This week, I started nannying a family friend's three-year-old, daughter! I have known her since she was two and have always loved spending time with her! She is very energetic, and outgoing which keeps me on my toes whenever I am with her.
I have watched her before but it has always only been for a short amount of time. I have a good idea of what works for her in regards to what she likes to do and how to handle tricky moments but even with that being said, I have learned so much about her, and kids, in general, this first week!
The very first day I spent with her, the biggest adjustment for me was all the messes we made! I am a very organized person and HATE messes, clutter, etc.. So when we got out some of the toys to play with and then, we got more toys and more toys, my natural instinct was to put some of them away. But I learned real fast, that all the toys that we have out are being played with even if it doesn't seem like it and that they will eventually get put away, just not right now!
Messes really aren't a big deal after all.
Another thing that I learned is that you can plan something all day long, hype it up so much, make it sound so much fun, and it will end up being a flop and lasting five minutes. Whenever I have something special and fun, I like to build the anticipation so that whatever it is that we are doing is extra fun. But no matter how much I hype somethings up or how much it seems actually fun to me, sometimes it just doesn't have the same effect for kids. Some things work, others don't.
Not everything will go as planned.
Sometimes when my plans don't work out as I wanted, I will get a little frustrated with myself! Words like "shucks!" or "darn it!" will slip out. Once I catch myself getting annoyed, I will take a deep breath and then relax, but that "darn it!" that I said has already done it's damage! The little one will probably end up repeating it!
Little kids hear and remember everything.
That being said, what you say is everything. I really try hard to use encouraging phrases and affirmations as much as possible. If we ever play dress up, I always tell her how pretty she is! If we ever read a book, I am always telling her how smart she is! If she cleans up her toys, I am always telling her what a good helper she is!
This may seem like common sense, but it really is helpful for kids to hear this.
It is also important to say these types of things in different scenarios too. I always tell her whenever she asks me for help with something, "thank you for asking for a hand", or if she ever does something good without being asked, I always tell her "thank you for noticing that and doing that". I've noticed that when I point out these "good deeds", the little one is more likely to continue these habits.
Anything good that can be rewarded, reward.
I love spending time with her and have learned SO much. I never knew how much I could learn from a little kid. We both have learned a lot!