Move Over Mary: Meet Manny Poppins, a Male Nanny Who Works With Special Needs Kids by Mike Prochaska

Move Over Mary: Meet Manny Poppins, a Male Nanny Who Works With Special Needs Kids

Manny Poppins (aka Matt Lister) is from New Orleans, and is an awesome male nanny who truly puts his heart into everything. He’s worked with kids officially as a career for 26 years, and really cares about the kids that he helps mold into adults. Read on to learn more about Manny Poppins…

Q. What is your favorite age to care for?

"I have cared for ages newborn through teenage. The oldest was 15 years old. My favorite age to work with is ages 7 to 7 – 7 months old to 7 years old. Those are the most formative ages and where you get to see the most developmental growth, can be most effective in helping the parents be the best they can be and get to see the awe and wonder in the child’s eyes regarding every single thing around them. Also, it is the age level, with special needs children, that you can have the most positive influence into their lives and help them and their families most."

Q. Do you have other work or life experience that helps you as a nanny?

"Yes, I have always worked with children who have special needs (I call them superpowers). My first being 26 years ago, and they are children who mostly have autism or those with behavior concerns, so I have since taken classes and work at an ABA therapy center (applied behavior analysis therapy center) as a Registered Behavior Technician (requires extensive training, competency evaluations, an exam and registration on a federal level). 

"My education in children and families has always been vital (I took many years of psychology and sociology classes at the University of New Orleans) and this is just one more piece to ensure I can give quality nanny services to children on the spectrum or who have ODD, ADHD, ADD or behavior concerns. Having the right training to provide the very best care for the children you work with is vital in our industry."

Q. Are you CPR trained?

"I am trained in CPR, first aid and the use of the AED (automated external defibrillator)."

Q. Tell us about your education. 

"Technically, I do not have a degree yet. I earned both a General Studies Bachelor Degree and Sociology Bachelor Degree but turned those down because I wanted it to be a Psychology degree, and then was unable to get my last semester for the Psychology degree due to a financial hold placed on my account due to student loans. So, once I pay that hold off, then I can return for my last 10 credits and get my psychology degree with the focus in child psychology. I have the education, just not the diploma."

Q. Are you willing to relocate?

"I am certainly willing to relocate, and I do not care where. If a family can benefit from my services, I am willing to go anywhere to help them. I will not travel outside of the USA though at this time."

Q. How do you react to temper tantrums, especially in public?

"It depends on the function of the behavior. I can see from what happens right before the tantrum what the cause is, and can determine then the purpose of the tantrum. This helps me determine what to do about it. Redirect? Ignore and just keep the child and others and environment safe? Help child process what is going on? Offer sensory items (such as sunglasses or noise-reducing headphones, etc.)? So, a tantrum is something that has a cause. Figure out the cause and you can figure out the best solution."

Q. How would you handle an emergency? Have you ever had to handle an emergency?

"Remain calm, stay focused and do what is necessary to get things right. And, yes, I have. I can’t give specifics (every emergency is different,) but the key is to know the child completely (medical history, allergies, favorite places, toys, sounds, etc. – all could be important information in an emergency) and to have the proper training to handle anything that may come along. 

"In some situations, a few seconds could mean life or death, so you want to make sure to save the child even if it means having dispatch on 911 contact the parents for you while you attend to the child. That child has to be your priority, no matter what the emergency. So, know the child, the child’s history and be properly trained to be able to stay calm and focused."

Q. What activities would you do with the children during the day? Describe a typical day.

"Every child is different, especially when it involves children with autism or other 'superpowers,' so there is no typical day. Each and every activity and day is structured around the individual child and the family. So, there is nothing ever typical."

Q. What makes Manny Poppins different from any other nanny?

"I am different from every other nanny because my focus is with children with unique situations, whether it be autism, ADHD, ADD, ODD, behavior issues or even it may just be situations in the home – divorcing families, addiction issues or parents who need that little extra help from someone who can teach them how to avoid chaos. Sometimes it is the parents who hire me, sometimes it is other family members who hire me to help the parents. I can adjust to any situation to best help the child and family to find peace and happiness."

Q. How are you, Manny Poppins, different from other nannies?

"Manny Poppins is the person to contact when you really just don’t know who else to turn to. My education in psychology and sociology, as well as my education in behavior, can go a long way in solving problems and turning things around. If that is not you, and you consider yourself boring compared to all that, then I, too, can help, by providing that male role model in your child’s life.

"That is what makes Manny Poppins different from any other nanny. I can work with any family and that family will see results and will be satisfied."

Q. What is the best way for families to get into contact with you?

"The best way, is to look at my website,, and then if they like what they see (my resume material is on there, along with my blog, some videos and other important information) then the families can contact me at"

Be sure to like the Manny Poppins Facebook page and learn more about the International Manny Association

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Nice interview.
Joe Campbell
Thanks for caring for children with special needs Matthew :)
Trevor Romain
Awesome interview, Mike!
Robert Saunders Teacher
Truly inspiring person. Thank you.

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