In this interview we meet Cathy, 61, who tells us how a new childcare job with GrandNanny empowered her to go back to work and helped her to rediscover wonder in the world through a child’s eyes…
Hi Cathy! Tell us a little bit about you.
Until recently, I had my hands full helping to raise my granddaughter, who is now eight years old. I’m very proud of her development and have loved being a part of her upbringing. When she started school, I found I had a bit more time on my hands and began to look for new opportunities.
As the eldest of five children, I come from a big family myself. With both parents working in the late 60s and early 70s, I was what you might call a ‘latchkey kid’. I had to make sure my siblings were safe and fed – I think that’s where my career in childcare really began.
I have enjoyed roles as a Childminder and Nursery Nurse and have always loved the interpersonal side of the childcare and education sector. GrandNanny is the perfect role for me now because I just work with one little one and his lovely family, who live just around the corner from me.
In your opinion, what is it that makes working with children so rewarding?
As soon as I put the key in the door in the morning, the baby’s arms go up and he bounces around. He’s nine months old and I just love that warm welcome and big smile. I have free reign to take care of him and I like that autonomy. I take care of everything from food prep to activities and we go off to the playgroups for some social time at the local church. Watching him develop, grow and pick up new skills is a total privilege. I love teaching him new things! Everything from singing songs to touching grass to seeing birds and animals for the first time – it’s such a joy to watch.
You work with a local family every day. What’s that like?
I think the thing I love about my relationship with the parents is how much they trust me. We’re very friendly with each other. They are really nice people and they have put their most precious ‘possession’ into my hands. The mum sometimes has to work abroad and it’s really nice that having me around enables her to travel with total peace of mind. I’m honoured that they trust me.
What is the process of working with GrandNanny like?
I loved that I got to make an account and I could scroll through all the jobs near me and choose the ones I liked the sound of. There is something for everyone in terms of hours and ages of children. I was really impressed. One of the addresses was right next to where I used to live. I think the company is going to do extremely well – I just love that they’re out there in the world championing what older adults can bring to the childcare sector. I also got sent a bag when I started with the logo on, which was a nice touch!
GrandNannies help children learn and develop new skills. Have the children you look after taught you anything?
All children and babies are different. So each one has probably taught me something new! A child is constantly experiencing things for the first time – whether that’s hearing a new sound or growing a seed. Every new little movement or development is a joy. I think they remind me to see the world with fresh eyes and a sense of wonder. They have also taught me to take every moment as it comes.
Do you have a unique special talent?
I’ve always been told that I’m very patient; I believe that you have to let children be themselves. Listening skills are important too!
What would your advice be to someone who hasn’t worked in childcare before, but is thinking of becoming a GrandNanny?
I will say that, from start to finish, the whole process of becoming a GrandNanny was so quick. Of course, once you have found a family you want to work with, you have to do the safeguarding training, paediatric first aid course and the enhanced DBS – but it’s all online and can be done in your own time.
Ultimately, I would say you should trust your instincts and go for it! If you have raised your own family, cared for grandchildren or volunteered, that’s all good experience. If you’re the sort of person who wants to look after children, even for a few hours a week, you’ll find an abundance of rewards. It’s a total joy to raise the next generation. Anyone who loves children will enjoy it, and – of course – the work keeps us fit and active too!
As the UK’s first intergenerational childcare service, GrandNanny matches retirees with personal or professional childcare experience to local in-home childcare jobs with professional families. They call this ‘grandparent-style childcare’ – it’s joyful, rewarding and reliable.
Find out more about GrandNanny and how you can get involved over at https://grandnanny.co.uk/become-a-grandnanny/.
A note from The Joy Club: This interview was provided by GrandNanny. We have chosen to share it because we believe that it may be of interest to The Joy Club community. GrandNanny has not paid us to feature this article, nor will we receive any payment if you decide to become a GrandNanny. We think their work is exciting and wanted to share it with you. Thank you.