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  • Ruka Curate

The Role of Trust

“If children feel safe, they can take risks, ask questions, make mistakes, learn to trust, share their feelings, and grow.” ~ Alfie Kohn

As we think about nannies taking the lead in teaching and educating children this year, one bright spot shines forth for us. Nannies know how to build trust with their charges. And trust is something that must exist for children to learn.

Let’s think about this for a minute. Trust is one of the first things a baby learns and this trust that their needs will be met allows them to begin to explore their world. A safe and stable attachment, that they will be fed when they are hungry, hugged when they cry, allows for babies to learn everything else.

This trust circle is then expanded as children grow to include others. As children trust that their teachers will keep them safe, they feel emboldened and confident to take risks and make inquiries. They feel comfortable asking questions.

Nannies know that building trust is more than just showing up everyday. It starts with spending time building connections. Being truly interested in what makes kids tick. It is about finding the joy in another person. Easy to do on days playing in the park and picking dandelions. Not so easy, but still necessary, on days when the word “no” is thrown around like confetti.

Trust however is also built thru clear expectations and boundaries. Children feel safe when they know that there are rules, even as they test them, they need them.

Knowing that a child is a fully formed person, one who needs emotions validated and the be treated genuinely builds trust. Great nannies speak to child on their level but never patronizing or indifferently. They speak the language of emotions and know that giving a child the space to express how they feel is as important a skill as a child will ever learn.

Often times for nannies who come into situations with older children, this process takes time. As children age, they see that people come in and out of their lives and so it becomes more difficult for them to trust new people. But this just means that nannies must increase their efforts to build those bridges. It comes in the hundreds or thousands of daily interactions that demonstrate to a child that they are being heard and valued. It might be that the nanny makes their sandwiches with the preferred kind of peanut butter instead of the off brand. It might mean listening to the same kinds of music, or knowing the plot of a favorite movie. It might just mean listening to a complaint without offering a solution, just empathy and confidence that the child can handle it. It’s about respect and showing up.

When nannies bond with the children in all these ways, they set up a foundation for learning. When you have faith and trust with someone you can build collaborations. You form partnerships. This allows a child to try new methods, to think creatively and to persevere when things get tough. It is a blessing to know that a nanny can build this relationship, or in fact may already have this relationship with a child in a very natural and organic way. It is an advantage that the nanny has over a classroom teacher that the relationship is very strong and can last longer than a few months over the course of one year. Building trusting loving relationships with their charges is the nanny’s bread and butter.


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