My NQN year diary: a week in the life for Newly Qualified Nanny Becky
6 December 2021
Ever wondered what a week as a Newly Qualified Nanny (NQN) looks like? Throughout this week and in the run up to our Norland Unwrapped which focuses on the NQN year, we’ll be releasing a daily blog by Becky to offer a unique insight into her probationary employment year.
“I’m Becky and I started my NQN year at the start of September. I’m based in south-west London in a live-out position caring for 10-month-old baby boy (B10m). I’ve enjoyed the past few months settling in and building up relationships with both my charge and the family. It’s been great to get to know my charge and discover his interests, get stuck into the routine and have lots of fun days with exciting trips and activities. I hope to give you an insight into what happens during the NQN year and to share a little of my own unique experience.
My morning routine
Monday’s normally start with me arriving for 7.30am for a handover from the weekend, before mum heads to work. My charge has already had breakfast so the first hour is normally free flow play with a bottle at around 8am, before I put him down for his hour nap at 8.30am. During nap time, I’ll put on a load of my charge’s laundry and then I normally prepare his meals for the day so they’re ready to go when we need them. I try to plan a nutritional and varied diet every week, with lots of new varied textures and flavours for my charge to try.
After he wakes up from his nap at around 9.30am, we do a planned activity relating to the interest or development area of the month. This could involve bubbles, cruising activities or mirror time. At around 10am, we get ready to attend a fun baby class that my charge enjoys which is full of music, dancing, puppets and bubbles, and the parents love receiving pictures of what he’s dressed up as every week. There’s normally a weekly theme, for example space week when he dressed up as an alien. Lots of my charge’s friends are in the class too, so he loves seeing them.
My lunchtime routine
After class, we normally head home but sometimes we’ll bring lunch with us and have a lunch play date with some of his friends. For lunch, my charge has a hot meal, for example prawn linguine, Thai green curry with noodles or spaghetti bolognese. Now that he’s feeding himself and eating solid foods, I’ll sit down and eat with him to role model eating habits while helping him with feeding and chatting and babbling to him. He loves music so we always have nursery rhymes playing in the background during mealtimes too. After lunchtime, he’ll normally have a little pudding of fruit or yoghurt and a 20-minute play before his lunchtime nap.
The importance of communication with employers
He’ll go down at around 1pm for a nap and this is the time where I can get lots of cleaning and paperwork done. I normally start by giving his highchair a good clean with water and sterilising fluid, which I do after every mealtime. I then fill out the nanny diary for the morning to explain what we’ve been doing, what he’s eaten and any physical routine aspects too, to communicate with his parents and keep a record of everything.
Another communication tool I use with his parents is via a WhatsApp group, where I send pictures and messages throughout the day to keep them in the loop. These communication aspects are so important as they keep the parents involved throughout the day and ensures that nothing is forgotten or unsaid, especially with regards to accidents and medication.
For example, my charge had an allergic reaction to a food and the communication I had with the parents at that moment was so important, but thankfully due to our Norland training, especially our paediatric first aid, I felt calm, competent and comfortable in dealing with this situation and the parents fed back to Norland how happy they were with my management of the situation.
What is PLOD and the EYFS?
Normally, on a Monday, I complete my meal and activity planning for the week or PLOD (Possible Lines of Development) for the month if needed. The PLOD looks at the child’s interests for the month, areas of development that can be focused on and the child’s play schemas (the way in which a child plays). Normally I discuss with the parents at the start of the month what they would like to work on, and we work out together what the PLOD should focus on, and then from there it’s my role to create and think of engaging and appropriate developmental activities to help and engage the child with this area.
