Meet Jess Mcilveen of Kids Yoga Therapy: an incredible resource for kids with special needs

‘I am here to revolutionise the way we heal and transform the minds and lives of our children and teens with special needs and who’ve been affected by trauma.’ – Jess Mcilveen, Owner of Kids Yoga Therapy

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At mini Nanny Agency we understand the varied dynamics that can exist in different families, including the unique challenges (and joys!) that families with special needs children often face.

That means we are always on the look out for incredible resources for our mini families, and Jess, of Kids Yoga Therapy is one of the best out there! As a social worker and an incredible yogi, she’s tuned into the needs of kids who may struggle with anxiety, have special needs or been affected by trauma.

Here’s Jess’ story.

How did you find yourself as a social worker AND a yoga instructor?

As a child I was surrounded by depression, anxiety, suicide and addiction, which left me feeling helpless. This ultimately led me to becoming a social worker, as I wanted to be the guiding force for children who felt lost and alone.

After a few years working in Child Safety and Foster Care I realised that the services we were using weren’t teaching children techniques that could help them when they felt scared, fearful or angry.

About this time I started to have anxiety and panic attacks, which was utterly terrifying for me. I didn’t want to take medication so I committed to daily meditation and yoga. I was absolutely astounded when after a week and a half the scary sensations disappeared!

While travelling in Italy I came to the realisation that I no longer wanted to be a social worker. One day a friend said to me, ‘Why don’t you do yoga and meditation with the children you want to work with?’ My head began spinning. Could I really do that?

After some intense research, I booked my flights and enrolled in a Children’s Yoga Course. Kids Yoga Therapy was born two months later.

What impact has yoga had in your life?

When I started experiencing panic and anxiety attacks, I was terrified. I couldn’t eat, sleep or function and I was too scared to be alone with my thoughts.

Yoga and meditation absolutely changed my life. Once I started regularly practicing, the scary sensations disappeared. And now, when they show up again, I have tools that I trust and that I know work.

After my experience, I went through all the research available on the impacts of yoga and medication for special needs and trauma and it’s conclusive – it helps!


How do yoga and social work complement each other?

As a social worker I want to empower people to find solutions that work for them so they can live their best life possible, regardless of what they have experienced. Yoga complements this because it’s about finding the solutions within yourself.


How can yoga help kids who suffer from anxiety or trauma, or who have other special needs?

Yoga helps kids by reconnecting them with their bodies and bringing them back to the present moment. Yoga also works with breath, which is crucial in strengthening the relaxation response in the nervous system. This response is weakened when children have experienced trauma or anxiety.

Anxiety is future focussed, so bringing children back to the present moment with their body and breath helps reduce the anxious state of body and mind.


What kinds of programs does Kids Yoga Therapy offer?

Our main program is an eight-week whole family support package. This includes one-on-one sessions with the child, and access to the Parent Support Collective, which is coached by myself.


What impact has Kids Yoga Therapy had on your families?

The techniques I teach help kids face their fears. For example, a child who was attacked by a dog can now walk into a house with dogs without going into a fear meltdown.

We have also been able to help children who struggled to communicate their feelings find new methods to do so. And foster children who have participated in our programs now have learning tools to help them when they feel overwhelmed by the unpredictability in their world.


What is the most rewarding part of being a yoga teacher and working with kids?

Seeing children’s proud happy faces when they tell me how brave they have been in situations that previously would have left them overwhelmed with fear, and being able to support families during times of turmoil – these are the things that make me feel fulfilled as a yoga teacher and a social worker. Plus, working with children brings out my inner child, which I love!

If you’d like to know more about how Jess can help you or your family, she’d love to hear from you. Reach out here. And we always love to hear from our mini families at mini too! Drop us a line or give us a ring for a chat anytime!

Interview with Michelle Moloney

Infusing vibrant energy into the nanny industry

‘The perfect fit for you.’ – Michelle Moloney, Director of mini Nanny Agency

‘The perfect fit for you.’ – Michelle Moloney, Director of mini Nanny Agency

When Michelle Moloney, Director of mini Nanny Agency, stands up to greet you, it takes only a moment to see why she is breathing fresh life into the nanny industry. Her smile is warm and genuine and she is quick to greet you with a hug, and break out in laughter. She is vibrant and charming, with an effusive energy that is contagious – and when she sits down to chat, you know she is ready to put that energy into getting to know you.

These traits are perfectly aligned with mini where they adore kids, and pride themselves on making the journey of finding a nanny (both for the families and the nannies!) easy, personal and, above all, fun. Michelle, who has been at the helm of mini for the past four years, knows the value of personalised service and the team at mini will always take the time to get to know every family and nanny that they work with to ensure the best possible match.

