Top Characteristics to Look for in a Nanny

Choosing a Nanny feels like one of the hardest things you will ever have to do, but it needn’t be. We thought it would be good to compile some advice for you as to the kind of characteristics you should look out for when it comes to choosing a Nanny. Admittedly, a lot of this will be down to your intuition so we will not patronise you, but hope you find this useful.

First and foremost, does the potential candidate genuinely love children? This is obviously a prerequisite for any person involved in the childcare industry. It sounds obvious but surely the love of nurturing a child and seeing him or her grow needs to be one of the biggest signals for the type of person whom you would like to look after your child or children.

Next, we would like for pragmatism or common sense. Remember your Nanny is an extension of you when you’re not around so they need to be able to deal with situations in the same way. If a misbehaving child needs to be disciplined, the challenging behaviour should be left to fester. Action needs to be taken decisively, in the same way, that you would.

Then there are the other practical considerations. Is the Nanny punctual for instance? Most people in London hire a Nanny because both couples are working. If the Nanny isn’t living in your house, are they going to turn up on time? An obvious, but a very important point.

Another point you might want to consider is — are they flexible? We all know things, can sometimes be a little hectic and with the busy lives we all lead today and that an extra hour here or there might be required. Would the Nanny be willing to accommodate?

Are they fun? When you’re at home with your children, much of the blissful family time we spend together with our children is based around having fun. Do you get the sense that they would be willing to play and share joyful time with your child?

Lastly (but far from least) are they trustworthy? Remember the Nanny in question will not only be looking after your children but also sharing your home. This is often hard to gauge in an interview setting but you can rest assured that our rigorous vetting and reference checking process will ensure that any Nanny whom we represent will be.

Nanny Vs. Nursery – What’s Best for Your Child?

nanny or nursery

A controversial study conducted by an American scientist called Jay Belsky in 1986 caused a huge debate. His hypothesis suggested that babies who were taken from their parents (or mothers, more specifically in his study) showed increased signs of disobedience and aggression in later life. So controversial was this study that Belsky felt compelled to leave the US due to the negative response he received from parents and other academics.

Benefits of One-on-One Childcare

We’re not trying to be political here or fan old flames but, in our opinion, a dedicated professional caring for your child will stand them in better stead. All of our nannies are DBS checked and fully qualified. Their qualifications include not only pastoral care; they are also trained to help your child’s cognitive development.

Nannies – An Extension of You

Using a Nanny will also mean you can brief them on how to deal with the idiosyncrasies of your child. We often hear from parents who have tried nurseries who’s instructions about what their child would like to eat, for instance, have fallen on deaf ears. If your child loves peaches and not pears, this can be catered for. Or if your child likes to be read to before their nap time this can also become part of your nannies brief.

Preparation for KS1

For older children learning the basics of reading, writing, and numbers prior to the big next step that can be reception or a nursery affiliated with a school will stand them in great stead. Your nanny will be able to facilitate this very important phase of their cognitive development. And, of course, receiving tuition in a one on one setting is beneficial.

Part of Your Family

As a family run business, we appreciate the importance of family. A stable family life and home are one of the greatest gifts you can give a child. We often hear from our clients that the nanny we have placed for them really become just like a member of the family. All of our Nannies are interviewed personally by us, so as well as all of the legal and professional checks what is often in the front of our mind is how well the potential candidate will gel in a family life context.

How Music Can Aid a Toddler’s Cognitive Development

toddler music

We have probably all experienced how music can affect a child’s mood; violins making a child cry or a snippet of their favourite programme instilling a fit of the giggles. But, did you know that music has been proven to increase a child’s cognitive ability?

Not just for sleep

Music can often be used to soothe babies to sleep (the ubiquitous Twinkle, Twinkle in a child’s toy) and, here at Nannies Plus Us, we know of parents using their iPhones to play Debussy’s ‘Clair De Lune’ to a soothe a baby to sleep. Music shouldn’t just be used to help children sleep though.

