Everybody Needs A Nana
By Sharon Hackleman
Owner, Nanaâ€™s Babysitting Service
Tell us about your business. I’m a call-out babysitting service. I service kama’aina as well as visitors to the island. I go out to hotels, vacation resorts, as well as to local homes. I bill hourly and sit anywhere from three hours up to 10-or 12-hour days. I watch newborns all the way up to 12-year-olds. I always find out how old the children are and bring a little carry-on suitcase with toys and activities to keep them busy. I started the business a little over a year ago and moved here five years ago from Alaska.
What do you do with the kids? I love to break it up. I like to do indoor activities like Play-Doh, Bendaroos and finger paints. I bring balloons. I mix it up – lot of coloring, painting, just all different kinds of activities. I also try to map out wherever the local park is and, if the parents feel comfortable with it, we always have a little outdoor time at the park.
Why did you move to Kaua’i? My children grew up and I was an empty-nester. I always wanted to live in Hawaii and specifically Kaua’i.
What is your child care background?
My background is actually in counseling at-risk youth. I did that for several years in Alaska and also here on the island. I also have my residential child and youth care professional trainer certification. I received that when I was a counselor. In addition, I’m a counselor tech in behavioral health for drug and alcohol abuse. And then, being a mother of two – even though they’re grown – and having a 7-year-old granddaughter, I have lots of hands-on experience.
How did you get started in this business? The idea came to me when my granddaughter Trinity came to visit. We were sitting reading books on the couch, and when we were done she looked at me and said, ‘You’re a good nana.’ It just kind of clicked and I thought there are a lot of keiki that could really use a nana figure.
What else do you do for a living? I have a children’s book out, Marion the Magnet’s First Mission, and the Mind Time affirmation cards. The cards sold really well. I came up with the idea when I was counseling at-risk teen girls. The book is about a little magnet that teaches kids that they attract what they think about, so if they think positive, they attract positive.
Why do you do what you do? It’s my calling.
What sets your business apart? I think it’s because I service kama’aina. I have a lot of kama’aina clients. This is a huge market – baby sitters are scare.
What motivates you to get up every day and go to work? I love kids! I truly do. I love spending time with them. It’s a genuine connection. The parents recognize that and so do the children.
Do you have a business motto or philosophy? Just to be genuine and sincere. The children can feel that you want to spend time with them. I come with an open and loving heart to uplift and have fun.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your business?
The most challenging was trying to find someone I would be comfortable with bringing on board with me, because I was referring a lot of clients elsewhere and it was getting kind of discouraging. So recently I found someone, her name is Katy Doyle, and she just started working with me about a month ago. She has that genuine connection to kids.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your business? When the kids beg you to come back and the parents thank me.
How do you measure success? Joy and happiness. And the way the kids and parents appreciate me.
What are your plans for the future? At this time, I’m finishing up my degree in metaphysics so I can open my own holistic counseling service for teens. I hope to do that within the next year or two. It will be a body-mind-spirit approach to helping teens heal.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? Nothing, this is it.
Call 634-3048 to make an appointment. nanasbabysittingservice.c om