Alexandria Eleftheriou Founder of The Mothership Lifts the Lid on Nanny Industry Secrets

Published on September 6, 2017

Alexandria has been a Nanny, Maternity Nurse and Sleep Support Worker for the last 7+ years and it is safe to say she has seen all the ‘trends’ in parenting.  From, Gender Neutral Parenting, Natural EVERYTHING vs Just get this done Parenting, Discipline dial downs through to Helicopter Parenting!

The list is endless and with more and more articles being released every day on parenting, its no wonder parents get ‘confused’ on what is right for YOU and YOUR child.

We are delighted that Alexandria shared her pro-tips for both parents and nannies, on her career highlights and the secret to getting a child to sleep.

Full Name:  Alexandria Rose Eleftheriou

Age: 24

Location: Dubai

Profession: Professional Nanny

How did you decide to become a career nanny? As soon as I started Nannying I knew i wanted to educate myself more so I can support the families I work with more, so I became a qualified Maternity Nurse, Hypnobirthing Teacher and Sleep Trainer as well as my Nanny Training. This also helped me with high profile nanny roles.

Have you completed any professional training to help with your career? Yes, I trained with HATA Academy in London as a Maternity Nurse, Hypnobirthing Teacher and Sleep Trainer. I also love investing in their other courses such as elimination communication (potty training from birth), healthy eating, behaviour etc there are so many. I like staying on top of my training so I can support any family that contacts me.

When you say you’ve served as an extension of the parent, what do you mean? As a Nanny it is important to work with​ the parents as I am the one who will be implementing the families wishes for​ instance nap times etc so we must all be singing from the same hymn sheet (easier said than done) but it works very well, especially when we all understand what the other is doing.

What can you tell me about your salaries and packages? My packages and salaries over the years have varied depending on experience and training, I started Nannying when I was 16 so I have started from the bottom. Most packages include accommodation, private health care and travel especially when you work abroad. Salaries range from £40,000+ depending on hours as well. This excludes bonuses and yearly pay increases.

What should a family look for in a nanny?  It is very important that as a parent employing a nanny, you are making your decision based on a thorough interview process to include an identity and reference check, taking into consideration any gaps in employment and the reasons provided. You should also check the authenticity of any qualifications presented. Written references and a list of contacts provided by the nanny, should be followed up by telephone. Prepare a list of questions that are important to you and discuss them in detail with previous employers.

A criminal records checks, no longer referred to as CRB checks but as a DBS check, effective as of December 2012, are an essential part of any recruitment process. An enhanced disclosure should be presented and should not be more than three years old. If the prospective nanny does not have a valid disclosure, then one should be applied for as a condition of the role being offered. You should provide a full and detailed job description prior to interview. This will allow your prospective employee an opportunity to review the terms prior to interview and prepare relevant questions in advance.

It is useful to hold telephone interviews initially so that you can discuss the role and create a short-list of candidates to see in face-to-face interviews. It can be useful to have a partner or friend sit in on the interview so that you have someone to discuss your thoughts with following the interview.

  • Make a short list of candidates to interview.
  • Ensure that candidates provide a detailed CV with a full reference list and contact details for you to follow up on after the interview.

Take copies of the DBS check and any qualifications, first aid certificates and OFSTED registration if applicable, so that you can verify these before making your final decision.

  • Make sure that your candidates are legally allowed to work in the UK, ask to see proof of this and retain a copy if the job is offered.
  • Prepare a list of interview questions and ask all candidates the same questions in detail. Make notes as required.
  • Discuss specific job duties and what is and is not acceptable when caring for your children.
  • Discuss the details of the contract and reassure your nanny that you will take care of all the employment requirements such as tax and national insurance contributions and any employee benefits offered.