A 2016 study at the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute revealed that exposure to musical experiences in childhood; accelerate brain growth, especially a child’s cognitive ability. Another study by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation (NAMM Foundation), found that learning to play an instrument even improved a child’s aptitude for mathematics.

Not just for academia either

Sharing music with your child should be a joyous experience. Have you played your toddler your favourite song? Signing and dancing with your toddler is, or should be, one of the most elemental and fun things you can do together. So, in order for both you and your toddler to benefit from the power of music you don’t have to shell out for expensive music lessons.

Instruments for toddlers

Of course it’s an old joke that if you don’t like someone you should give his or her child a drum, so here are some suggestions that could get your toddler interested in music and be able to retain some of your sanity…

  1. Recorder – a great start to the world of woodwind and very cheap
  2. Ukele – perfect for toddlers little hands and a great introduction to string instruments
  3. Chime bar – gets kids used to the idea of notes and its relatively easy for them to tap out a simple tune
  4. Percussion kits – not quite the drum (we wouldn’t want to put you through that pain!) – great fun for younger toddlers
  5. Plastic trombone – perhaps a better choice for the older toddler (3+) who has some experience with a woodwind instrument

What to Feed Your Toddler – An Expert’s View…

toddler food

The web can be awash with information around what you should feed a toddler.  Of course, you would expect a lot of what you should feed a young child is just common sense and, like hugging your old child as often as you can, is just instinctive. So, rather than just point you to some recipe ideas for fussy toddlers on Mumsnet, we thought it would be interesting to speak to a Nursery Nurse to see what the experts think is the best food to feed those growing minds and bones.

We spoke to Nursery Nurse, Emma Dixon to get her view. Emma has been in childcare working at a Nursery since 2013 and manages a room of up-to 20 two to four year olds.

What works for breakfast?

“This totally depends on the child, their likes and dislikes — often it’s what ever they will eat! We find that porridge is great – for giving the children loads of energy and we can add stuff to sweeten it (like honey) as well as fruit which ensures they always get their five a day. Failing that wholemeal toast with honey or jam is a good option.”

What about snack-time?

“Fruit, fruit and more fruit. Introducing children to fresh fruit at this age sets an important precedent for the children as they get older and into adult-hood. Bananas work really well in the morning, before playtime. Bananas seem to be the most popular fruit for children between two and four.”

What about the fussy ones, how do you get them to eat?

“There’s no easy answer to this one. Some children are just fussy but we find that persistence often pays off. Children can be contrary and ‘no’ or ‘I don’t like that’ will be the automatic answer to a question. However, if we ask the same question the next day the response might be different. If all else fails toast is our go to ‘get the child to eat hack’. Children of this age are clearly very much influenced by their peer group so we find that good behaviour when it comes to eating is often rubbed off on their peers.”

What would be your ultimate piece of advice to a parent of a fussy eating toddler?

“Don’t be disheartened and keep trying! A bit like potty training you need to be persistent. Reinforce good behaviour with positive affirmations – ‘you finished your apple – such a good girl’. Also, if you have a really fussy child, try presenting the food in question in a different way. For instance, we once had a boy who didn’t like apples when they were presented to him in slices but loved the apple when we gave him a whole one – ‘a big boy apple’ he used to call it.”

Taste’n’Tell Guest Blog

I remember fondly the year before I commenced my training as a registered nurse and midwife. I was employed as a nannie for a high profile American family based in the UK. It was a role that was challenging at times, but hugely rewarding. I have so much admiration for the wonderful people involved in caring for children, helping to shape their futures.

We all recognise the importance of food and nutrition to the well-being of growing children. We also know how boring food can appear to the active child and the difficulties we can face when introducing them to new tastes, when all they want is to have fun.

This is exactly what Taste’n’Tell is about. ‘Making kids’ food fun’. Taste’n’Tell allows you to introduce healthy food samples, which are placed in a hygienic container, within a book. The book has a base to allow other books in the series to be used as well. There are five characters, each representing the main food groups. Holly honeybee (fruit), Veggie vole (vegetables), Millar mouse (grain), Beefy bear (protein) and Darcey dragon (dairy).

