Doctors have the American Medical Association (AMA). Media personalities have the Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ). Engineers have the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). It’s not just alphabet soup. Belonging to a career trade association is perhaps the best way to keep abreast of the latest developments in your profession, and nannying is no exception.
Since 1985, the International Nanny Association (INA) has vigilantly strived to set professional standards for the in-home childcare industry, covering nannies, nanny employers, nanny agencies and educators. The INA’s Annual Conference is the benchmark for training and professional development.
Thanks to the INA, nannies now have their own Oscar, or Grammy or Emmy (pick your favorite gleaming trophy). The Nanny of the Year (NOTY) Award represents the pinnacle of career achievement. Nominated by their employers, peers or placement agency, and chosen from the field by special committee, the Nanny of the Year award recipient ultimately becomes a role model and public goodwill ambassador for the profession.
At eNannySource.com, we’re always eager to hear about the life experiences of professional nannies — women with whom you can identify with or would be proud to employ in your home (please share your stories here). No matter how many years a nanny has been in the field, she can always increase her knowledge base as she learns from the successes and mistakes of others.
With that goal in mind, over the next few months we’ll be occasionally profiling some of INA’s past “Nanny of the Year” recipients and asking them to share some personal and professional wisdom.
“Child care or child development books are great as general theory,” says INA Co-President Becky Kavanagh, who received the NOTY award in 2006. “But each child is an individual who fits into a mold of their own making. They will be the one who teaches you about them!”
“Children are the most amazing people. If we could all retain the same imagination, open thinking, curiosity, and zest for living that children have, I think the world would be a lot better,” she adds.
Becky notes that nannying can sometimes feel like an isolating job — as you don’t have the constant feedback or office banter from co-workers — but suggests that keeping in touch with other nannies can offset this dynamic.
“Burnout certainly can happen,” she acknowledges. “Nannies who feel they are stuck in a rut or aren’t appreciated by their employers can begin to question their effectiveness or even desire to continue as a nanny. I believe having a network to call upon is a great help. Participating — not just belonging – to professional organizations that provide networking as well as continuing education is a huge plus.”
Stay tuned to this space as some recent Nanny of the Year award recipients kindly share their candid advice about the profession. Coming Soon: A profile on Marni Kent, the 2002 Nanny of the Year.
Here’s a sneak peek at some of Marni’s advice:
1. Have confidence in yourself.
2. Leave your problems at the door.
3. Form good work habits.
4. Keep yourself happy.
5. Embrace the place where you are.
6. Develop your own life.
7. Deal with a problem’s root issues. Avoid planning for defeat.
8. Develop a habit of smiling on purpose.