What’s the most difficult experience you’ve ever faced in your professional career and how did you overcome it? I struggle when parents want to make a change but don’t want to actually change what they doing, this is always a tough one to get around. For instance sleep, an example would be I recommend an hour/45 min wind down before bed but on weekends parents say they don’t have time and therefore little one doesn’t sleep even if they have ‘asked’ him to go to bed. When all through the week it worked, it just so happened that this one weekend everyone was very busy. Then from the Monday we had to start again as little one relearned that screaming would get him into his parents bed (age 6). If you have a successful plan and routine in place the more you stick to it the quicker you can get your work done once you spend that quality time with your little one and pop them to bed. Especially if you have seen the routines success in the week, you can not all of a sudden blame the routine from not working, look at what you are doing differently. On average it takes 3-16 for a child to learn good or bad habits.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced? I have been really lucky as a professional nanny and not faced many difficulties. The ones that I have faced I would actually call them learning curves would be becoming a live in nanny after some time a few years back was difficult. I had my set hours but my boss would wake me up in the night to clean sick or put little one to sleep, I had to explain very swiftly that this is not what we agreed and if they wanted a 24 hour Nanny then we would need to re-write and re-negotiate the contract. The parents actually explained that this was a cultural difference as back home (India) they had servants who done everything and anything, so I explained what a Western nanny was all about and they respected that.

How do you handle picky eaters? The thing you must remember when it comes to younger children is that they will not starve themselves. I have had children who are two and only eat purees and it was mainly because they had learnt that by screaming or refusing to eat they would swiftly be given what they wanted (this includes the coughing, fake choking and getting themselves very worked up). Be persistent if they do not eat their lunch, leave it on the side so that when they ask for a snack you can say ‘your lunch is on the side if you’re hungry you can eat that’ after 3 days minimum they will latch on that there are no games anymore.

For older children you can actually ask them what foods they would like to try, maybe what foods their friends eat that they wish they could or take them shopping with you to pick two new foods etc. Then make a list and try one new thing a day, that way they have come up with it, you are not giving them anything they didn’t ask for. Also do not make such a big deal about the food when they eat it, its good to have your attention else where whilst they are trying new foods so they do not dramatise the situation by looking at your facial expressions. Poker Face is the way forward haha.

What do you do when children won’t go to bed? I run my own Online Sleep Support Service as well. It’s important to remember that the older the child the longer changes will take to put in place because they have learned that they do not have to follow what you ask.

I believe in taking it all back down to basics, an hour wind down before bed time:

  • Bath
  • Milk/water
  • Story (You cans till read to older children its a good way to get that quality time with them) – Kiss and goodnight

Basically everything they ask for in the middle of the night give it to them in this wind down routine if needed). You have to make sure there is no conversations or questions when you say goodnight and give a kiss as this will stimulate any child.

With computer games etc it is very similar to when you are at work. If you are on the computer and you have so much work to do but you know you need to go home, you end up taking the work with you and working on your phone for example. You are hooked on completing work.

Whereas if you leave work at work and spend 30 mins quality time with your children when you get in you will realise that you dont think about work as much and will probably just reply to emails tomorrow. The same goes for computer games, a child is so wrapped up in the game they cannot just switch off and go to sleep thats why its important to have a wind down routine.

What advice would you give candidates looking to become a nanny or develop to a high level of nanny work?

Do it! I find my job very rewarding and the families I work for become life long friends. Take your training seriously and keep on top of it. None of us know everything as every parent and child are different so you never know what your next family may require. I have worked for families who let me get on with it, stay at home parents, vegan parents etc it just means I can immerse myself in different languages, cooking styles, daily routines etc. A level of self care is important especially if you do 24/6 (24 hours a day 6 days a week) you need to be on top form for the little ones so looking after yourself on your days off or when little one is asleep is vital, eat properly and wash etc. You may have to schedule these times in with your bosses.

Lastly what are your dreams and hopes for the future?

My next goal is to be self employed and work full time as a Sleep Support Worker through my business The Mothership Ltd. We have got an amazing following so I feel my next step is to serve my online community more. Which means interviewing new and amazing experts for our Members Club, connecting expat parents, implementing sleep and giving parents the confidence boost they need to understand that their parenting style in correct no matter how different it is from everyone else’s. Every parent and child is different.

I believe that every Parenting Style is correct as long as the parents and child are happy and healthy {cliche I know} but it’s a basic and black and white view that helps parents realise that they are doing an amazing job as long as the above is a big YES!

 

If you need more advice or are looking to hire an incredible nanny like Alexandria, why not get in touch with us today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *