Category: Parenting

Help! My Nanny is More Popular than Me

Help! My Nanny is More Popular than Me

There are often times when it seems like your nanny is more popular with your children than you are. That hurts. No matter how often you tell yourself you want your children to like the nanny. It still hurts. Let me tell you what can help.

Why is Nanny Popularity Good?

First you have to remember that the more comfortable your child is around your caregiver, the better any situation will be. Ideally, you want your child to look up to this person and trust them without doubts. This can be beneficial in a number of ways:


1. Safety – If your child feels threatened by any situation, you need someone there that he or she can feel safe with. It’s incredibly helpful if your child views your nanny as a form of security.

2. Openness – Older children may have problems bringing sociological problems to the parent, but would feel more comfortable speaking to a confidant. If the child is more comfortable speaking to the nanny, at least he or she can get help. Imagine what could happen if they would just let the situation fester inside.

3. Emergency – If something were to happen to you, the child will need someone they can be comfortable with. The nanny isn’t going to adopt your child if you pass away, but they need to have that familiarity in the worst case scenario.


Why is your Nanny more Popular than You?

So it’s good your nanny is popular. But perhaps it is also a sign, perhaps your child is telling you something you need to know. Your nanny may seem more popular than you because the nanny is providing a need to the child. This can be in a variety of forms depending on what aspect is being neglected. Although you may try to provide everything for your child, there could be something that he or she is missing. This can be boiled down to paying attention to your child. If you are attentive to his or her needs, you can fulfill them. It could be good to look at what is missing and how you can help improve your relationship with your child.

Try some of these tips:

1. Daily Discussions – Make sure you speak with your child on a daily basis. From the moment they can focus on your face, you should involve yourself with them. It doesn’t matter if they can’t understand you. Eventually, the will.

2. Play – You are no less of an adult if you can get down to the child’s level and play. Whether it is a regular tea party with dolls and animals or blowing up an enemy Lego stronghold with action figures, the child simply wants you to play with them.

3. Affectionate Reminders – Children love to feel safe and secure. Regular hugs throughout the day with verbal reminders of how much you love them will offer solidity to their feelings of being safe and provide them with a level of affection they need.

Feelings of Abandonment, On Your Part

And last you you need to look at yourself. Why are you feeling abandoned? Why does it hurt so much? Perhaps it’s connected to guilt, if so it’s worth reading these

articles on guilt.

It might also help to realize that it is common to feel like your child has abandoned you. However, you shouldn’t put too much stock in this infatuation your child has for the caregiver. There are several aspects you need to remember:

1. The Fun Factor – Children usually gravitate more towards someone who is “fun.” If your nanny puts forth extra effort for a child to be entertained, the child will most certainly associate fun with the nanny.

2. Respect – If the nanny provides a level of respect that the child is comfortable with, he or she will certainly respond better. Sometimes, this can be nothing more than the nanny placating to the ego of the child. This isn’t a bad thing, but it could be considered by some to be a form of spoiling.

If it’s any of those two, there really is nothing to worry about, as they are quite superficial and a good thing. It’s nice if your child has fun and feels respected. And here comes the key bit: you have something your nanny doesn’t  have. Regardless of how much fun or respectful a nanny may be, you are still in a better position. You have a bond. You have been there from the start, and you – hopefully – will always be there.

The bond a child has with a parent can be stronger than many may realize. Children know exactly the difference between you and the nanny. They know who is the parent, and might even give you a hard time because they know you will always be there, they feel safe with you. Remember, that is such a powerful thing for a child, to know they are safe.

The stronger your bond, the more solid the foundation is for your relationship.

It’s never a bad thing for your children to be enthralled with your nanny. There are many situations that could happen where the children need someone that is immediately available should something happen. Take solace in knowing that your nanny is doing a spectacular job and that your children are safe. Don’t doubt yourself as a parent, you are most likely doing a fantastic job. Do reflect on the tips above though, and if you can improve on any, just try and everyone will notice, especially the children.

SaraDawkins_150x150Author: Sara Dawkins. Sara is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor of Nannypro

 How to make the most of quality time with your child

How to make the most of quality time with your child

I would love to share the factors which determine success in children. Is it quality time spent with parents? Is it time spent with parents? Is it eating the right food? Or is it really all about the school they go to and the quality of childcare you buy-in, and nothing to do with your quality time?

The internet is full of advice for parents telling them how to promote their children’s IQ levels with vitamin supplements or telling them to eat dinner together every night. These carry elements of great advice but neuroscientists are now coming up with interesting theories about another way to determine success. They are suggesting that we teach impulse control from a very young age. This is both good and bad news for professional working mums.

