Working with twins can be such a rewarding, fun, and memorable experience. Caring for children of the same age generally makes a nanny’s life more comfortable as they can plan activities, meals and routines that are mostly the same for each child. However, the special bond that twins share adds another level of enjoyment to the job, as you witness them connect, interact and form a lifelong relationship.
This being said, working with twins can mean double the trouble, if the nanny isn’t prepared for the challenge. We connected with Marianne, a Norland-trained nanny, for five simple and useful tips for managing the chaos and creating an environment where both children can thrive.
Hi, Marianne! We’re excited to work with you today!
Thank you for the opportunity! I am so happy to be able to collaborate with you today. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to empower and support other nannies in the industry and help them feel confident in their role.
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself and your background?
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Practical, realistic and responsive. These are the core qualities which I learnt during my four years with Norland. Parents need practical support which allows them to reach their own personal and professional goals, safe in the knowledge that their child is in good hands. Caregivers need realistic expectations of babies and children to enter their world as visitor, not an intruder. Children need to know that their needs and feelings are valid and will be responded to with kindness and respect. #norlandnanny #sonorland #responsivecare #gentleparenting #childled #playbased #eyfs
I’m Marianne. I’m a Norland nanny currently working and living in Bristol. I have five years experience of working with families and children and believe in a child-led, holistic approach to nannying. In my spare time, I love trying new dance classes, sewing my own clothes and knitting. I also a volunteer with Twins Trust in a family support role where I help families with various challenges such as feeding newborns, weaning, sleep and getting out of the house.
Can you tell us more about Twins Trust?
Twins Trust is a UK-wide charity that aims to provide families with twins, triplets, and more with the information, services and support they need to thrive. Our charity also works to raise awareness and invest in research and campaigns to help families to achieve the best possible outcomes.
Caring for twins may be a challenge for nannies who have never been in the situation before. How do you stay organised?
The most important thing a nanny can do to set themselves up for success is to plan their week in advance. This is especially true with twins as the days can fly by chasing two busy children.
I like to plan meals, activities and outings for the week ahead to give myself a head start. Meals can also be batch cooked and frozen in advance for an extra time-saving boost. If your twins still nap during the day, this is an excellent opportunity to get ahead with cooking without inquisitive hands getting involved. My favourites to have to hand in the freezer are fish pie, tomato sauce and cheese scones.
Another time-saving tip is to load the washing machine the night before, so it’s all ready to go in the morning.
What advice would you give nannies in terms of scheduling?
When working with twins, you’ll likely spend more time at home. This means there’s plenty of time to establish a routine that works for everyone and gives a backbone to your day. This doesn’t mean sticking to strict timings; it’s more about creating a predictable flow to the day.
Mealtimes are a great way to bring everyone back together after a period of play and are the cornerstone to any routine. Outdoor time is also hugely important to incorporate, no matter the weather. Children thrive on consistency, so having rituals and repeated rhythms will create a calm environment where everyone knows what to expect.
How do you keep both children safe from harm?
As nannies, we all have eyes in the back of our heads. However, when working with twins, even this isn’t enough to keep them out of trouble. I like to baby-proof all areas of the house where we regularly spend time, so I know the children cannot seriously hurt themselves.
Minimising risks is much easier than worrying if a toddler is going to fall down the stairs whilst you’re changing their twin’s nappy. Stair gates, cupboard locks and removing loose wires are a good start, but it’s essential to look around the room from the child’s perspective and remove any potential hazards.
Twins are often treated as a unit and expected to have the same interest. However, the opposite is true. How do you manage to care for two children who have individual personalities?
Twins are individual children and are often no more alike than siblings or classmates. They view the world in their unique way, and it’s essential to respect and celebrate their differences.
This can mean planning different activities for each of their interests, or simply accepting that the same resource will be used differently by each child. I love using natural resources and open-ended opportunities when working with groups of children, as everyone can play as they choose and use their own imagination.
How important is getting support in achieving the best possible outcome and providing the best care to children?
Although working with twins is hugely rewarding, it’s vital that the parents can relate to the daily challenges that a nanny can face. Having open and honest communication is a great way to achieve this. By sharing the ups and downs of the day, both parties can be heard and have their feelings validated. It might even be possible to use these discussions to find solutions that make everyone’s life easier.
What final piece of advice can you offer nannies who are just starting to care for twins?
These tips have been taken from my experience of working with families and twins for the past five years. I also volunteer for Twins Trust in a Family Support Role, helping twins families with topics such as routine, sleep, feeding, newborn care or a dramatic life event. Further support, advice, articles, and information booklets can be found on the Twins Trust website, www.twinstrust.org.
Where can readers follow and reach out to you for more tips?
You can follow me on Instagram - @nannymarianne.