Here we meet Emily Darwell, a Norland trained nanny friend of ours who has set up her own amazing nanny company, My Pop In Nanny. Do you need a nanny for a night, a wedding, whilst you go on a brief getaway, to help with a certain aspect of childcare? Emily is definitely the person you need – bubbly, a lot of fun and foremost a person that loves her job!
Tell us about My Pop in Nanny..
I qualified from Norland in 2007 and have worked for a number of families in locations all over the world for a minimum of one to two years at a time, in more recent years I have seen an increase need for the ‘temp or ad/hoc nanny’ which lead me to set My Pop In Nanny up October 2014. The idea came from my love of nannying and childcare and knowing not every parent has the need, want or possibly even the funds for a full time nanny. All parents and indeed their children benefit hugely from having extra support. The idea is that My Pop in Nanny provides professional childcare in the home and aids today’s Mums and Dads in creating a safe, secure, fun and stimulating environment whilst giving them a much deserved break.
What makes your service so bespoke?
My Pop In Nanny is a flexible childcare service to suit each individual family, it is completely bespoke to their needs and requirements.. The whole idea is that I provide flexible professional childcare for when the family need it, hence the name ‘Pop In’ not only is it loosely connected to a favourite character of mine and Mr Disney, but it is to represent the fact I ‘Pop In’ when I am needed and ‘Pop Off’ when I am not. Therefore enabling me to help different families who may not wish to have a full time nanny but know the benefits of having the odd day, weekend away or holiday nanny to support them and their family.
What sort of people use you, and how do they hear about you? Do you have regulars, or is it very much an occasional service for people?
A whole range of different people use my service, from new Mums needing some extra help, Grandparents who want that extra pair of hands to ease their responsibility, to parents who wish for that special child free long weekend away.
I have always found most of my work comes from word of mouth, but my website www.mypopinnanny.com seems to be found easily on google and yell.com I also have regular clients which I love, it is just a joy to see the children excited about my return and to know I am helping the parents.
What can a family expect when you come into their family home?
After the initial email/or first point of contact, the family and I would speak to discuss their needs and ensure I was the right person for their household. After forwarding my CV and Portfolio, Rates and Term and Conditions we would make a date to meet and take it from here.
When I first go to a family I get all the paper work out the way before meeting the children, I ask them to fill out my ‘Important Information’ document, this basically has questions like- where is your first aid kit? where is the nearest Doctors? do the children have any allergies,? Anything I should be aware of? Behaviour you would like me to focus on? and then much more importantly, questions like ‘what are your children’s favorite things to do?’ etc. I leave a folder with the family which I will contribute to on every ‘Pop In’ – this has a ‘My Day’ sheet which is a detailed ‘Nanny Diary’ of what we have been up to, a ‘My Tummy Tracker’ which records what we had for Breakfast, lunch and dinner/bottle times, and ‘The Funny Things We Say’ and ‘Please Note’ sections.
As you know communication is key when working within a family home, consistency and safety, once those things are in place it is my job to just ensure they children are having fun and are happy within my company. My typical day is a minimum of 8 hours and can range from anything thing from a day, to a weekend, to a few weeks so the relationship I form with he children must be a strong one.
As you are just ‘Popping In’ and not with the children a long time, how do you settle them into your company so quickly? Do you have any tricks?
When walking into a family’s home I am always very respectful of the fact I have entered their own space. In the child’s eyes I am a complete stranger and it was not their choice to invite me in, children are very smart and understand a lot more than most think, they already know my being there often means Mummy and Daddy maybe leaving soon. It is in that first moment they are going to decided whether or not I am friend or foe, treading carefully to respect this, I introduce myself and then let them approach me. I find it important to include the child in conversations especially when discussing them with their parents, it is not nice to be talked about as if you are not there so including them and showing interest in there thoughts is vital when building that relationship, this goes for newborns upwards in my eyes.
In truth, I have always found children much better company than adults, the way they see the world is something we should really take note from! To ensure they feel settled in my company I would ensure respect – (this goes without saying), ensure they are safe, stimulated and happy – this is why I am there. I find it vital to start developing a positive rapport with the children as soon as we are introduced, a smiley face can go along way, this could be the best thing about My Pop In Nanny as it challenges me to ‘zone in’ to that particular child’s view, an ideal way to bond is engaging in different activities such as arts and crafts, baking, and imaginative play or even just simply introducing myself to their beloved teddybear. Childhood should be fun and carefree. I love outdoor activities so encourage children to enjoy their natural environment, less technology and more cardboard boxes, trowels and muddy puddles. It is also important for them to feel comfortable that I remain consistent, this is always a priority so they know I have control in the situation and they know what to expect enabling them to feel relaxed and can then flourish in their environment.
How far do you travel for a ‘Pop In’?
Like I mentioned My Pop In Nanny is available to help families far and wide so I am happy to go where I am needed, I have regular clients up and down the UK, Ireland, Paris and beyond Europe. I love the fact I can travel with my job, it is a magical way to see the world and to do it with excited children who are clearly the best travel buddies, I feel very lucky to share their experiences! I often get asked to help families on their family holiday too, so I do tend to travel a lot but thankfully my wonderful husband is very supportive and happy for me to run around the country doing what I love, in truth I think he enjoys the peace and quiet!
What is the best thing about running your service?
The best thing about running My Pop In Nanny is helping so many different families, and ones who truly need that break. My sister and I were brought up by an amazing, hard-working, single Mother and I am certain she didn’t get many breaks! It is so rewarding to know what I love doing has so many benefits for those around me. Being with children and going above and beyond my duties for the families on my books is what makes my days so worth while. I love being self employed and working on a freelance basis, it has made my schedule very exciting, and always variable.This particular form of Nannying means I must be adaptable, one moment I could be running around a field with three boys under 7 making a dog walk more of an adventure for explorers and their trusty stead, the next I could be sitting with a new Mummy aiding with night feeds. Never a dull moment, and always a welcomed challenge. Each day is different and each family have their own requirements, it keeps me on my toes and ready for the next ‘Pop In’.
What are your plans for the rest of 2016 and going forward?
My hopes for 2016 are to continue broadening my client base and meeting new families, each family offers such a unique experience to me, therefore continuously enhancing my skills. I will also continue to attend Norland CPD courses to ensure I am up to date in my training. I am so excited about what lies ahead for My Pop In Nanny and would be delighted to hear from people who may be interested in my service! 🙂