The characters go on adventures, discovering their favourite foods and having lots of fun along the way. The book uses vivid photos of food, entertaining rhymes written in an educational font, and a call to action to try the healthy food within the pod. An experience that encompasses all the senses, Taste’n’Tell also features a reward chart with stickers, adding to the fun and feeling of achievement.

At the start of this piece I mentioned my time spent as a nanny, and my admiration for those of you who carry out this role. My experience during that time, along with my more recent role as a parent then grandparent, have clearly helped to shape our vision for Taste’n’Tell.

Our grandson Daniel has the same personality and zest for life as his parents. It was Daniel who initially inspired the idea of Taste’n’Tell. He recently celebrated his third birthday, and has been enjoying his ‘mock up’ Taste’n’Tell book since age two.

We devised this book to encourage him to eat his vegetables at a time when he wasn’t interested in trying new food. Broccoli for example was a no go area. On one occasion, when Ronnie and I were looking after Daniel, we were trying to encourage him to try a piece of broccoli. Exasperated, I decided to place the vegetable covered in foil inside the flap of a new lift the flap book. I conjured up a character in my head who loved broccoli and wanted him to try it. Suddenly, Daniel couldn’t wait to find out what ‘Veggie vole’ had placed in the book and to our surprise he lifted the flap, found the broccoli, popped it in his mouth, then asked for more.


This was our eureka moment, as Ronnie and I looked at each other, an idea quickly forming. And so, Taste’n’Tell was born.

We’ve had really enthusiastic responses to the product at events we have attended, including picking up two awards. One for best new product, awarded by MiniMe and Luxury at the Birmingham Baby show and 3rd place in the Manchester Childcare Expo Star Product Award. It has shown us that there is a need for more products aimed at healthy eating and literacy, and we can’t wait to reveal our plans for the future.

You can watch clips of Daniel enjoying the Taste’n’Tell experience at:

Daniel loves it. We hope you do too. 😊

Tips to keep you child safe in the sun

Encourage your child to play in the shade – for example, under trees – especially between 11am and 3pm, when the sun is at its strongest.

  • Keep babies under the age of six months out of direct sunlight, especially around midday.
  • Cover exposed parts of your child’s skin with sunscreen, even on cloudy or overcast days. Use one that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or above and is effective against UVA and UVB. Don’t forget to apply it to their shoulders, nose, ears, cheeks, and the tops of their feet. Reapply often throughout the day.
  • Be especially careful to protect your child’s shoulders and the back of their neck when they’re playing, as these are the most common areas for sunburn.
  • Cover your child up in loose cotton clothes, such as an oversized T-shirt with sleeves.
  • Get your child to wear a floppy hat with a wide brim that shades their face and neck.
  • Protect your child’s eyes with sunglasses that meet the British Standard (BSEN 1836:2005) and carry the “CE” mark – check the label.
  • If your child is swimming, use a waterproof sunblock of factor 15 or above. Reapply after towelling.

Nannytax- Nannyshare Information

Nannytax has specialist consultants who can offer advice and support in payroll for Nannyshares, including how to go about a ‘Tax code split’. The Nannytax service also includes employment law support to help you with Nannyshare agreements and the Contract of Employment.

Nannytax advise the key to a great nannyshare is communication and recommend that all parties involved keep in regular contact – perhaps with fortnightly or monthly meeting to iron out any issues that may arise.

These are Nannytax’s top tips for a successful nannyshare:

  • Agree a gross wage

Nannytax always recommend that a gross wage is agreed rather than a net salary. More information on the importance of agreeing a gross wage can be found on the Nannytax: Gross Vs Net (

  • Get a contract in place

Each family should have a separate contract with the nanny so that they can continue the relationship should the other family leave the nannyshare. Find more information on Contracts of Employment on the Nannytax website (

  • Discuss holidays in advance

Discuss holiday arrangements with the other family and the nanny — a common solution is for each family to decide on one week and the nanny to decide on two weeks. It is a good idea to agree this in advance, especially in a nannyshare situation where arranging holiday entitlement that works for all parties can be slightly more complicated.

