefits from being a nanny, some of which you only realise several years later. I'd love to hear what you have gained.