Are you a family that utilizes the wonderful services of a nanny? Or perhaps you are a professional nanny yourself? Whichever category you find yourself in, there is one thing to agree on: finding the perfect match or growing a nanny-family relationship can be overwhelming.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone! Thankfully, here at The STEM Nanny Company, we understand this… which is why we take self-care, mindfulness, and meditation very seriously. In this article, we discuss five ways to incorporate mindfulness and meditation into your nanny experience.
What are mindfulness and meditation?
While the two “M” words often go hand in hand, they are not the same.
Mindfulness is an increased level of awareness of something whether it be one’s surroundings, an ideology, or an object.
Meditation is an action; it is the process of thinking deeply about something to achieve deep relaxation.
Practicing mindfulness and meditation is beneficial to any individual because it allows them to mentally remove themselves from a stressful situation, calm down, regulate, and return feeling refreshed and ready to move forward.
After a combination of research and experience, we have come up with our top 5 ways to incorporate mindfulness and meditation into your nanny experience. Here they are!
Encourage Open and Clear Communication in your Nanny-Family Relationship
Communication is one of the most critical elements in a Nanny-Family relationship. Maintaining a two-way, clear, open, and honest line of communication ensures that all expectations and requests are conveyed effectively. This not only guarantees that everyone speaks openly, provides critical feedback, or makes adjustments with ease, but it ensures a successful long-term relationship.
Discuss with your nanny family how, when and what you communicate. Remain flexible on the types of communication you use. Email, text, phone call, or face-to-face are great options to keep communication flowing. Here are a few tips to consider:
Suggest a daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly meeting to discuss the children’s development, the challenges they are overcoming, behavioral issues, accomplishments, and successes!
Set a daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly list of tasks you are required to complete and record their completion.
Start a journal where you can make notes informing the parents of the highlights of the day, children’s behavior, praise their success or improvements, detail the completion of tasks, set reminders for the next day, etc.
Determine if the parents would like to receive daily reports, texts with updates or pictures. Photo updates are especially favorable for working parents!
Establishing open communication with your nanny kids is as important as it is with parents. Children have different personalities, triggers and can switch moods quickly; which, let’s face it, is a challenging side of childcare. To help you navigate mood swings or challenging behaviors, teach children to self-regulate and learn about their emotions. Use emotion flashcards or books, or simply describe and name their feelings so they can easily communicate with you.
Children are still learning about their emotions and need to identify them before they can cope with them in a healthy way. After they identify their feelings, with or without assistance, teach them how to find their center by using breathing techniques, calming corners, or allowing them to take out their feelings in a healthy and safe way (maybe drawing their feelings out or punching a pillow when they are mad).
Incorporate Break and Rest Periods into your Routine
A nanny’s schedule is unique in the sense that we cannot take breaks or rest in the same way other professionals can. For this reason, it is crucial to ensure that you DO have the opportunity to pause and rest when possible. Talk to your nanny family about including short breaks in your daily routine. A few suggestions are:
Take advantage of nap time. Use a few minutes to pause, clear your mind and refocus, then continue with your daily tasks.
No nap time? No problem! Assign quiet time or independent playtime! You can sit comfortably on the couch while observing the children coloring, playing with blocks, or reading a book.
Identify opportunities to take a break! Use the time when the children are in a class where you are not expected to interact with them. If one or both parents are home and having lunch with the children, request a few minutes to take a quick break, stretch your legs, make a call or check your email.
Use break time to meditate, stretch, eat a quick snack, listen to music, returning a phone call, or respond an email. Whatever you do during your break, make sure it benefits you, recharges your energy, or relieves you of worries or stress.
Include as Much Time Outdoors as Possible
Spending time outside not only allows youngsters to explore and burn their energy, but it is also a terrific way to recharge your batteries! Take advantage of this and try the following:
Bring along a picnic blanket and encourage children to practice meditation, breathing exercises, or stretching with you, guide them through it, and, afterward, let them hit the playground or run around.
Take a walk in the neighborhood or park and observe nature. Observation stimulates exploration and discovery in children and offers distraction, exercise, and fresh air for you!
Search for easy hiking or biking trails and enlist the kids in a fun adventure, then end your active day with a relaxing and yummy picnic.
Plan a day out at the zoo, botanical garden, or local farm. Sure, caring for the children in a public place does not seem as relaxing, but it offers a break from daily routine and allows exercising, breathing fresh air, and sightseeing.
Schedule Creative Time that Both Nanny and Children Can Enjoy
Creative time doesn’t only benefit children! Take advantage of the opportunity to be artistic by working alongside the children in arts and crafts. The more you try it, the more you will find yourself able to unwind and relax while doing it!
Plan activities that encourage self-expression and creativity. Painting, coloring, working with clay or playdough are excellent options to connect with inner emotions and transform them into art. Letting go or some emotions can help with relaxation.
The great thing about creative time is that you do not need to prepare too much for it. With some paper, colors, crayons, washable paint, or watercolors you can create great masterpieces! Let your creativity and imagination flow!
Move your Body and Plan for Exercise Snacks During the Day
Movement and exercise assist your body in releasing endorphins which are known to help relieve stress and anxiety, low moods, or pain. Exercise snacks are short conscious moments of exercise or movement to give your body an endorphin boost. The great news is that children have lots of energy and are highly active, so take advantage of that by practicing movement and exercise while caring for your nanny kids! Here are a few tips:
Dance to songs on the radio. Organize a dancing session to encourage movement, gross motor skills, and a switch in the mood!
Plan an obstacle course in the driveway or back yard for the kids and join them! Use chalk to trace it or use simple household items. Find more about this activity in Creating Light Bulb Moment Ideas and Activities.
Play physical games like tag, hide and seek, or red rover!
Transform a walk to the park into a jogging session! Get the kids in a stroller or have them hop on their bikes, scooter, or skates and go, go go!
Choose to walk instead of drive when doing errands. If you need to get in the car, try parking as far as you can and walk.
Choose stairs over elevators. Climbing stairs strengthens muscles, improves balance and coordination, and boosts cardiovascular health. It also helps children develop and improve their gross motor skills. Take advantage of this and make it a “practice session” for them and quick cardio for you!
Your well-being is critical for both physical and mental health! Make mindfulness and meditation a priority, and encourage your nanny family to do the same!
Remember to discuss with parents before introducing this practice and whatever their choice, consider it for your well-being.
Are you looking for a nanny in the Houston area? Are you a nanny looking for a perfect family? Check out The STEM Nanny Company to learn more about our open positions and the unique values that set our company apart!