What is virtual nannying?
Virtual nannying is precisely what it sounds like – it’s basically Facetime with the kids. You are on one side of the video chat at your house with your camera setup on your laptop or phone. The little one is on the other side with a tablet, a laptop, or even a device casting you to their TV.
Virtual nannying gives the parents some needed downtime and rest. But, it does not mean plopping the kid in front of the TV, and leaving to go to work. There still needs to be a responsible adult in the house with the kid that’s being virtually nannied.
For example, I know one family just put their boy into daycare. Due to COVID-19, the mom and dad are both now working from home full-time. They’re also planning a wedding and the mom just started going to school again. On top of all that, the daycare has been closed to encourage social distancing. They are the perfect candidates for virtual nannying.
Setting up their little one with a virtual nanny can give them the needed time to go into a separate space, like their office, and just focus on work, wedding planning, and chores.
As a virtual nanny, you’re there to assist the parents, not to provide childcare.
Not only does virtual nannying give parents needed assistance, but it helps fortify the nanny-to-family & nanny-to-child relationship while you’re apart. This is essential during the quarantine we’re under, but can also help you to maintain those relationships when either you or the family are away on a trip.
Virtual nannying will also help you maintain job security. If you’re out of the picture, potentially for months, the parents may start to feel that they don’t need a nanny. But if you’re there virtually assisting them, helping them be more productive, they’ll see you as essential.
“They need a nanny more than ever.”
Why is Virtual Nannying Important?
I have a few examples of why parents would need a virtual nanny.
First, I’ve been helping a friend of mine with her niece and nephews. We’ve been coming up with different School curriculum activities and even field trips activities (I’ll go into later in this article). Check out our last article on school closures & education to see what resources we found we could use during these school closures.
Anyways, my friend has started taking two hours a day to be with the kids virtually. She plans engaging projects that the kids love. Sometimes the parents need to go out ahead of time to get the materials for the kids, but it still gives the parents a break. The parents can relax, get a cup of coffee, make a big fat sandwich, and have a moment to themselves. Or they can focus on getting some necessary work done.
During this pandemic, some parents are out of work and at home. They may not need a nanny right now. But, many others are still working, and suddenly their kids are home all day. They need a nanny more than ever!
Second, a nurse I know needs someone to watch her kid who’s home from school while she works extra long hours. However, due to the nature of her job, she doesn’t want to needlessly risk spreading COVID-19 to a nanny. Fortunately for her, she has a neighbor she trusts to watch her kid. The problem is, this neighbor doesn’t have a background in childcare, she’s not familiar with children, and she has her own work she needs to take care of from home. This is where a virtual nanny can step in.
The nanny can virtually homeschool and entertain the kid for a few hours, while the neighbor works. Without having to be there physically, you can hop on a virtual call first thing in the morning for about 2 hours and have an interactive experience with this kid. A few of my favorite kits to pull out are this playdough kit and this fossil kit. Afterward, talk to the adult in charge and set them up for success. Show them resources they can use – like the article that I posted last week school closures and education.
When you show how valuable you can be, even from a remote location, you’re opening yourself up to to more job opportunities in the future.
Third, there are a lot of parents now at home with their kids full time who are not used to being at home with kids. They kind of look like first-time parents all over again. They just don’t really know what to do. Giving parents a few moments to just let them collect their thoughts is a fantastic way for us nannies to be helpful!
Make the Most of Virtual Nannying
What are some cool ways that virtual nannies utilize the video chat format?
Arts & Crafts
Kids always have a plethora of construction paper, markers, glue, glitter, and all sorts of crafting stuff. Even if they don’t have them, the things they need for crafts are at grocery stores. Even during a quarantine, parents are going to have to go eventually. Don’t be afraid to make a quick shopping list for the parents, or have them order these things to be shipped directly to their house through Amazon.
We have a ton of science experiment ideas on our Pinterest. These are not difficult or complicated. Science experiments can be made of simple things like a 2-liter soda bottle being turned into like a tornado or a homemade cloud. You can also have experiments that the kid watches you do. They can suggest things for you to add or what color to make something.
Playhooray has a bunch of downloadable play prompt cards that give you play ideas a list of supplies. This is a rich resource for setting up virtual playtime with your little ones.
Playhooray!, mentioned above, also does live storytelling on her Instagram.
It is fantastic.
She recently read a book about superheroes, and she put on a cape and a mask and read the story as a superhero. All their parents had to do was go to the live stream and watch the video with their kids. While getting some much needed time to themselves, the parents could have a real person read to and interact with their child.
You can do the same thing. Schedule storytime with your nanny families. Give your nanny parents a break and read their kid’s favorite book. Dress up and make it fun!
I mentioned earlier that my friend is taking field trips with her nieces and nephews. After doing a lesson from one of the curriculums at ohsosimply.com/school-closures-education, she does an interactive lesson with them.
For example, while they were learning about animals they:
- drew the animal they learned about
- made paper plate masks of their animal
- played pretend as the animal they made while being read a story about animals
Then, they got to go on a virtual tour of the zoo! Many zoos are offering virtual tours that you can take on your computer. With programs like Zoom, you can share your screen and take them on that virtual tour of the zoo. It is such a cool interactive experience. You can go to all the different exhibits and see the animals.
Virtual tours are not limited to zoos. You can also take your kids to
- Disney World
- Legoland Florida
- The White House
- New York City
- London’s British Museum
- The Guggenheim
- Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Nightly shows at New York’s Metropolitan Opera
- Kenai Fjords National Park
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park
- Dry Tortugas National Park
- The Vatican
- Machu Picchu
- Atlanta Zoo’s “Panda Cam”
- San Diego Zoo
- Monterey Bay Aquarium
- Cincinnati Zoo’s Daily Home Safari
There are plenty of games you can play with your kids virtually.
- Mad Libs
- Simon Says
- I spy
- online chess or Checkers
- 20 questions
- Who am I?
- Video games
- Board games. Games are straightforward to set up over zoom.
- Scavenger hunt
How do I Start Virtual Nannying?
Call some of the previous families that you worked for. It’s more than likely that one of them is desperate for some time away from their kids right now. You can offer them the services we’ve listed above.
If you’re just getting started as a nanny and don’t have any previous families to call up, you can still apply for virtual nanny jobs. Many agencies are specifically hiring virtual nannies during the quarantine. Sittercity, for example, is one agency that is looking for virtual nannies who can help parents.
The principles in this article will help you get a virtual nanny gig. Advertise what you can offer.
In the meantime, even if you are not working, you can make good use of your time by:
- focus on self-care
- refresh yourself
- start exercising
- eat healthily
- grow a garden
- focus on your hobbies
- make time for your nanny business
One way you can work on your nanny business – even when you’re not working – is to get your nanny binder together. We have everything you need to rocket your professional nanny career.
Let us know down below how you’ve enjoyed virtual nannying!