Secure Your Own Oxygen Mask Before Helping Others (Prize Inside)
We nannies don't have to teach kids how to read, write or multiply fractions. Instead, we teach them to:
Use their manners
Take the right risks
Fix problems with words
Bounce back from failures
Stay calm when they're mad
Be creative, courageous and kind
Persevere in the face of a challenge
Follow directions but think for themselves, and
Everything else they need to know to become awesome adults
No problem, we got this. On one condition: we take care of our own needs first. Get enough sleep, eat breakfast. Tend to our own happiness (Shawn Achor on Achieving Happiness Despite Everyday Challenges). Center ourselves with exercise or meditation (Gabby Bernstein's Beginners Guide to Meditation).
I've come to believe that the best possible way to teach kids that long list above is to model it ourselves. And we can only do that if we're operating on a full tank of gas. When we put our needs first, we can avoid flipping our lid (real brain science term, click it to see Daniel Siegel explain) and respond to kids with respect, softness and a light heart.
Here's the best part. When we respond with respect and all that, we find a hidden prize. We grow as people. Our job goes from being about lacing shoes and spreading peanut butter to being about getting past whatever holds us back from being the kind, trustworthy, fun person we truly want to be. It's barely a job anymore, (dare I say it?) it's more like a spiritual practice. And we get lots of chances to practice! ;) Can we be calm in the face of a tantrum? Can we meet sassiness with respect? Can we use humor instead of a power struggle? I know, I feel most proud of myself and my work when I do.
I'd love to hear from you!
What do you do to keep your own gas tank full - sleep, green smoothies? Have you found that raising kids is making you a better person? Tell us in the comments below! Your insights are just what other nannies and parents are hoping to hear. So thanks for adding your voice to the conversation!