GrandNanny is the UK’s first intergenerational childcare service. We match mature people with personal or professional childcare experience to local in-home childcare jobs with professional families. We call this grandparent-style childcare – it’s joyful, experienced and reliable. In this interview for we meet Cathy, a passionate and loving mother and grandmother and a highly experienced childcarer. She’s joined hundreds of mature people finding rewarding childcare work through GrandNanny.
Cathy started working with a local family in January and hasn’t looked back since. Here we hear more about why she loves working in childcare and what advice she’d give to anyone looking to use their love of children in a new part- time job.
Hi Cathy! Tell us a little bit about you.
Until recently, I had my hands full helping raise my granddaughter, now 8 years old. I’m very proud of her development and have loved being part of her first years. When she started school, I found I had a bit more time on my hands and started to look for new opportunities.
I come from a big family myself as the eldest of 5 children. 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 and 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 people 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 in later life so magical?
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 9 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, seeing birds and animals for the first time – it’s just 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 she’s able to go off abroad to work with total peace of mind. I’m honoured that they trust me.
What is the process of finding a job and working with GrandNanny like?
From the start to finish the whole process was so quick. 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. 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. I think the company is going to do extremely well – I just love that they’re out there in the world championing what mature people can bring to the childcare sector. I also got sent a bag and a little card when I started which was a nice touch!
Nannies 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 different! 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 as a mature childcarer?
I’ve always been told that I’m very patient – 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 mature Nanny or GrandNanny?
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!
Interested in using your childcare skills in later life? Then the GrandNanny team would love to hear from you.
Discover the fulfilling and enjoyable work of becoming a GrandNanny in your community, with a minimum pay rate of £12.50/hr (£11.95 outside London). To register click here.
GrandNanny would love to hear from mature Nannies, grandparents looking to pivot into childcare, parents looking to pivot into childcare, older childcarers, ex-Teachers, ex-NHS workers, ex-Care Workers, Ex-Support Workers, TAs, Nursery Assistants, Early years educators, Community Volunteers, Library Workers, Exam Invigilators, Lunchtime support workers, and anybody else with relevant transferable skills! Come and say hello to their friendly team.