As a nanny, you have a unique opportunity to help children develop important life skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. Whether you're working with toddlers or pre-schoolers, there are a variety of life skills you can teach them to promote independence, self-sufficiency and confidence. In this blog post, we'll explore some tips and advice on how to teach life skills to children.
1. Health and Hygiene
It is important to start teaching children about health and hygiene at a young age. Often we tell children to take a bath, brush their teeth, and wash their hands without explaining the reasons behind these routines.
Teaching children about health and hygiene is a crucial responsibility for nannies and by starting early and prioritising these habits, you can help children develop lifelong healthy habits that promote their overall well-being.
Books to help
'It's Time for a Bath' by Philemon Sturges.
This book follows a young boy who enjoys playing in the mud and getting dirty, but eventually, his mom encourages him to take a bath. Throughout the story, the boy learns about different self-care practices, such as washing his hands, brushing his teeth and taking a bath.
The book is beautifully illustrated, making it engaging and interactive for children. It's a great way to introduce the concept of self-care to young children and help them develop healthy habits that will benefit them throughout their lives.
'I Can Do It Myself' by Stephen Krensky - This book is all about promoting independence and self-care in young children. It covers topics like getting dressed, brushing your teeth, and tying your shoes, and encourages children to take ownership of their self-care routines.
2. Model Self-Care Behaviour
Children learn by observing those around them, so it's important for nannies to model healthy self-care behaviours. Make sure you take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising regularly and managing stress and emotions in a healthy way. When children see you practising self-care, they are more likely to do it themselves
3. Encourage healthy habits
Encourage children to eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water, and exercise regularly. take them on outdoor adventures or teach them fun exercises they do indoors. It's important to make healthy habits fun and enjoyable, so children are more likely to continue them as they grow older.
Books to help
"Eat Your Colors" by Amanda Jane Jones and Cree Jones. This book introduces young children to the importance of eating a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables.
'Get Up and Go!' by Nancy Clarson. This picture book encourages young children to be active and move their bodies every day. The book includes illustrations and rhyming text that make exercise and physical activity feel like a fun and exciting adventure.
4. Teach Relaxation Techniques
Teach children relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing visualisation, or progressive muscle relaxation. These can help children manage stress and anxiety and promote better sleep. you can also incorporate relaxation activities into their daily routine, such as reading a book before bedtime. Mindful listening is also another tool to use; encourage the child to listen to the sounds around them, such as birds chirping or leaves rustling. This can help them to focus their attention and relax their mind.
Books to help
"Sitting Still Like a Frog". Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents) by Eline Snel: This book includes mindfulness exercises and guided mediations for young children and their parents.
5. Help children express emotions
Teach children to express their emotions in healthy ways. encourage them to talk about their feelings and validate their emotions. teach them coping mechanisms for dealing with difficult emotions, such as taking a break, drawing, or writing in a journal (if age appropriate). When children are able to express themselves freely and openly, they are more likely to feel heard and understood, which can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.
Books to help
"The Way I Feel" by Janan Cain. This book uses colourful illustrations and simple text to help children learn about different emotions and how to express them in a healthy way.
"My Many Coloured Days" by Dr. Seuss. This book uses bright colours and playful language to help children understand different emotions and moods.
6. Social skills
Teach children how to develop healthy relationships with others, including how to communicate effectively, how to listen actively and to resolve conflicts in a positive way. By teaching children social skills, nannies can help them develop strong relationships with others, feel more confident in social situations, and reduce stress and anxiety related to social interactions.
Books to help
'My Mouth Is a Volcano" by Julia Cook. This book helps children learn how to communicate effectively and avoid interrupting or talking over others, which can be an important skill to develop.
'The Feeling Book' by Todd Parr: This book teaches children about different emotions and how to express them in a healthy way, which can help them develop empathy and understanding towards others.
7. Practice self-compassion
Be kind to yourself and show yourself the same compassion and understanding that you would show to others. Encourage the children in your care to do the same and to treat themselves with kindness and compassion. Model positive self-talk and encourage the child in your care to do the same examples: "I can handle this" or "Mistakes are part of learning".
In conclusion, as a nanny or parent, you can implement self-care practices into a child's daily routine by modelling healthy behaviours, encouraging healthy habits, teaching relaxation techniques, and helping children express emotions in healthy ways. By doing so, you can help children develop healthy habits that promote physical, emotional and mental well-being.