11 Parenting Tips From A Norland Nanny

Norland nannies have long been the choice of royalty, A-list celebrities and high-profile families around the world. With a 130-year history of tradition behind them, their childcare know-how is widely regarded as the best. Here, we asked two Norland-trained nannies to share their advice.

Establish A Solid Routine

“Establishing a good sleep pattern in the first year is one of the best things a parent can do for their baby. Start each day at 7am and aim for a 7pm bedtime. This will soon become second nature and gives both everyone structure. Try not to let your baby become overtired. Babies have a stress response to being tired – their brain thinks there must be a reason why they need to stay awake, so releases cortisol (the main stress hormone), which has a stimulating effect. This makes it harder for babies to sleep, leading to broken nights and tricky nap times, so follow the correct routine for your baby’s age to ensure they don’t become overtired. Get into the habit of putting your baby down when awake, too. This ensures they know where they are when they stir through a lighter sleep cycle. If they fall asleep on you and then are put down asleep, they will panic when they realise they’re in a different place and will wake up crying.” – Louenna Hood, qualified Norland Nanny, maternity nurse & founder of The Louenna app

Know Your Baby’s Awake Windows

“In the first few months, it is helpful to know the times throughout the day when your baby is awake. During these times, stimulate them with toys, tummy time and socialising. Establishing a consistent sleep environment is also important. Their room should be dark and calming, and white noise can mimic the environment in the womb. If you’re putting your baby down to sleep in a different room, ensure they have their usual sleeping bag, blanket or comforter. Comforters are great for indicating to your baby that it’s time to sleep, along with giving them reassurance. Getting babies used to having pushchair naps will also give you more flexibility. Blackout shades can help.” – Louise Barnes, Norland Nanny

Be Flexible

“Every day is different, and just like adults, children have good and bad days. Don’t cause yourself unnecessary stress by straying from your routine. It’s okay to have flexibility and having a day where your child doesn’t sleep on schedule won’t impact their sleep in the long term. At the same time, some form of routine is essential. Every child and nanny love a routine. Having a routine where your child can anticipate meal and sleep times is crucial.” – Louise 

EACH DAY IS DIFFERENT, and like adults, children have GOOD AND BAD DAYS.

Teach Your Baby To Self-Settle

“Ideally, you should only implement a sleep training process between ten to 12 months, which is the age when it’s believed babies start to develop a sense of permanence. In other words, they are beginning to understand that out of sight does not mean out of mind. Try the two, four, six, eight routine. Lay your baby down and leave the room – if they are unsettled, set your timer for two minutes. If they are still unsettled when the timer ends, go in and shush them briefly before laying them back down. If they continue to be unsettled, set your timer again for four minutes, then repeat the instruction to settle them. Repeat this for up to eight minutes then start again or get your baby back up and try again later. Prepare to be flexible, however, as not all babies respond quickly to this method.” – Louise 

Eat Together

“A good relationship with food begins during weaning. Wean your baby using homecooked food and let them explore new tastes and textures during the six to 12-month taste window when baby’s tastebuds are more accepting of different flavours. Eating as a family is also important. If you sit there watching your child eat without eating yourself, it puts pressure on them and increases their anxiety. If children see adults around them eating the same foods as them, it will encourage them to try different things. Remember, pressure increases anxiety over food and will decrease their appetite.” – Louenna 

Make Mealtimes Informal

“Mealtimes should be relaxed. Try to talk about where the food comes from and what benefits it has. For example, ‘You’re eating pasta. Pasta is a carbohydrate which gives you energy to run and jump.’ If a child is fussy, ask them to take a bite like their favourite animal. Ask your child, ‘Can you take a big bite like a dinosaur, or a tiny bite like a mouse?’ Toddlers also appreciate being given a choice of food from a larger plate – this allows them to make their own choices and chances are they will go back for more.” – Louise 

Practice Emotion Coaching

“If a child is cross and seems to be acting out, being able to recognise how they are feeling is important. Get down to the child’s level and say something along the lines of, ‘I can see you’re feeling cross. Can you tell me what happened to make you cross?’ Teaching children to understand how they’re feeling and asserting emotions to those feelings helps them to better explain things. Research also shows doing this can help them calm more quickly and helps build their resilience and mental health.” – Louise 

Every nanny LOVES A ROUTINE. Having a routine where your child can anticipate MEAL AND SLEEP times is CRUCIAL.

Always Explain A Situation

“When you say no to a child, think why you are saying no – can you give them a reason? You should always be able to justify your reason – for example, ‘it’s bedtime now because otherwise you’ll be tired and miserable tomorrow’, or ‘you can’t have another ice cream because it will give you a tummy ache.’ Give a short explanation but don’t let the negotiations start. This is the basis of a natural consequence approach and can help children understand the logic to your decisions.” – Louenna 

Give A Toddler Options

“A lot of the time, toddlers get frustrated because they don’t have the vocabulary to communicate what they want. Instead, give them the ability to choose between two options – for example, grapes or blueberries. It can also be helpful to give an indication of when an activity is coming to an end. You may say, ‘Two more minutes then we need to go home.’ This avoids the sudden burst of tears when playing has come to an end.” – Louise 

Try To Relax

“Being easy-going and relaxed around children has more of an impact than you think. In my experience, children who are calm and relaxed tend to be the product of easy-going parents. To take care for your little ones, you need to take care of yourself. And finally, despite peoples’ opinions, remember that you always know your child best.” – Louise 

Be Real

“Having a healthy and happy child does not come down to one aspect of parenting. It’s a combination of an all-round upbringing which starts the day they are born. Channel their individual personalities and embrace their talents and interests. It’s also exhausting trying to be perfect all the time. You don’t have to be cheery and rosy in front of them if behind doors you are having a rubbish day. Children sense and know when things are wrong, and they worry if they don’t know the reason. Be yourself and include your children in family decisions – this will create a strong bond. Parenting is the hardest job you’ll ever do, but it’s the biggest privilege. Plus, the more you put in, the more you get back.” – Louenna 

For more information visit Louenna.com and Norland.ac.uk. Also follow @NannyLouenna on Instagram.

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