By Lynn Wariara, Author of How To Get The Best Out Of Your Nanny
There are a lot of nanny job descriptions that require nannies to be “positive, fun, and energetic.” My concern is how do nannies keep themselves healthy and in-balance despite all the demands of working with children for long periods of time each day? How do you ensure you are at your very best both physically and mentally to maintain a happy and loving environment for the children placed in your care?
I am reminded of the flight instructions given by the air hostesses before take-off: “When the oxygen mask drops, if you are seated next to a small child or someone needing assistance, secure your own mask first. Then, assist the child.”
I used to think, “What a selfish thing to say?” But now, I realize you cannot be much help to anyone else unless you take care of yourself first. You cannot give love unless you first love yourself. You can only give what you have. So with all this said, I have come up with seven ways to keep yourself in balance, by having fun, and being energetic so that you can be the best nanny.
1. Meditation: Take time each morning before you start your day to meditate. If you are spiritually out of balance, it will show in both your physical body and in your behavior. I know of some who take time to say a prayer each morning so that their day may be well guarded.
2. Exercise: We all know the benefits of getting in shape. Exercise helps clear your head, reduces symptoms of stress, and increases energy and your metabolism. An unfit nanny may find it harder keeping up with children.
3. Healthy foods: Eating foods that are loaded with sugar actually slow you down at the end of the day (right when you need the most energy with dinner, homework, and bath time). Buy plenty of healthy snacks so you can make healthy choices instead of choosing unhealthy snacks impulsively.
4. Take your vitamins: Working with children all day, you are exposed to many germs. Taking essential vitamins helps to keep your immune system strong and healthy. Visit your nearest health food store or ask a trusted pharmacist or your General Practitioner what dietary supplements you should take.
5. Read: When the children nap, make use of the time to accrue some knowledge or relax with a great novel. It’s proven that reading helps reduce stress, improve analytical thinking, sharpen memory, increase vocabulary, enhance writing skills, and serves as a great distraction.
6. Socialize: Socializing reduces stress. Getting together with friends for dinner, or to go to the movies, or to get spa treatments all help create a happier, healthier you. Get involved with organizations that celebrate your passions like a book club, non-profit organizations, or a house of worship.
7. Visit your doctor for a check-up: Make sure you have what it takes to be mentally and physically capable of caring for children. I know many nannies don’t have health insurance. But, to find the cheapest individual health care insurance in your state click here. Scroll down to the blue box on the right hand side to find the lowest plan at healthcare.gov. There are also programs that cater to health care for domestic workers. I recommend www.mybenefitsplus.com/familyplan. For more information regarding this program please call Glenn Davis at 908-325-5176.
I know that by following these suggestions you will be a healthier and happier nanny, which will be very much appreciated by the children you care for and the parents that hire you.