Nannying during lockdown: Norlander Alice's story
24 September 2020
In this series, Norlanders and Newly Qualified Nannies (NQNs) share their different experiences of nannying during lockdown.
Alice (Set 36) qualified as a Norlander in 2015. She has worked for families in Bath and London, and as a Holiday Nanny at the Four Seasons Hotel in the Maldives. She was working as a live-out nanny in London, looking after a boy of two and a girl of four, when the nationwide lockdown began in March 2020.
“We spent lockdown in London. As a live-out nanny, I usually walk to and from work, however during lockdown I used my employers’ car to drive to and from my flat where I live alone. Nannying in lockdown sent us all sorts of challenges! Looking after two very busy children, who usually have a fun filled schedule both in and out of the house, meant it took a couple of weeks to adjust to the new ‘norm’. We felt it was important to explain the situation to the children in child-friendly terms so that they could understand what was going on and why things were changing.
“We were so used to being out and about, that it took some time to get used to the changed routine.”
On a typical day during lockdown, I would arrive at 7am, and, once the children were fed and dressed, we would have an 8.30am online session with their classes. This was a lovely way for them to keep in contact with all their friends and teachers during lockdown. Once we had completed all of the relevant homeschooling tasks set by school or nursery, we would plan our ‘Round the World’ trip. Each week, we would visit a different country, learning about their culture, religion, animals, flags and what food they ate! The children loved making all sorts of arts and crafts and being involved in making a new cuisine to try. At the end of a busy day, the children were happy, fed and bathed ready for me to go home at 6pm.
We were so used to being out and about, that it took some time to get used to the changed routine. I would try and tag team with the parents so the children could have a run around outside once a day, and thankfully we had access to a garden as well. We made a big effort to send handmade cards and pictures to all of our friends and family. And lots of video calls too!
To help the children understand, we found a wonderful e-book illustrated by the famous Axel Scheffler which really helped explain what was going on in the most child-friendly way. We also watched Dr Binocs on YouTube which helped explain it all. We were conscious not to watch the news in front of the children or listen to the radio too much as young children take in so much more than they appear to.
“Norland taught me that you really can use anything, to make anything!”
The biggest challenge for me was somehow managing to juggle all of my usual nursery duties, on top of home schooling two children and keeping them entertained at every single hour of the day without being able to leave the house. Organisation was key! The feedback from the children’s teachers was great to hear that they thought they were doing well. I felt some pressure about home schooling, as I am not teacher-trained, but the children soon settled into our new routine and it became our new normal.
Norland taught me that you really can use anything, to make anything! During our ‘Round the World’ trip the children loved junk modelling. Who would have thought you could make the Taj Mahal out of fruit punnets and kitchen roll holders?! It was also really important to keep up communications with their parents about how they were doing with home schooling and coping during lockdown.
Lockdown has taught me that we are all human at the end of the day. Sometimes the children would be sad as they couldn’t see their friends and family, or they didn’t want to do the home schooling that was set. We all have good days and bad days, no matter how little or grown up we are! Patience and encouragement were critical. I’ll definitely be continuing with weekly and monthly planning in the future, the children loved our schedule! Organisation was vital during this time!
Even though some days were tougher than others, I will definitely miss all of us being together. It was nice being able to spend more time with one another as ‘The Tiny Team’, as we are usually busy going to school, nursery, classes, and playdates. We made a lockdown handprint painting to remind us in the future of our lockdown time together!”
Alice is also a judge for the BAPN (British Association of Professional Nannies) National Nanny Recognition Week 2020 competitions.