It’s about time that we took that same approach, and got to know Michelle as well!

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Michelle, tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

Well, I’m a yogi at heart, and obsessed with Dr Pepper (not the drink, my dog!). I love nature, which probably originated from my early childhood growing up in the villages of the Philippines. But really, I’m just a girl that has always had a burning desire to do something meaningful by building genuine relationships. That explains my career perhaps!


What brought you to mini?

It was an introduction that was truly one of the best things that ever happened to me. I had just finished a recruitment contract and started a new job working with a small boutique recruitment agency. During that time, I also began managing mini. Soon I realised where my real love was, and one year later, boom, mini became my baby!


What makes mini unique as a nanny agency?

mini is not for the ordinary! We live for fun, and aspire to have fun every single day. Our mini team is incredibly personable – an important trait as that’s what our business foundation was built upon. And we are responsive. There’s no waiting game here at mini, and our clients can vouch for that. But our most unique characteristic is that here at mini we genuinely want to build sincere, authentic relationships – these relationships are what enable us to find the perfect fit.


What value does mini bring to their clients?

The mini team is here to solve Australia’s number one problem – childcare – while at the same time helping lovely, qualified and trustworthy individuals find meaningful forever jobs with a genuine purpose.


How do you find such incredible, trustworthy nannies?

Well, I can’t tell you all of our secrets otherwise we’ll be out of business! But I can tell you that at mini our expertise lies in our talent sourcing innovation. Our clients often say, ‘If anyone can find a nanny, it’s Michelle!’ We have an extensive in-house database with over 800 registered nannies, and also utilise some of Australia’s top job portals (and no, we aren’t talking about findababysitter.com!). Nanny referrals also go a long way and we take our families’ opinions very seriously.

We  ensure that each of our nannies is recruited using a rigorous onboarding process. It starts with the family registration, which each family completes and which we use to start their personalised nanny search. Then we begin advertising, including contacting suitable nannies from our database. This leads to a shortlist of qualified potential candidates.

From here the real hard work begins because at mini we are meticulous in our nanny screening. First we have a phone call with the potential nanny. If this goes well, we meet them for a face-to-face interview to really get to know their personality. We run validation checks, including police checks, blue cards, first aid qualifications, social media checks and, of course, references. It is only after all this background screening that we begin coordinating family and nanny interviews.

Of course our job isn’t done at mini. We’re there to relay feedback, participate in negotiation (always the fun part!) and supply all the onboarding paperwork once the perfect fit is found. This ensures that our clients are set up for a successful nanny relationship.

Recruitment is an emotional experience for our clients and ensuring there is clear communication throughout the whole cycle is key. You never know who or how your candidates will meet you on your path again!


How does mini help manage and meet the expectations of families and nannies?

That easy – educate and share knowledge!

Personally, what has been your biggest success as an entrepreneur? Biggest failure?

I don’t refer to myself as an entrepreneur – I prefer the term business owner or director! I feel that after four years in business, it is wonderful that we’re still here and that that’s an achievement every day. I really am grateful. Sure I make mistakes (little ones!) all the time, but I’m an improvement seeker and always want to grow and learn from them.


Where do you see mini going in the future?

I appreciate the hustle and bustle of small business, so for now I think we’ll remain a small business!

If you’d love to know more about mini Nanny Agency or Michelle, reach out here. Michelle is always keen for a chat or a coffee or, even better, both!

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Katrina's Mini Trip To Auckland

 
Katrina's mini trip to Auckland

If we haven't had the pleasure of meeting, my name is Katrina and I write for Mini Nanny Agency's blog, manage social media, and am a casual babysitter. I just got back from a short but very sweet trip to Auckland where I was fortunate enough to take my 'office' with me while I checked out Auckland's Matariki Festival, celebrating the MāoriNew Year Te Marama Tamatea-a-io (the first quarter phase of the moon).  

I think it's important to be able to step away from your everyday routine once in a while, whether it's a weekend camping trip or a month-long holiday, with the intention of changing up the routine for the return home to better suit the life you want to live. That's what this solo-Auckland trip was for me anyways, and I thought I would share my top three favourite things about my week. 

 

Number Three: Nature

At Rangitoto's summit

At Rangitoto's summit

Auckland is ranked the 3rd most livable city in the world, and I can see why. Even without a car, I was able to get out of the city on a 25-minute ferry ride to Rangitoto Island, one of New Zealand many islands. Rangitoto was an active volcano about 500 years ago, and today is home to the largest pohutukawa forest. On route to the summit, I saw two kiwi birds (who moved way too quickly for me to photograph), checked out the lava caves, and took in the city skyline of New Zealand's largest city from the top of an old volcano without having to worry about poisonous snakes or spiders (like we have in Australia) or bears and cougars (like in Canada)!  

