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Cayman Parent | Articles | Uncategorised | Q & A | Cayman’s Super Nannies

Q & A | Cayman’s Super Nannies


In the Cayman Islands, we as parents value our nannies very highly. We appreciate the superwomen who have come to the rescue, giving us the assistance we need with our kids whilst also being great, caring friends. Nannies undergo a variety of different challenges, catering to children of various ages and vulnerabilities. To know more about the journey of nanny-hood, we asked 4 of Cayman’s amazing ‘super nannies’ about their child-rearing experiences.


Holly Ann Penolyn McKenzie

Holly Ann Penolyn McKenzie is from Jamaica and has been a nanny for her current family for almost 3 years.

Do the children have a favourite game they like to play with you?

The children absolutely love playing hide and seek, and I must admit I find it good fun too! They also love to play outdoors at Dart Park. Playing outdoors definitely helps the children to feel calm and happy.

What is the most challenging situation you have faced so far whilst looking after the children?

The greatest challenge so far is getting them to eat broccoli… which I often feel may never happen!

If a child becomes upset or angry, how do you calm them down?

I usually calm him or her down by talking to them in a gentle manner, sometimes even whispering. That may catch their attention and make them curious enough to listen.

What has looking after children taught you?

Looking after children has taught me a lot! But most importantly, it has taught me how to be patient. As a Nanny you have to be able to handle their mood swings and behaviours all the time. The most rewarding part of looking after children is that you get to watch them grow, teach them new things and celebrate each new stage in their lives.

Who gave you the best advice or tips for child care?

My mother gave me the best advice for child care. She told me that children are fast, curious and unpredictable and I must always keep my eyes on them.

Were you here for the earthquake in January 2020? How did you handle that situation?

Yes I was here when the earthquake occurred in January. I quickly hurried into the baby’s room and took her up from her afternoon nap and hid in her closet until the shaking stopped.


Imelda Arances (Nana)

Imelda Arances, fondly called “Nana” by the family, is from the Philippines and has been a nanny to Caleb and Mimi for 8 years.


What is the most challenging situation you have faced so far whilst looking after the children?

Mimi was born with brain cancer and went through intensive treatment at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I accompanied the family throughout Mimi’s treatment and I helped take care of all her needs. It is challenging when she cannot communicate what she wants, but when she is upset I will let her express herself and listen to her until she calms down. Mimi has faced physical and medical challenges and my medical background has helped me with these situations.

Who gave you the best advice or tips for childcare?

I learnt a lot from my previous role as a Midwife in the Philippines but also from Mimi’s therapist.

What was your childcare experience prior to working with your current family?

I worked as a Midwife at Bethel Baptist Hospital in the Philippines for 21 years. My medical experience has been helpful when faced with Mimi’s medical and physical challenges.

What do you find the most rewarding part of looking after children?

With Mimi, the doctors did not know if she would ever walk, but she did after therapy when she was 5 years old! Looking after a child with special needs has taught me that each child is unique and learns at their own pace. It is so rewarding to see them reach a milestone.

Were you here for the earthquake in January 2020? How did you handle that situation?

Yes, I was at the Lighthouse School waiting in the car for Mimi to finish school. I saw the manhole covers opening and water pouring out, so I knew it was an earthquake. I calmly stayed in the car until it passed. I then went to the Principal’s office to make sure Mimi was okay.


 

 

 

 

Jeronica Garcia (Miss Nica)

Jeronica Garcia Miss Nica is from the Philippines and is trained in ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis). She has been a nanny to an 11 year old boy with autism for almost 4 years.

What is your favourite place to take the child you look after to play?

We really enjoy the beach. He can explore through swimming, making sandcastles, paddle boarding, kayaking or simply letting his feet sink in the sand.

Does the child you look after have a favourite game they like to play with you?

He loves to play a boardgame called Pop up Pirates. It really helps him with colour recognition, conversation, attention skills and improves hand-eye co ordination.

If a child becomes upset or angry, how do you calm them down?

I will remind him that I am willing to wait and will be right beside him to assure him that he still has got a companion to lean on even though I am giving him some space. After that I approach him and check if he is willing to have a conversation so I can listen and understand what he is feeling.

What is the funniest thing that you remember a child saying or doing?

The boy I look after loves to imitate Superman by wearing his underpants over his shorts. It always makes me laugh.

What has looking after children taught you?

As adults we need to give all children more attention, love and assurance to make them feel safe and loved. It is important to build a good relationship with a child and gain their trust.

Were you here for the earthquake in January 2020? How did you handle that situation?

Yes, the boy I look after and I were at home when we felt the earthquake. I stood hugging him in the nearest doorway until the movement stopped. I did not panic, I stayed alert and made sure he was okay afterwards.


Susan Whittaker

Susan Whittaker is a teacher at the Lighthouse School, a coach with Special Olympics Cayman Islands, a Girl’s Brigade officer and a foster parent.

Do the children have a favourite game they like to play with you?

Yes, the children love to race, play Connect Four and hide and seek. While we are out driving, they enjoy playing ‘I Spy’.

What is the most challenging situation you have faced so far whilst looking after the children?

I find it difficult when the children visit their mother and the house feels empty and silent. I have become so used to having them around that when they aren’t there, it’s strange and difficult to function as normal.

What is the funniest thing that you remember the children saying or doing?

The funniest thing that I remember is their dancing and more recently when they have been giving advice on how to stay safe from the “Camora Virus”!

What has looking after children taught you?

Looking after the children has taught me humility, infinite love, making sacrifices, resilience, strength, and that my own needs should take a backseat at times.

What do you think are the best things about raising kids in Cayman?

There is a lot of support from family and friends, and our Christian community. It takes a village to raise a child, from encouragement to discipline, and Cayman is proof of that. I have learnt a lot from my mother, my Grandmother Luna and the older women at church.

Did you live with the children you care for during the COVID-19 lockdown period?

I lived with my children I care for during the lockdown period. During this time, I conducted my school classes on Zoom, as well as helping my children at home. We used our leisure time to play games together. Often, we would spend time outside playing football or enjoying the sights and sunshine whilst walking our dog around the neighbourhood.


 

Looking for your own super nanny? Click here for our top tips on how to choose the best nanny for you.

 
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