Hi everyone! We are excited to present our next nominated Nanny of the Month! For those who have been following along, we take some time each month to nominate a nanny within our agency in order to showcase their talents, skills and personalities. We took some time to connect with Linnea G. recently to hear about her experience as a Chicago nanny! As you read along, you will discover some of the things she has learned in her current placement that have been invaluable to her nanny experience. She is also a great representation of a hardworking and dedicated CCN nanny! Be sure to take a few moments to read about Linnea and hear her story. Congratulations to our August Nanny of the Month, Linnea!
CCN: What is your favorite thing about being a nanny?
Linnea G.: I really like being able to do different things throughout the day. I don’t have to worry about sitting and doing the same paperwork. We have our routine of course, and if it’s nice out we can go to the park or the zoo. My [nanny] family has memberships to different museums. I don’t worry about running out of things to do because we have the flexibility to go around and explore and walk around and read. It’s nice to be able to have a little bit of unpredictability in the day and not feel like I’m being worked to death from the same desk job!
CCN: Can you tell us your story about how you decided to become a nanny?
Linnea G.: It’s kind of a funny story. I first started getting into childcare when I was 12/13 years old because I didn’t want to go to Sunday school, so I’d hide upstairs in the nursery with all of the babies. So I’ve always been around kids since I was very young. I really enjoyed it! I went to school to study music, but my senior year I realized that it wasn’t really a viable career option for me. So I was trying to decide if I should go back to school to get a different degree and with the experience I had, I had all these years of childcare. So I decided to see if that could be a career option. I started part time nannying and it eventually turned into full time and I haven’t really looked back since.
CCN: What do you think has been the most rewarding thing you have learned throughout your current placement?
Linnea G.: This child I take care of now is my first child that struggles with separation anxiety. So, it’s about learning that my typical tricks I would use with other kids don’t work as well with her. I know she’s not going to run away from me, but the other times [if she is really struggling] with a tantrum or something and I walk away, I know I need to be with her and with her until she works it out. With her, what I’ve definitely learned in this experience is to be flexible and that what you know doesn’t necessarily mean you know anything. [And also] being open to finding new strategies if what you have isn’t working.
CCN: What do you think has been beneficial about working with an agency like Chicago Collegiate Nannies?
Linnea G.: It’s been great! It definitely helped with the whole job searching process. I know it can be difficult from both sides, so it’s kind of a little bit of guessing, but it also takes out some of the logistics of having to worry about [questions like] “what is the budget for this family?”, “how many kids do they have?” and being able to get information up front is amazingly helpful. And being able to talk with the agency about what you’ve noticed about the family...Being able to have that middleman and to go back and forth in the process and to go to afterwards has been immensely helpful.
CCN: What advice would you give to someone who is looking to become a professional nanny?
Linnea G.: Definitely know your own “parenting style” or childcare style. As a nanny, it’s my job to raise the children the way the parents want their children to be raised, there are also certain parenting techniques that I don’t [always] agree with [or that align with my style]...I know that sleep training is something I like to encourage with the families I work for and structure is something kids need to feel safe. So, knowing what I’m comfortable with and being with a parent who has a very similar philosophy. So that even if you find a job where the parents are really nice, the kids are really cute, etc., knowing the relationship will work in the long term is more important than [just] the likability of the people. You need to be able to work together because otherwise, it’s not going to be a good relationship with the nanny or the parents. And still being able to compromise and work together. Because at the end of the day, I’m not the parent and not everything that I say goes, but having the basics covered and having the parents that are on the same page.
CCN: Do you have any plans and goals for yourself personally and professionally in the next five years?
Linnea G.: For me, I actually write young adult novels. So I’m hoping to have a book published in the next five years.
CCN: What do you think has been the biggest you have learned as a nanny?
Linnea G.: I kind of said it earlier. To just know that no two kids are the same. Take things as they come. Definitely being patient about things you didn't know you had to be patient about. And understanding that children are not [necessarily] trying to make your life difficult, they are just learning how to have emotions. And being able to accept that and help them through it versus just getting frustrated. Learning patience and how to be a different kind of tired. There’s so much more about them that you have to be ahead to keep up with running toddlers.
CCN: Are there any other tips and tricks you would like to share?
Linnea G.: I feel like kids really do love water. So trying to incorporate water play can help with handwashing. [You can] have little kiddie pools using spray bottles and spraying it on the sidewalk (watching it change colors). And on the flipside when it’s cold in the winter and it’s too cold to swim, to bring the snow inside into the bathtub. Like a snow sandbox. Just get some dump trucks, and shovels and some waterproof gloves and have them go to town. Kind of make it into a sandbox and if it melts, it’s just water so it’s not too messy.