I have been a nanny for over nine years, working with children 0-10 years old, both boys and girls. I currently nanny for three families in a nanny-share position full-time, and they all have babies under 20 months, two girls and one boy.
Reading with children is a very important role of a professional nanny. In my experience reading with a child of any age is a must as their parent or their nanny. A child is never too young to enjoy books. A lot of my previous jobs have been with very young babies and even showing them cloth books and picture books in their early months is a good start. Reading with a child as a nanny provides quality time with them, developing bonds and usually a one-to-one quiet time when a child can be calm, relaxed and also has your full attention.
Looking at books from a young age allows a child’s development to progress; they start to recognise objects, sounds, shapes, colours etc. All books provide each child the ability to learn something new. Of course there is the story but looking at books also helping them to understand the meaning of quiet time and can also be a vital part of a good bedtime routine, to ensure a quiet atmosphere before bed.
I like reading with children as you can turn a book into a game asking them to point to specific things on a page i.e. “Can you show me the….?” This is particularly important for a young child who cannot yet talk, but you will be surprised how much books have already developed their ability to listen and learn. Children are like sponges: they are always listening, even when you think they don’t understand, and this is why it is important to introduce books even to young babies.
As a professional nanny, story time is an important part of my daily routine. We always read books before bedtime, and this is a lovely time to have a cuddle and relax with my babies. I also believe books should be available to children to read throughout the day. Having a book shelf for their own books at their height allows them to choose a book whenever they want.
Books help children’s development in many ways, such as their ability to recognise sounds, letters, noises, shapes, colours, animals and transport, as well as their imaginative and creative development, which I am sure everyone agrees will help them for their step into nurseries and eventually school.
I have read many books in my career but to date my favourites are…
Baby Einstein (variety of books)
These books are great for young babies, they are simple and full of colour and textures for them to explore. It again helps to develop the senses to touch and feel books from a young age. (A selection of Little Einstein books is given below, and they are also available in DVD.)
Hairy Maclary From Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd
This book is a real favourite of mine. It tells a great story about Hairy Maclary the scruffy dog and how his friends join him on a walk to town only to be scared by Scarface Claw, the toughest Tom in town, which makes them all run home to bed. It is such a great story; it has rhythm, fantastic pictures and allows the children to learn the repetition of each page. This story really keeps the children’s attention and gets them excited as the story gets faster towards the end. I also like the way on each page there is a paw or tail of the next dog; the children love to point these out and guess which one it is. They are also learning about different dogs and rhyming, with a little humour too. A great book for all ages.
The Tiger who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr
This book is a childhood memory for me. Sophie and her mother answer the door to find a great big stripy tiger; they invite him in for tea, only to be eaten out of house and home. This book is brilliant; all the children I have looked after love it. It has great pictures and a funny story that the children seem to love. It really holds their attention, as they are interested to see what the tiger does next! Every child should have this book in their collection; they will never get bored of hearing it, and I am talking from experience.
Singer, Marilyn Neighbourhood Animals
Aigner-Clark, Julie See and Spy Shapes
Aigner-Clark, Julie (2003) Mirror Me!
Scholastic, Little Einstein
Dodd, Lynley (1983) Hairy Maclary From Donaldson’s Dairy
Kerr, Judith (1992) The Tiger who Came to Tea
ISBN -13: 978-0006640615