HI, I'M SARAH!
Patient. Joyful. Certified.
I'm a parent educator and career nanny. I offer virtual one-on-one coaching for parents and caregivers to help create and manage routines, address behavioral challenges, and find more opportunities to enjoy the unique value each individual adds to the household.
As a Seattle nanny, I've cared for children aged newborn to preteen, using developmental knowledge to create safe, respectful, supportive, and challenging learning environments. I've worked as a toddler teacher in classrooms, a family visitation monitor for a parent in recovery, and shadowed an autism behavioral technician. I volunteer for The Eluna Network, supporting children and families impacted by grief or addiction.
I love to read books about parenting, self-development, and body liberation.
I am a Positive Discipline certified Parent Educator through Sound Discipline in Seattle, WA. This means I can facilitate parenting workshops and coach role play activities that allow parents, teachers, childcare providers, youth workers, and others to experience the effectiveness of childcare tools before applying them to their childcare practices.
I am a certified Advocate for Developmental Concerns through Child Care Resource Center in Chatsworth, CA. (I lived near there for a year to experience sunshine.) This does not make me an expert on developmental concerns by any means. I would be able to offer advice on communicating with schools to ensure your child's needs are being met.
**I am not a therapist, registered dietitian, physician, or clinician of any kind. If you have developmental, physical, or mental health concerns, please contact a specialist.
For parenting help, contact me for more info and scheduling!
I LIKE TO MAKE BIG, SCARY THINGS INTO SMALLER, MANAGEABLE THINGS.
And maybe even make them into something fun.
I BELIEVE IN EMOTIONAL VALIDATION FOR CHILDREN AND ADULTS.
Traditional parenting tools often made children feel worse in an attempt to get them to act better. We know now that brains don't work that way.
We also know that all brains are different and individuality is more than a buzzword.
Helping children understand their feelings and really taking the time to understand their experience goes a long way in fostering resilience. It's a balance between offering support and making space.
Here's the framework that I use both in my nannying work and in parent education.
FIVE CRITERIA FOR POSITIVE DISCIPLINE
IS KIND AND FIRM AT THE SAME TIME.
(Respectful and encouraging)
HELPS CHILDREN FEEL A SENSE OF BELONGING AND SIGNIFICANCE.
IS EFFECTIVE LONG-TERM.
(Punishment works short term, but has negative long-term results.)
TEACHES VALUABLE SOCIAL AND LIFE SKILLS FOR GOOD CHARACTER.
(Respect, concern for others, problem-solving, accountability, contribution, cooperation)
INVITES CHILDREN TO DISCOVER HOW CAPABLE THEY ARE AND TO USE THEIR PERSONAL POWER IN CONSTRUCTIVE WAYS.
(Reminds us of their capabilities too!)
I BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF PLAY TO TEACH AND TO SOOTHE.
If children don't have play to process things, where do those feelings go?
(Hint: it's whatever behavior annoys you most.)
PLAY ISN'T JUST THE GAMES THAT MAKE KIDS LAUGH...
(Although laughter is amazing.)
Exploring new concepts is play. Negotiating with friends about the rules of the game (even for so long that it seems like the game may never start!) is play. Play is how children make sense of the world, and if we let them teach us, we learn that play can be therapeutic and life-enhancing for grown ups too.
I used to say that play was my least favorite part of caring for children. My jaded, adult heart did. not. get. it.
I explored concepts of play in nerdy, grown up ways (seminars, for example, are typically not associated with fun).
Meanwhile, I got on the floor. I learned from the true experts, the children themselves.
My services aim to help you find ways to use play to connect with your child, empower your child, model appropriate boundaries and consent, live by your unique family values, and have so much fun together.
And because everything in parenting is a paradox, I also want to help you understand when it's okay to be unavailable for play and encourage independent or peer exploration.
Adult-child power dynamics can distract from play's authentic benefits, or we can use our privilege as adults to make space for children to show us just how aware they really are.
I BELIEVE ALL BODIES ARE GOOD BODIES
and that our struggles to feel good are valid.
I WANT TO HELP YOU SHOW YOUR KIDS THEY DON'T HAVE TO AGE OUT OF BODY FREEDOM.
More About Me
I have medical conditions that lead me to experience chronic pain and limited mobility. Moving through the world differently allows me to appreciate things about the world that a more able-bodied person might miss. I also recognize that I may miss out on things that a less able-bodied person appreciates.
I live in a larger body, and have since I was a child. I am comfortable with the word "fat" as a descriptor, and identify as midfat bordering superfat.
I believe these aspects of my identity enhance my childcare practices. Diversity in perspectives helps us all live more fully and effectively. I do my best to model that it's okay and wonderful to be who we are and feel how we feel. Babies know it already.
Every aspect of identity comes with privilege gains and losses. Our society awards me benefits from the privileged identity markers of being white, cisgender, educated, a pretty good storyteller, and more. I vow to use my privilege to help others. I am constantly learning more about how to do better, and I welcome critical feedback from those who have the bandwidth to give it, as I put my knowledge into practice.
I invite you to show up with your whole heart.
"You don't have to get it right all the time. You deserve to trust yourself as a parent."
- Sarah Thunell, Parent Coach and Nanny
I'M SO EXCITED YOU'RE INTERESTED IN BODY POSITIVE PARENTING SERVICES.
Fill out the information below and I'll be in touch.