A male nanny has shared how he is inundated with work requests after quitting his furniture designer job to look after children full time.
Sam Mills, 38, a dad-of-two, realised his prowess for looking after children after having his daughter, Molly, now four. He has a younger son, Harry, three, with wife Kathy, 40.
Along with looking after his own children, he regularly babysits six more children, all under the age of five, at his home. His skills have proved so popular he has a five-month waiting list.
He teaches the children practical skills like carpentry, baking and cooking, and also takes them out into the fresh air on bug-hunting forest walks.
Before becoming a full time nanny (sometimes referred to as a “manny”, short for male nanny) in November 2017, Mills, from Morpeth, Northumberland, designed luxury furniture for wealthy clients including celebrities.
Of his career change, Mills said: "It’s been the best decision I've made.
"Everyday is different. You have a plan, but children rarely stick to plans.
"Watching a child have fun, listening to a child laugh makes your day.
"I don't like to boast. Other childcare providers probably do the same things but I try to push the kids more and help them get the best out of themselves."
He regularly looks after a group of three children at any one time (two are his own), and charges £4.50 an hour for his service.
A typical day involves looking after the children between 9am and 3pm, and teaching the children crafts and woodwork as well as cooking a homecooked meal – like pizza, scones and bread.
He explained: “Children arrive at my house for breakfast.
"We have a chat about what we are going to do today and then I take them to school or nursery.
"For the younger ones I come home and we go on as many adventures as we can. We hunt for bugs, watch birds and discover the world. As quick as a flash the lunchtime nursery collection happens. I feed them lunch which are always freshly made home-cooked meals and always around the family table.
"We then we continue learning though play. The afternoon school run quickly comes around at which point I collect the older children and we might go for a picnic at the beach or the woods, all depending on the weather.
"Then their parents arrive by which time the kids are, tired, exhausted and full of fantastic stories to tell collect them."
When Mills first became a nanny, he was worried being a man would hinder him – but it has proved to be the opposite.
He said: "I had concerns when I first started that I wouldn't find work because I was a man, but in actual fact, I'm getting work because I'm a man.
"I do things slightly different and the parents I have love that about me. I'm always getting asked about my availability, but I'm currently full.
"I will have space coming up after the summer holidays as my current children will be moving to reception class at school. I do have a list of parents that have asked before which I will be speaking to."