As part of our ‘Parenting Advice’ section, we spoke to professional nanny, Heather McKenzie about her experience bringing up little ones. If there’s one thing Heather knows, it’s how to encourage children to grow and learn. With over 20 years of experience she has seen it all.
Heather says; “My job is to prepare children to cope with life—helping them become secure, happy, independent little people. The rewards for me are in helping them to achieve all those little milestones that lead them down the path towards independence…”
With that in mind, we poached her for five minutes to get her top tips for parents and carers. Trust us, it’s worth a read.
- Give them freedom – but with clear boundaries
“Children learn through play, but need to be kept safe. They need to know that they cannot poke their fingers into electric sockets, or climb on the bookshelves. But they also need to know that they can jump in that muddy puddle or spin around until they get dizzy and fall over, because that’s how they learn!”
- Never be scared to say no
“Pick your boundaries and make them clear and consistent—and if you are going to cave in and say yes in the end, then don’t bother saying no in the first place, otherwise your child will never believe that you mean what you say!”
- Let them get messy
“The first time I took one of my previous charges—a 4-year-old girl—to the playground, she stood there in her immaculate designer French frock and steadfastly refused to go on anything. So we went home, and she howled all the way because she hadn’t got to go on the swings.This repeated itself over and over, and it took about six weeks for her to tell me that she couldn’t go on anything “because Mummy gets cross when I get dirty”.The solution was simple—we bought her some everyday basics that she was allowed to get dirty, and when she got home, she changed back into her lovely dresses. Once given permission to get dirty, she, like all children, had a whale of a time.”
- Teach them to do as much as they can by themselves
“Get them shoes with Velcro and dress them in easy pull-up trousers (especially when potty training!) Little children get a massive sense of achievement and pride in doing something “all by myself” and it inspires them to want to aim higher and achieve more.”
So there you have it, great advice from someone in the know. We told you she was good. Check back here later, for more parenting tips and cheats…