  • Set out rules and standards

If the children of two or more families are being cared for at the same time, rules and standards will have to be agreed between the families and the nanny up front. It is worth having a seperate written agreement and Nannytax can help with this as well. For further details on this you can contact the Nannytax team on 020 3137 4401 or by emailing or find more information visit:



Nanny Interviews- Ten top tips

1.Take your portfolio with you

2. Arrive 5 minutes early

3. Interact with the children if they are there

4. Look smart, hair tied up and minimal makeup

5. Be confident but not pushy

6. Talk about your skills and what makes you different

7. Smile!

8. Don’t mention money/holidays unless they ask

9. Ask questions

10. Thank the family for their time

First Aid Course 22nd and 23rd July

First Aid Course

Knowing you have comprehensive knowledge and training of First Aid will ensure you can deal with an emergency effectively and promptly.

This Paediatric First Aid course is designed for child care workers, babysitters, parents and anyone living or working with children. The full twelve hour course meets all the requirements for registering with Ofsted and the Child Care Approval Scheme and is therefore suitable for candidates.
• Dealing with an emergency
• Resuscitation
• Identifying signs of shock
• Diabetes
• Bleeding
• Sickle Cell
• Fractures
• Choking
• Anaphylactic Shock
• Epilepsy & Seizures
• Meningitis
• 999 Calling
• Conditions of Heat & Cold
• Bites & Stings
All course participants will be given a Referral First Aid Manual and additional literature on current topics relating to First Aid Training and practices.
All of our courses are held in small groups to ensure effective understanding. All students who complete the course and are deemed to have reached the required standard will be issued with a recognised certificate valid for 3 years.

DATES:  22nd and 23rd July
DURATION: 12 hours 9.30am to 4.30pm (on both days)
£ 120 inc vat
Learn Plus Us, 65 Colney Hatch Lane, London, N10 1LR

CALL 02031993860 to book

The Importance of Insurance for Nannies

The Importance of Insurance for Nannies

The majority of nannies in the UK are employees of the parents they work for. This is because employee status is established by meeting a set of legal criteria such as working regularly and exclusively for a particular person, family or organisation. Even if you have been told you are self-employed or a contractor, you may not be, unless you are working for multiple families or are directly employed by an agency.

As an employee you are entitled to certain legal rights and protections such as holiday and sick pay, a pension and the right not to be unfairly dismissed. Likewise the parents who employ you also have to comply with certain legal obligations. One of these is to take out Employer’s Liability Insurance (ELI). This protects you if you become ill or injured at work and need to claim compensation. If your employers do not obtain ELI and you are not a close family member, they are breaking the law and potentially putting you at risk.

Employers are obliged to make their ELI certificate available for you to see. If they have not done so, they might not have an insurance policy at all. In some cases parents are not aware of their obligations, or sometimes even that they are seen as employers in the eyes of the law. Getting insured though is easy. Morton Michel offers a standalone Employer’s Liability policy that is ideal for parents employing nannies. Visit for more details.

If you have not already, you should seriously consider taking out an insurance policy yourself too. Incidents and accidents can happen at any time. Morton Michel’s Public Liability insurance protects you against claims by third parties, while its Legal Expenses insurance ensures that you have access to legal advice and representation should you need it, including employment disputes. Not only that but being insured by a reputable company, such as childcare insurance specialist Morton Michel, is often taken to be the mark of a professional, proof that you take your responsibilities seriously.

To add to this, Morton Michel have teamed up with flick learning to bring their childcare insurance policyholders a range of FREE RoSPA-accredited, CPD-certified online training courses. So if you take out an insurance policy with them, you are entitled to more than 35 training courses saving you over £350! Morton Michel also offers a wide range of benefits and discounts exclusive to policyholders via their ChildCare Club.

For further information please visit Alternatively you can call Morton Michel on 020 8603 0942 or email