I use books to teach my nanny children EVERYTHING! I believe that books are the most important hooks to get our little ones excited or interested in a certain topic. This guest blog will guide you through some of the routines we have to tackle daily in order to help your little ones engage more easily in them. I wouldn’t suggest you read every book in one day or do every activity, but if you are finding something in the routine a little tricky, these books and activities might just be the key to smooth things out a little.
Lulu’s Clothes and Lulu’s Shoes by Camilla Reid are a beautiful set of interactive books with ties and zips which helps your child learn to tie shoe laces and fasten items of clothing. I tend to do “competitions” with my nanny children on who can get dressed the quickest. I still help with tights/socks and buttons at the back of clothes but it generally means they are motivated to at least try to get dressed quickly.
There are many books out there with lovable characters such as Maisy by Lucy Cousins, but I like Clarabella’s Teeth by An Vrombaut, which is about a crocodile that has to clean hundreds of teeth!
I’m not one for much screen time but in this instance, if it’s going to be the difference between clean teeth and black teeth then google “brush your teeth songs” and see which one doesn’t annoy you the most!
I always sing a song while the children are brushing their teeth so that they know how long they should brush.
The song I sing goes:
Brush your teeth,
Brush your teeth,
Give them all a treat,
Brush up and down and all around
To keep them clean and neat!
In the morning and at night,
Clean them twice a day!
Brush up and down and all around.
Keep fillings well away!
I don’t know about your children, but my nanny kids will eat their favorite foods like their tummies are bottomless pits and while they are great at eating healthily, we are constantly encouraging the girls to try more different fruits and vegetables.
Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and vegetables from A to Z by Lois Elbert can be used as a sticker chart to externally reward children for trying different fruits and vegetables. We once made a rainbow and drew as many different fruits and vegetables on. Every day, we tried to eat one of each color of the rainbow.
Not quite daily routine but I did something called “Baking Thursdays“ with several of my nanny families. One family in particular would be logistical as we had swimming lessons the day after so I had to pack a meal for them. They would always look forward to eating their concoctions. I let them peruse through children’s recipe books and choose one sweet and one savory option. Sometimes they looked a bit weird but they always tasted good!
Baking not only helps with reading when looking at the recipe, but it also helps with following instructions and measurements in maths. I believe that baking is more of an art than a science, so an amount of creativity is always used in my recipes (although, I suppose that it is arguably as much a science as well). I recommend everyone tries to bake weekly with their children. It doesn’t have to be a new recipe each time- even trying the same recipe again to improve skills is time well spent. Rock buns and banana bread are my go to favourites. Being wheat and nut intolerant myself, I’ve also tried gluten/nut free recipes with the children. Check out Fearne Cottons recipes if you want healthier options.
A great book that combines baking with reading is Nadiya Hussain’s Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story- Fifteen Stories and Recipes for Children.
My eldest nanny child is five and she is given six books a week to read from school. Each book is between 24 and 32 page long. She is an awesome reader, but in between ballet and drama and gymnastics and piano, sometimes bath time is the only few minutes we get to slow down. Because of these time restraints, we have recently started reading in the bath! Of course, I hold the book out of the bath to keep it safe from splashing or dripping.
*In my personal life, I love reading in the bath and can be there for hours!
We’ve taken to playing “Can You Imagine That” from Disney’s Mary Poppins recently and imagining dolphins in the bath while we sing; but a book to support you in this part of the routine is The Flying Bath by Julia Donaldson (a true genius- I cannot recommend her enough!).
As with Julia Donaldson, this next author is one that I highly recommend. Lauren Child has written about all sorts of subjects, but I really like I Am Not Sleepy and Will Not Go to Bed, where characters Charlie tries to put his little sister Lola to bed. The main necessity for a calm bedtime is a strong routine. We do milk, three books, get into bed and then I stay for a little bit but leave before she’s asleep. Consistency is key. We also use lavender shampoo which is supposed to help with relaxation.
Reading books at bedtime is a great way to calm down and snuggle up. But don’t just keep reading for bedtime!
What are your favorite books to help teach children about their daily routine?