The PLOD document is added to each week as the child grows and develops. It also helps record observations taken during the week. For example, you may find that one week the child loves tractors and then the next week they might be into fairies. From the PLOD, ideas are added to the activity plan to form appropriate activities for the weeks ahead that focus on all the areas of development within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
Planning activities and meals to support my charge’s development
For my charge, the areas we focus on are mostly the prime areas (personal, social and emotional development, communication and language, and physical development) because of his age. A lot of our activities also relate to specific areas such as understanding the world, mathematics, literacy and expressive arts and design. I aim to go out once in the morning and once in the afternoon, which includes the baby classes he attends. I’ll arrange a short focused activity in the morning and a longer one in the afternoon which may involve a bit of preparation, such as a tuff spot (a sensory activity that uses a large tray with open-ended or themed resourced to allow children to explore and investigate.
I’ve enjoyed planning activities so far with themes of the month including light/music sensory, nursery rhymes and exploring areas of development linking to crawling, balancing and cruising. My favourite theme of the month has been nursery rhymes, which included fun activities such as Old MacDonald tuff spots, nursery rhyme props and a Baa Baa Black Sheep shaving foam activity.
I also like to involve special days of the year in my planning too, for example, Halloween, Guy Fawkes Night and other autumnal activities that allow the child to develop a sense of the world. With meal planning, I try to take ideas from my F&N lectures into my NQN year, child-appropriate recipe books and the internet to create a balanced and nutritional diet that also offers variety.
My advice for future Newly Qualified Nannies
The advice I offer for managing the paperwork side of the NQN year is to keep on top of it, put on the activity plan a day you set out to do this, and try not to fall behind with it. All of this normally takes me less than an hour, and afterwards I may bake a sugar-free treat which we can take to any play dates we may have within the week. I give myself a break too. As nannies we need time to sit down, with a cup of coffee/tea to have a small rest and gather our thoughts as the morning has been non-stop. It’s important we refuel ourselves to be able and ready for the afternoon.
My afternoon routine
Once my charge is awake at around 3pm (this can differ), he has a bottle before we normally do a set activity based on our daily activity plan. The activities can change to suit each child, so we don’t always stick to it word for word. If we have a play date planned for the afternoon, this will normally be for around 3.30pm. It’s amazing that we have so many friends in the area to do things with; it’s important for both the child and nanny to arrange play dates for socialisation on both parts! Sometimes we’ll have a play date at a friend’s house or at our house (we’ve been lucky enough to have been invited to a few parties recently too), or we’ll go out for a little walk to the park, library, soft play or to feed the ducks. We’re lucky enough to have a big park around the corner, which is a great location for a walk or picnic.
We’ll get home in time for teatime, which is 5pm. For tea, my charge will have his ‘lunchy’ style meal, which can include soups, quesadillas, egg dishes or bagels with some salad bites and fruit or yoghurt for pudding. This is one of my charge’s favourite meals as it’s normally picky bits that he can hold and feed himself with.
My handover with my charge’s parents
At 5.30pm, we’ll normally have a little play and get ready for either mummy or daddy to come home for 6pm. When the parents are home, I’ll do the handover for the day. B10m will have a little play and his parents will do the bath and bedtime routine with him. While this is happening, I’ll tie up any loose ends for the day including clearing up from dinner, sterilising and preparing the bottle maker, wiping his mat and writing in his nanny diary for the afternoon. If I’ve used the nanny card that day, I’ll write down my expenses with the receipt attached and sort out any medication or accidents forms that may have been filled out in the day. Thankfully, this is a rare occurrence.
Then it’s 6.30 and the end of the working day.”
Visit our blog tomorrow as Becky talks us through a typical Tuesday in her NQN year which includes play dates, nursery duties and weaning.
Yesterday, Becky gave us a detailed account of how she starts off her week in her NQN position as we place the spotlight on the NQN year for Norland Unwrapped. Today, she talks us through what a typical Tuesday looks like for her.
“Most of the days are set out the same with the only major difference being a change of baby class. Tuesday is our day off from classes, so we use this opportunity to plan fun trips and outings. This has included farm trips, aquarium, mud club, Wetlands Centre, Kew Gardens and many more.
