Do the Nanny Shuffle!Posted: July 23, 2013
Finding ways to entertain kiddos, preschool age and up, is a collaborative process, involving both nanny and kiddo. When it comes to activities, I give them ideas, but they ultimately choose what they want to do, and may be in charge of where the day takes them. As far as bonding on a personal level, humors fly back and forth through conversation, empathies emerge, and we develop our rapport together.
With my smaller ones, 2 months – 2 years old especially, the options are somewhat limited. They’re still learning to walk, still learning to talk, some are so young I’m lucky if they have neck control! How then do I engage these babes into finding me fun, loving, and fun-loving? Well I’ve found that there is one move in my caregiver choreography that, when I turn it out, grabs attention, earns a smile/laugh, and depending on the age, inspires imitation. I call it the Nanny Shuffle. It’s just like it sounds, just shuffling my feet together in tiny but quick steps. Now, why, you ask, is this simple step such a little crowd-pleaser? Beats the heck outta me, but it works! When El Fuego was getting his swole on in his exersaucer, I would shuffle around him in circles. He would follow me with his eyes (crinkled up by his smile), as far as he was able (mouth open in delight), then would whip his lil red head around to catch me on round two! I’d go for as many laps as he would, then pick him up for a shuffle with an added hop!
Sassafras loves when I Nanny Shuffle from one room to the next. Even if it’s just a quick trip to the kitchen to grab her a snack, it gets an “Ah!” and a giggle from her high chair! Or if we’re moving from one play area to the next, and I break out the Nanny Shuffle, she does her darnedest to shuffle right on my heels!
I love doing the Nanny Shuffle, both as a way to engage the kiddos, and also as a means to gauge their level of ability. As they get older, they try to do the Nanny Shuffle, and I can see them progressing in coordination and balance with every impromptu dance class. I love that milestones in my career are marked by dance moves and smiles. The Nanny Shuffle sure beats the tar out of paper shuffling!