The Nanny Godmother loves to hear from colleagues in the childcare profession who are readers of the blog. Patty has recently written in with a dilemma that’s particularly challenging because of the professional setting in which it’s occurring:
I am a daycare provider for a set of 21 month old twin boys in addition to 4 other children. Within the past month they both started using foul language. I simply ignored it the first week, although some of the older children were quick to point it out to me each time they heard it. During the second week when it occurred, I got down at their level and firmly said “No. We don’t use that word. That is not ok.” The third week, I repeated the steps from week 2, but then put them in time out. They don’t seem to be fazed by it at all and they seem to be swearing more each day. Mom is really no help and simply blames it on Dad.
Any suggestions that I can use as a licensed provider? (When this occurred with my own children, step three included a swat on the rear end which put a pretty quick end to foul language, but as a licensed provider I am not able to use corporal punishment.) Thank you!
Unfortunately, as you know, we childcare professionals are limited in what we can do if we don’t have the support of the parents.
However, I do think you should talk to the mum again and explain what a big problem it is, and that you don’t want other parents to start complaining.
As long as you’re not receiving parental support, your options are going to be somewhat limited, and the best thing I can think of for you to do is to concentrate on teaching the twins that such language is not accepted by you. Try not to make too much of it when they say the words, as although I doubt they understand the meaning, they do understand that it upsets you. Don’t even make eye contact, as they are probably just waiting for you to react. Just take them by the hand and say “You know that Patty doesn’t accept those words” in a very low, calm voice. Don’t interact with them any more than that, and put them in time out (away from each other, if they’re both in time out). When time out is finished, make them look you in the eye and say “sorry” for using bad words, then carry on as normal.
This method may take some time to yield results, but due to their age I think it is about all you can do.
I hope this was of some help to you; if there are any readers who can give Patty more advice on this matter, please feel free to leave a comment or drop us a line.
Pippa is another reader who enjoys working with children and is looking to transition into a nannying career. She writes:
Hello, I have just found your blog which is great! What a good idea.
I am hoping you can offer me some advice. I am living in Cornwall and want to become a nanny. I am 29 and my current job is a childcare position looking after children aged 4 months to 12 years in regular groups in Cornwall. It is challenging and interesting as they are all from different ethnic backgrounds, so I support them with play and development and also help with language skills etc. My contract is about to end and I would love to be a nanny – but the problem I find is that all agencies want 2 years experience as a nanny but do you think I could apply with my experience?
I have also done regular babysitting on weekends, and have a degree and youth work level 2 NVQ.
I would be very happy to get the CACHE qualification or similar but I would only be able to do that if it was alongside a job, or distance learning.
I would really appreciate your advice! Thank you.
Hi Pippa, thanks for writing and for being a reader of the blog.
Being a nanny means of course principally being in charge of the welfare of children - where your current childcare experience will no doubt help you – but nannies also work on a close and personal level with the parents, which can sometimes be more challenging if you don’t have prior experience specifically as a nanny.
I’m not sure which nanny agencies you’ve already consulted, but there are several agencies in Cornwall that you could try calling to find out what advice they can give you. Also, this time of year you can find a lot of holiday positions advertised in The Lady magazine and some local newspapers, which is something that could help you gain more experience working with families.
I wish you luck, Pippa, in your job search.
The Nanny Godmother has received a lovely email from reader Saffron:
I’ve just found your lovely blog and have a huge smile on my face already! I am still browsing through it but it is wonderful.
I am actually wondering if you could give me some advice? I would like to become a nanny myself but I feel a little clueless on where to begin. I am 29 so I have plenty of life experience and also experience with nieces and nephews as well as children of family and friends.
My dilemma is that I don’t have professional experience or qualifications but I can’t seem to get one without the other!
I have considered some distance learning childcare courses and perhaps trying to do a little bit of volunteering somewhere but I wondered if you could give me any advice? I’m sorry for springing these questions on you but any help would be so very much appreciated. Thank you and keep up the great work on the blog!
Saffron, thanks for your kind words. I’m happy that you’ve been enjoying the blog, and even happier that you want to become a nanny. It is a very fulfilling and rewarding career in so many ways. On the other hand, it carries with it a great deal of pressure and responsibility. It’s not a job that should be considered easy; you will be responsible for your charges’ education, safety, and emotional and physical development.
If you are thinking of becoming a nanny, I would strongly advise seeking a qualification. As you’re in the UK, visit the CACHE website; they have some good career advice and a number of qualification opportunities you might be interested in. As you mentioned in your email, many qualification courses are available through distance learning from various institutions.
Your idea about volunteering is a great one; for example, you could do some voluntary work at a local nursery or playschool whilst doing a qualification. If you’re not sure about what opportunities are available, you could contact your council or local organisations that work with children.
You could also do a paediatric first aid course, which is very widely offered. This won’t get you a job, but would be good experience and make you a stronger candidate.
Try to do some part-time babysitting, as when you are applying for nanny jobs prospective employers are very interested in the diversity of your previous childcare experience. Of course, you should always be candid with parents about the extent of your experience.
Start compiling work references, including from past babysittings. Then contact a nanny agency in your area; even if you are not ready just yet for a sole charge position, they can give you some guidance and perhaps suggest some positions appropriate for your level of experience. Maybe you could also give your local careers office a call and see if they have any information about positions available in your area.
Making your way along a new career path is challenging for anyone – so most importantly, be persistent and don’t get discouraged along the way. Good luck – I’ve got my fingers crossed for you!