We’re lucky enough to have loads of friends nearby in the area with babies of the same age, which is amazing for playdates. We have the same friend that we go on playdates with every Tuesday. It’s been so nice to see them form a lovely friendship. If we don’t have a venture for the day planned, we’ll have a playdate around each other’s houses. If it’s a big trip for the day, we’ll take lunch with us and eat out and B10m will have a nap in the pram. This is something I discuss with the parents beforehand, to ensure they are happy for him to nap in the pram.
I usually dedicate time during his nap time to deep cleaning his toys with steriliser and water. For now, I can do all the toys at the same time and it’s a controllable amount, so we get them all deep cleaned on a Tuesday and wash any soft toys if needed. I will also give his toys a clean throughout the week if he has a cold or is feeling ill. It’s good to set out a nursery chores timetable so you have a clear idea of what needs to be done and cleaned every week to make sure nothing gets forgotten.
My charge’s weaning journey
My charge has just started weaning, which has been a mix of traditional and baby led. I feel completely comfortable supporting this process and have been more than willing to get stuck right in thanks to all the tips, skills and techniques we learned during our food and nutrition (F&N) lectures at Norland, even with the extra challenge of my charge having a dairy intolerance.
From the start of weaning, I have made lumpy texture foods such as salmon risotto, Jamaican curry and veggie lentil bake and offered finger foods with these meals. Providing softened vegetable sticks, such as courgette or cucumber, or bread fingers will help to encourage him to start to build up the co-ordination for self-feeding. We’re now way into his weaning journey, onto three solid food meals a day, and he’s doing amazingly well. He is starting to have the ability to spoon feed himself which is leaps and bounds from where he was at the beginning. Our next task is to start him on the milk ladder to reintroduce him to dairy, which we will begin next week.”
Visit our blog throughout this week as Becky continues to give a unique insight into her life as an NQN, including the progress her charge is making during swimming classes and discusses what is involved in completing a nanny journal.
With a week to go until our Norland Unwrapped session on the Newly Qualified Nanny year, Becky has written a blog for each day of her typical week providing you with a unique look at what she gets up to during her fully paid probationary year.
“On Wednesdays we have a music-themed baby class which is about a 20-minute walk along the river and we get a view of different animals and vehicles on the way, sometimes even getting to watch the rowing teams race. B10m loves exploring the hall at the baby class and will go around chatting to the teacher and his friends which is great to see him have such confidence. This class is a great course for music association, copying actions and using instruments and I’ve seen improvement within him during our first class as now he’s able to clap and wave as copying actions and shake and bang instruments.
During nap time on a Wednesday, I dedicate this time for cleaning the buggies. This time of year, the wheels get very mucky so they need a good scrub, and I also give the buggies a hoover out too. As B10m gets older this could become a fun activity for us to do together, which is the same with cleaning his toys too, using soap and water he can help with cleaning as a water play activity but at the moment he’s still too young for this.”
Join us tomorrow as Becky discusses the progress her charge has made in his swimming lessons and on Friday when she reflects on her NQN year so far.
Throughout the week, Becky has been lifting the lid on her NQN year, with a blog each day dedicated to giving you unique insight into her day-to-day life as an NQN ahead of Norland Unwrapped.
“Thursdays are a bit of a different day for me as I start at 8am and finish at 5pm. This means there’s only a little bit of a play before nap time. On Thursdays, we go swimming so while my charge is sleeping, I’ll get all his swimming things ready so we’re ready to go when he wakes. I’ll get him dressed in his swim nappy and suit with clothes over the top and put him in his buggy with his buggy blanket so he’s nice and snug as swimming is only just around the corner.
The pool we go to is a private pool with only a couple of other babies in his class – one of them being a friend. The swim class is great as it teaches the babies safety techniques for swimming through music and rhyme – we love it! After swimming, it’s a race against time to get ready. My charge is usually ready for lunch and a nap as soon as we get back from swimming. The swimming tires him out and he sleeps for a very long time afterwards!
What I do when my charge is napping
I use this nap time to catch up on any jobs that I haven’t been able to do during the week as some weeks can be a lot busier than others. I usually give the steriliser and bottle maker a clean too. You’ve probably noticed that I don’t do a lot of general cleaning. This is because the family do have a cleaner who will do most of the basic jobs like hoovering and dusting.