It’s good news because it’s something we can all teach our children even when quality time is short. It’s bad news because when children are “acting out” parents want the behaviour to stop and might do this by rewarding the child (with gifts or sweets) which shuts them up in the short term. Teaching impulse control means you have to have patience if not time.

In their book “Welcome to the Child’s Brain” Aamodt and Wang from Princeton University, explain that “The ability to plan and organize your own behaviour to reach a goal predicts success in almost every area that matters to parents, from education to careers to marriage”.

Basically research is showing us that children who have higher levels of self control in childhood are healthier and wealthier adults and less likely to commit crimes or do drugs (Study from Kings College London, Duke University North Carolina and Otago University New Zealand 2011)

Why is self control so important?

Self-control helps us with many aspects in life. Aspects that are key for success. It teaches us to:

  • plan and prepare for the future
  • control our temper
  • manage relationships
  • share and wait our turn

How do you teach your child self-control?

  • It starts around 2 with the temper tantrum phase. If you give in straight away (and that screaming is so hard to ignore and cope with so all our sympathies to parents with screaming toddlers), you send the message that their shouting and screaming works. Teaching children to delay gratification starts right then. If you give them instant gratification at this stage, they aren’t going to have self control later on. Just be there with your child when they are having a tantrum and once they start to calm down reflectively listen to what was upsetting them and sympathize without giving in.
  • Teach children to plan ahead, anticipate all the things which might happen in a future occasion, and help them anticipate the appropriate behaviour for that occasion (like visiting an Aunt’s or going out for the day.) Then they do the action or have the experience and then review it afterwards. When reviewing praise all the times they had to wait “You didn’t whine about being hungry even though Auntie took so long bringing out any food!”
  • If you as a parents were not happy with some aspect of the way your child behaved in any situation, you can do an action replay which teaches them alternative ways of behaving. So if they snatched a toy, action replay takes them back into that situation in their imagination and asks them to come up with alternative ways of getting the toy they wanted. They often only snatched (or behaved impulsively) because they had no idea of any alternative way of behaving.
  • Teach about waiting or delaying getting what they want. Give children screen time only AFTER they help around the house or do something creative first.
  • Team sports help children control impulses as they have to wait in turn and be part of a team so it reduces selfishness.
  • Put aside a box of toys designated only for one day a week which teaches the child to wait for something special.
  • Teach children to budget their pocket money as this teaches self control and all about future planning.

Why is this good for working mums and quality time?

This is good news for working mums as we naturally teach our children to wait. After all we’re not there to meet their every need and to listen immediately to all they want to share. They know they have to wait until you return from work so they are automatically learning self control and to wait for their gratification (quality time with you).

So instead of any feelings of guilt, feel confident and happy in the knowledge that you are teaching your child an important and positive lesson in life about learning self control. And that most of the successful people in life learnt impulse control from a young age.

Author: Bebe Jacobs, Parenting Coaching Now, Contact her for individual coaching of parents, workshops for parents and in-company tailored workshops., M: 07939 880856

How involving your children in cooking can save you time

How involving your children in cooking can save you time

Are you finding it hard to cook a meal from scratch and are you often rushed? Could you do with a pair of extra hands? Do your children keep asking when dinner is ready when you are busy mashing those potatoes?

Try getting your children involved. It is a great way to cut down on preparation time – often the most time-consuming part of cooking a meal. On top of that you keep the children busy too!

Start on the weekend, when you feel more relaxed. Start by asking them to arrange your table, then move on to greasing the roasting pans, washing vegetables and peeling potatoes with safety peelers. Don’t underestimate these small tasks; your children are your little sous chefs in the kitchen! You can assign jobs suitable to your children’s age. Also get your children involved in the meal planning and shopping. Last, do remember to praise your children for their helpfulness!

This is the perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, where you can teach your children practical skills alongside developing their relationship and knowledge of food. Parents often find themselves passing down not just culinary skills, but important messages about nutrition during cooking with children.

A study carried out by the School Food Trust measuring the impacts of children’s school-based cooking clubs found that learning to cook improved recognition of healthier foods, and enhanced the desire to eat them. Why not nurture this at home?

I can see you are going to say “But there will be extra work cleaning up the mess along with taking the time to teach: I don’t see how this is going to save me time at all’! Quite simply, I can guarantee you that it is an investment with huge rewards. By investing a bit of time and patience to teach your children, they will become the best sous chefs any mother could have.

Cooking well is an essential and lifelong skill. I don’t think any mother or father here would wish to see their children leaving home eating baked beans on toast every meal.

Put your sous chefs in their aprons and get cooking!

Busy Working Mums

Author: Jaycee Cheong from the mini cooking club in South London. The Mini Cooking Club is a charity which provides free practical cooking workshops and nutritional education for children and families. Check out the website to find out more about their workshops, or email

Twitter: @MiniCookingClub

Facebook: Eat In Campaign