So, You Want To Be A Professional Nanny?
If you are thinking about working as a nanny, here are a few tips for you to think about before beginning in this field as a career. It is not that simple to just get matched with a family and start a new position. There are many things to consider.
Here are some tips to help you transition into a new job, working for a family that will eventually have you as part of their lives, as you will become an integral part of theirs.
Keep your boundaries. You are not entering into a household to become your potential employers best friend. If you are a professional, you will remember there is a fine line between caring for your families, keeping your charges safe and over-stepping your boundaries. Keep your personal life your own!
You need to have some experience in the household of another family, other than your own. Many mothers that decide they want to get into being a nanny is wonderful, but remember there is a huge difference between working in someone’s home and raising your own child.
Parents want to know you are a self-starter, knowledgeable, and are motivated to offer suggestions, however you will have to be adaptable to all types of families and be able to read the family and adapt accordingly.
As some parents are open to suggestion, some are not. Some stay at home mothers (SAHM) do not want you to be the other mother, but more of a team player, following her rules and helping her when she needs it.
Some parents will look to the nanny for a gentle word of reassurance that they are doing things the right way, or perhaps look to the nanny for direction, but you will only know what type of needs you will have to fulfill for your families once you have been there a few weeks and you can read and follow your new family’s lead.
Most families and or nanny agencies with good reputations will not hire a caregiver that has not had some sort of experience in childcare. They prefer to see a resume with “professional nanny” all over it. The “runner up” resume would be a preschool teacher, with nanny experience, and/or babysitting experience. Credentialed teachers are also great, however many teachers with a credential or a degree and the ability to land teaching positions in school districts usually cannot commit for a year, unless they are just getting into the field of teaching and need a supplemental income. Many families are looking for continuity of care, so a year is a minimal requirement in which you should sign a contract with your new family.
Follow the family’s rules. If mom says no sugar, it means no sugar. If she asks you to slather the child in sunscreen, 4 times in one hour, or sit in the shade all day, or be the primary person getting up from any dinner because their child has to get up and go to the bathroom, don’t think twice, just do it! Remember nannies are in the “service Industry”, just like working in a restaurant. The client/customer is always right and whatever you can do to help the client/customer experience be a positive one, you go the extra mile.
Be open and communicative. Tell the parents what their child did that day. If the child got in trouble in school or received a time out or any other type of disciplinary action, tell the parents! Always be honest in every way when it comes to your parents and their children. If you have trouble with any type of verbal or written communication, this might not be the right industry to be working in.
Use your cell phone only when communication with the parents unless they say it is ok otherwise. There is nothing more annoying than a nanny on her phone and not paying attention to her charges. Isn’t this just common knowledge?
Arrive on time every day without any excuses!! Essentially if you are on time, you are late! Be there 5 minutes beforehand! Traffic and drinking the night before are not acceptable! Honestly, be responsible. If you know the traffic is going to be bad, get out of the house a half hour earlier! No employer of any type likes his or her nanny to be late, as it causes a huge “domino effect”! When you are late, the working parents will be late. This will cause problems for the parent’s position and you will be out of a job.
When the family needs privacy, give it to them and do not expect to be included in every moment of their lives. Respect their boundaries, especially if you travel with them.
Do not ask for a loan under any circumstances. This makes you look very irresponsible and that you cannot manage your money. Ask your own family before you ask your employer!
And lastly, keep your skills updated and fresh. Gather what the “cutting edge curriculum is all about and take a child development courses whenever possible. Surfing the web for ages and stages of infants through toddlers will also give you new ideas and information. While learning, you can make suggestions, but always follow the mother’s parenting style.
Most of all have fun and teach your charges, as every opportunity is a time to learn something new!