Today we’d like to introduce you to Keri Robbins.
Hi Keri, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers.
From a very young age, I began babysitting for all the neighborhood kids and had grown to love working with families. As I got older, I began working as a Nanny while going to college to obtain my bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies. Upon graduating, I immediately took a position working in the field of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy. I learned so much more about children, their behavior, and why they acted the way they did at times. This insight helped me to care for children who had maladaptive behaviors and how to work more closely with parents to improve their day-to-day lives given their circumstances. I took the knowledge and training I received while working in ABA and re-entered the Nanny profession, working with children on the autism spectrum. Fast forward to 2019, it came time to find another family to Nanny for.
I decided it was time to care for infants again and began searching for a great family to help. In my search, I became very overwhelmed by the number of families who needed care for their infant. I began speaking with parents to learn where the issue may be with finding quality infant care. What I learned was there simply was not enough licensed childcare providers for the number of infants needing care, so many were searching for a Nanny. The lack of availability was largely due to California State Licensing requirements that in-home childcares and daycare centers are required to implement. Another popular reason that infant childcare was lacking was that parents felt uneasy about the available options, including finding a reliable Nanny. I concluded that I could do something more to help the infant childcare crisis. In October 2019, I opened Robbins Nest Nursery, a small licensed in-home daycare for infants only.
I opened Robbins Nest Nursery because I wanted to provide safe, high quality infant care to more than just one family. I ensured my program made first-time parents feel at ease, as looking for childcare for the first-time can be extremely stressful. My program places strong emphasis on keeping parents informed throughout the day, so they could return to work without worrying about their baby all day long. I also ensured my program focused on infants’ socio-emotional development, as this is extremely important during the first two years of their life. As I worked closely with these new families, one of the common topics of discussion would be about how their baby was sleeping, or not sleeping. As working parents, this was a major struggle for so many of them. So once again, I took it upon myself to see how I can help! I offered as much sleep advice as I learned through my experiences but wanted to learn how to help parents improve their child’s sleep in a healthy way that would be sustainable long-term.
I did a lot of research before deciding on a sleep coaching certification program because there was a wide range of program types. I was looking for a comprehensive program that addressed all aspects of sleep and found the Gentle Sleep Coach certification program. This program was the only respectful, inclusive, and evidence-based program around. I studied under certified lactation consultants, gastroenterologists, mental health and postpartum therapists, and many other medical professionals to ensure I would be knowledgeable in all subjects surrounding sleep disruptions. The information I learned changed how I approached sleep with the babies in my nursery, and how I shared sleep information with parents. I was now able to talk parents through one of the harder aspects of parenting while providing evidence-based solutions that worked long-term. And it didn’t involve me telling them to just let their child cry it out like many pediatricians do.
While working in the field of childcare has been rewarding, there is nothing like helping a family who has been in the depths of despair because they are sleep deprived. Many parents have a hard time reaching out for help, and when they do, it is not always met with solutions they feel good about. Often, when parents present their child’s sleep concern with their pediatrician, they are told they need to let them cry it out if they want to see improvements. This increases parents’ stress and anxiety around their child’s sleep because many don’t feel like they can leave their child alone to cry for extended periods of time. This makes parents feel like their sleeping situation is permanent and will never improve, exacerbating the issue. It also makes parents feel like crying it out is the only way to improve sleep, since this is what their doctor told them. As a trained and certified Gentle Sleep Coach with experience in ABA therapy, I offer alternative solutions that are based on behavioral science. Most commonly, parental fading. I teach parents the tools they need to reduce the amount of effort it takes to get their child to fall asleep and stay asleep. This ultimately teaches children how to sleep independently so when they wake during the night, they know how to calmy put themselves back to sleep without assistance. Teaching parents the tools and techniques they need to be successful is easily done over a virtual meeting, meaning my services are accessible anywhere in the world. No matter your location, I am here to help.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
This has not been an easy road. Since I opened my nursery in October 2019, I immediately had to learn how to navigate being a state-licensed facility that could remain safely open during the COVID pandemic. There was a lot of conflicting information on what to do and how to handle certain situations. Many childcare facilities shut their doors for good because it was too difficult to manage. I really wanted to be able to help those families of essential workers who still needed childcare and fortunately, I was able to do so. It did however put a halt on my enrollment, so I had to find a way to manage operating a lower capacity than I had planned. This ultimately led to me continuing to maintain a very small ratio for safety and to limit exposure. However, having a smaller ratio also allows me to be more available to provide sleep help to families. I received my Gentle Sleep Coaching certification during the pandemic in early 2021. At that time, I faced challenges finding clients as it was not as easy to get out and network with other professionals in the area. This limited my reach to online advertising where I face a lot of competition. There are plenty of sleep coaches around, but not all are certified the same way, or certified at all! Since sleep coaching is an unregulated field, anyone can claim to be a sleep coach. I had to find ways to share the value of the training I received and teach other to differentiate between a knowledge coach who is properly trained, and one who may be making sleep issue worse because of their lack of training.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Robbins Nest was founded to offer quality childcare services to families, especially first-time parents, who need a little help. I provide sleep coaching services to help families achieve more consistent, quality sleep. I also provide infant daycare services, so parents can return to work knowing their child is being cared for by a qualified professional. As a certified Gentle Sleep Coach, I help educate families on what optimal sleep looks like for their child, create a plan with parents keeping their goals and parenting styles in mind, and provide coaching and support along the way to ensure long-term success.
I believe it truly does take a village to raise a child. Our modern world tends to create obstacles between the community and familial support parents could traditionally rely on. Because of this, I decided to create a comprehensive childcare business with multiple services that can be available to families needing a helping hand. We strive to be the support system parents desire during early years of childhood. Our focus is to help guide them on fulfilling the needs of their growing children in a respectful way and to support any parent through the long journey. We have a large number of virtual and in-person resources in order to further assist families with useful information and can direct them to the correct professional help should we not be able to provide qualified assistance.
Can you talk to us about how you think about risk?
I do not consider myself a risk-taker but leaving the world of Nannying to open my own in-home daycare felt like a huge risk at the time. I had a lot of doubts about my success, but I am so happy I took the leap!
- Lite Package for 6 months-6 years $350
- Full-Service Package for 6 months-6 years $695
- Sleep Education for 0-5 Months Package $495
- 30-minute Consultation $50
- Website: www.robbinsnestchildcareservices.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/robbinsnestccs
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/robbinsnestsleepconsulting
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/robbins-nest-nursery-san-diego?utm_campaign=www_business_share_popup&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=(direct)