COVID-19: Nannying during the pandemic
Well, this is not the 2020 that people had planned... it is so difficult to put the past 6 months in writing. The ongoing pandemic, definitely has and continues to challenge me on both a personal and a professional level and I thought that I would share some insight into my most recent nannying experience. Temporary, emergency nannying during a global virus outbreak wasn’t part of my goals for the ne
w decade but here we are. I hope that this is insightful to you and would love to hear about your experiences during this time!
Before COVID, I was working as a nanny for two families and caring for four children aged 8 months, 3, 5 and 7. But when the lockdown measures were announced, we all felt that it was best that I stopped going in and out of homes.
About a week or so into lockdown, a local family reached out to me looking for emergency childcare. The parents, both GP’s, needed somebody who could provide childcare for their children; aged 20 months and 4. Their local nursery had closed down and they both needed to work long hours at their respective surgeries. Within the space of 48 hours, I found myself in sole charge of two little boys who I barely knew and whose normal routines had been turned upside down.
I won’t lie, lockdown has had its highs and lows. Managing my own emotions and fears in regards to the virus whilst keeping two little people happy was tricky at times. In a normal nannying role, I like to take some time to find my feet. That was a privilege that I didn’t have this time round. It really helped that on my first day, myself and the older child spent some time putting together a schedule and talking about some of the activities that we might be able to do together.
A typical day in lockdown for us started around 8 am when I arrived at work. The boys would normally have had breakfast and be watching cartoons when I arrived. I would have a handover with one of the parents during which we would talk about how the boys slept, what they’ve been up to the day before and what they would like me to make for lunch and dinner. Once the parents had left, we would spend an hour or so in the playroom before going to play football in the garden. It was really important for us to spend as much time outdoors as we could, it meant the boys were still getting the opportunity to use and develop their motor skills and also kept them active. After our time outdoors we would either do some arts and crafts or we would pick a game to set up and play with. Our favourites were Lego and Racing Cars. We would then normally have our lunch followed by a long nap for the youngest. The older boy had been sent activity packs from school and we would try and complete some of the activities whilst his brother was asleep. Then we would have some quiet time and read some books or watch a movie.
The afternoons were relatively short and I normally set up an activity in the garden such as a water tray or slime that both of the boys would enjoy. That was closely followed by dinner and a bath at which time Mummy or Daddy would normally be home.
One thing that was an extra important part of our daily routine was obviously super regular cleaning and hand washing, this was a regular event prior to lockdown. At ages 8,5 and 3, my previous charges all had various levels of understanding of what was going on. I think one of the challenges in explaining the virus was the fact that even as adults we didn’t really know what coronavirus was or did. I always aim to be honest with my charges and I felt it was important to let them know that I was worried about it but that myself, Mummy and Daddy were doing everything to keep them safe. It was so important for me to share my feelings and lead my charges by example, after all we know how much children learn through copying those around them. I also went over the basics such as handwashing and using hand sanitizer before and after school. There have been some really useful resources shared over the course of the pandemic, I’ve used “What are Germs?” from Usborne Books.
I’m really proud of myself for stepping up to the challenge of taking on a new family in the middle of a global pandemic. My love and passion for children and their families is such a key part of who I am that I can’t really imagine spending all of lockdown at home. I knew that if a family needed my support that that was the smallest thing that I could offer to the fight against the virus. COVID-19 has, and continues to wreak havoc to many lives across the globe and I really applaud all of the other nannies and childcare providers who like myself were able and willing to step up and support families in this time of need. I would really love to hear your experiences of lockdown, did it impact your family or job? Please let me know in the comments or get in touch via email.