However, I do make sure I clean his playroom every day at either nap time or the end of the day. This involves wiping his mat, hoovering and mopping and when I clean out his toys I will hoover and clean his toy area and box too. I’ll make sure the skirting boards, play area and under the sofas are all dust-free too. I may also give his room a sort out and tidy, including his drawers to keep them organised. I also may organise his food cupboard and have a look through the fridge/freezer to check all food is in date and fresh.
I finish at 5pm on Thursdays, so I’m not there for dinner. This is when the parents will take over as Mum will normally work from home on a Thursday. However, I always prepare his food in advance so we can do the handover and mum can relax from work and go straight to feeding him.”
Join us tomorrow at the end of our weekly blog series looking at a week in the life of a Newly Qualified Nanny, thanks to Becky’s NQN year diary.
In our final blog of this week’s series looking into a typical week for a Newly Qualified Nanny, Becky discusses completing her learning journal, reflects on her NQN year so far and her excitement at the prospect of being able to call herself a Norland Nanny once she’s qualified.
“Fridays for me are a very short day as I only work 8am-12.30pm and we use this day as a very chilled, relaxed day. We start the day off like any other, but during nap time on a Friday I normally don’t cook and will use something I have batch cooked from the freezer. During the week, I’ll always make more portions of some of the meals I cook and will label and package these for the freezer. This is for the parents to freely use over the weekend, so they don’t need to worry about cooking but also for me to use if we have busy days.
Updating my charge’s learning journal
As I don’t normally cook during this nap time, I’ll use the time to do my charge’s learning journal. I love doing the learning journal! My charge’s journal will contain an observation from every week. I’ll normally jot this down when it happens. I try to not plan my observations and go for more ‘in the moment’ observations, which I think reflect the child’s development on a more holistic level.
I’ll also include a ‘wow’ moment, which is something I have been amazed my charge has done throughout the week. For example, one week my charge went from commando crawling to normal crawling and another week he started waving hello to me when I arrived. For my general observations, I’ll link this to the areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage and refer to any prime or specific areas he has met. I’ll also comment on a next step we can aim for to work on together. I will also link this to the play schema my charge was showing within the observation and the play theorist it links to. As a nice touch, I’ll add a couple of pictures and write what else we’ve been up to during the weeks as our weeks are always jam-packed and fun.
The end of my working week
When my charge has woken up, we have a variety of activities to choose from. We’ve just started going to a class which full of many messy, fun and creative tuff spots and my charge goes wild at exploring them all – definitely an outing where we need spare clothes! If we don’t go to this class, we may have a trip to soft play or a play date. It all depends on the week.
When we get home, I will give my charge an early lunch as he has a special visit from a grandparent at around midday, so I make sure he’s all fed as this can be very exciting. I normally have a quick chat with the grandparent about his week and will also do a handover with mum, then at 12.30pm my weekend begins!
Reflecting on my NQN year so far
As you can see, every week is busy, every week is fun and I’m really enjoying the start of my NQN year and looking forward to what the rest of the year holds, especially next month with first birthday party planning and Christmas. This is only a baseline of what we get up to every week. Things can change in the week, on the day or within the hour as everything you do should have the child’s best interests at heart.
I feel like I’ve already learned so many valuable lessons as nothing quite beats the hands-on experience of learning. It’s crazy how I’ve only been here a few months, but I’m so grateful for the placements and experience Norland has provided me with. I’ve never felt anything less than competent and confident because of the training I’ve received at Norland. This has meant that the beginning of my NQN year has allowed me to bring the extra finesse to my role so that I’m always working at the highest level to which a Norland Nanny aspires, and I can’t wait to officially hold that title.”
Feeling excited about the possibility of finishing your time at Norland with the NQN year or have some questions about what to expect and how you’ll be supported? Watch Norland Unwrapped which explores the NQN year in more detail.