 

Number Two: Art and Culture

No photographs allowed of the Body Laid Bare exhibit! 

No photographs allowed of the Body Laid Bare exhibit! 

The Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki is a must! The Body Laid Bare: Masterpieces from Tate is running until July 15, and was the item on my list I was most looking forward to because I studied the themes and some of the pieces curated for this exhibit in my last year of university. At the heart of the show, is Auguste Rodin's most celebrated sculpture, "The Kiss." Rodin is known as the greatest sculptor since Michaelangelo, and seeing "The Kiss" in person amongst works of Matisse, Picasso, and Lord Leighton Frederic was one of the coolest (possibly nerdiest) highlights of my Auckland trip. 

The Matariki Festival: The street party on Federick Street

The Matariki Festival: The street party on Federick Street

The Matariki Festival is on until July 2 with heaps of free activities throughout the city. The street party on Federick Street was a great show with live music and modern Maori inspired cuisine. At the Stardome Observatory and Planetarium, AXIS: Anatomy of Space was screening in their 360-degree dome cinema. It was a unique experience watching the film on the circular domed roof, and it was stunning. The piece was choreographed by New Zealand Arts Laureate Daniel Belton and performed by the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

 

Number one: The People

As a traveler, I've found that you can experience the most breath-taking parts of the world, but it's the people who create that charm that will make you fall in love with a place. The Kiwis I've come across have been genuinely warm and laid back, and it's one of the many reasons travellers gravitate to New Zealand. 

Friends!

Friends!

Since I was going to Auckland mainly to set new productivity goals for myself, going out of my way to meet new people wasn't high on my priority list, but I ended up meeting some really amazing people who I'm so grateful to have experienced Auckland with. 

My greatest take away from my little trip has been making new friends and the insightful conversations and stories shared. The trip was intended for a refresh in ideas and a cementing of goals. I don't think I could have taken away as much from my trip without the support from my friends and family in both Brisbane and back home in Calgary, so this solo-trip has truly been a memorable one and I'm so glad I could share some snippets with my Mini family. 

On top of Mt. Eden there's a beautiful 360 view of Auckland!

On top of Mt. Eden there's a beautiful 360 view of Auckland!

 

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A Note to the Hardworking Nannies Out There

 
Hard Working Nannies

Dear nannies, 

What makes a great nanny is not something you find on a CV, but is found in the nanny's story, personality, and values. Many nannies we recruit have post-secondary education in childcare, a long history of experience in professional nannying and are parents themselves, but it's truly your patience, compassion, and ability to anticipate the family's needs that make a great nanny. Every person has a unique set of skills, experience, and outlook they can bring to a family and the great thing about nannying as a career is freedom to let your personality and nannying style shine through. 

Childcare workers are one of the most undervalued career options; It's no doubt a problem in our society. Let's all work together to debunk this conception with a positivity and being informative. Nannying can be an under-appreciated job, and it's probably because most people's general conception of nannying is a glorified babysitter, paid to hang out with kids all day, or thought of as house-cleaners. We know, of course, these people could not be more wrong (have they ever cared for a child all day long?-- it's full on work, physically and mentally draining!) 

Hard working nannies, kids

Never underestimate the significance of your role. As a nanny, you wear many hats in the household. Your role is to shape the next generation through patient guidance and role modelling in your everyday actions. Nannies are the cultivators of our future, chefs for some of the pickiest eaters, the chauffeurs for the kids' busy schedules, the nurses, the story-tellers, the teachers, the counsellors, the mediators, and the cheerleaders. 

When mom and dad are out of commission, it's your job to be the best version of their parents you can be. It's very rare that you're sitting around on the job because there is always something to do around the house to help the family's schedule run more smoothly. Mom and dad have entrusted you with the most important role, and that is being one of the pillars of support in their children's' lives. 

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Caring for children is one of the most rewarding careers. Children look up to you as their hero, their confidant, and run to you in need of comfort. Nannies become honourary family members. The intimacy of caring for children in the family's home is a huge privilege, and families will never forget your commitment and love for their children. 

Thank you to the brilliant, big-hearted, hard-working nannies that make mini Nanny Agency one of the best nanny recruitment agencies in Brisbane. The most rewarding aspect of a recruiter's day at team mini is receiving that phone call from a happy family letting us know that we've found their perfect nanny. 

We have some interviews of some of the mini's best nannies on our blog so have a read! Each nanny has their own unique journey to tell and it's been such a privilege to share these stories and have them represent Mini Nanny Agency to such lovely families. 

Cheers to you nannies! 

xx
Mini Nanny Agency
 

 
 

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