10 Things You Need To Know If You Want To Be A Nanny
So you want to be a nanny? I was a nanny for 4 years and I worked with a variety of families. Personally, nannying part time was perfect when I was in college. You’re paid well, you don’t work weekends and you’re off on major holidays (typically paid). Here are the top 10 things I learned from being a nanny.
1. WEAR COMFORTABLE CLOTHES AND SHOES.
You’re going to be up and on the go. Remember you’re taking care of kids and most likely running errands for the parents with the kiddos. You might even walk the dog. I sure did.
2. TELL THE PARENT(S) WHEN THE CHILD MISBEHAVES.
Trust me, they need to know. I’m not saying to complain. It’s important for a parent to know how their child is behaving. Furthermore, the way they behave with you also reflects how they are at school. Similarly, kids typically try to test you and see how much they can get away with before they get into trouble. Parents will also advise you the best way to deal with difficult situations.
3. IT’S NOT OK IF THEY DON’T PAY YOU.
Unfortunately I’ve had the experience of being told by the family they can’t pay me that week, but the following week they’d be able to catch up on payments. Ok, yes things happen and sometimes people are tight on money. But this is a red flag. I had the unfortunate experience of working with a family who couldn’t pay me multiple times. Eventually I was paid, but the payments were delayed therefore also putting me in a tough spot when I had my bills to pay, or no money for gas. Be sure to speak up, and let the family know how the missing payments are affecting you.
4. DISCUSS BEST WAYS TO HANDLE DISOBEDIENCE.
This goes along with talking to the parents about a misbehaving child. During the interview process, I always ask the parent their preferred method of handling situations like these. Each parent is different. It’s important to handle the situation how the parent wants you to. Having years of experience does not make you the nanny whisperer.
5. EACH PARENTING STYLE IS DIFFERENT.
Some parents don’t care how their child behave, if they did their chores or homework. Learn this quickly. It’s crucial to how the “family culture” and job role end up being. If you are just there to make sure the child doesn’t get hurt, know your place. However, sometimes parents are extremely strict (at least for you) and they have a schedule on what the child should be doing from pickup to the parents coming home. It might be tempting to give the child “free time”, but again remember, if you think this is necessary always run it by the parents before actually doing anything they haven’t approved beforehand.
6. DON’T BE ON YOUR PHONE.
Seriously. I get it, it’s a relaxed environment. You’re in someone’s home and it’s tempting to kick back, let the kids play, watch TV, play on the iPad, etc. meanwhile you check Instagram. Don’t. You’re being paid to take care and watch the kids. Ask them how their day went, make them a snack, tidy up around the house, help with homework, join the kids during playtime if they want. Be in the moment. Give the child/children attention.
7. BE AWARE OF WHAT YOU DO AND SAY.
Kids are impressionable. You don’t want to leave a bad impression with the children. They won’t process you saying “ugh I hate that person” the same way an adult would. Remember you are an influence on this child’s life, so be a good one. Be a good role model. That comes with the job.
8. YOU MIGHT NOT GET PAID HOLIDAYS.
Even though a lot of families are generous, don’t expect to be paid on the holidays you don’t work. If you do get paid, not every family gives you a bonus. It’s fine. Just don’t expect it.
9. YOU AREN’T FAMILY.
This one is a tough one, because you spend weeks, months, years with a family. You feel like you’re also family, but you’re not. Remember that you’re an employee. They’re paying you, and as soon as they don’t need a nanny, you’ll be gone. It’s tough because you learn to love the kids and parents. I’m not saying it’s a negative experience when you’re let go because they no longer need a nanny. Plenty of nannies still see the kids they took care of years after. I know some people who see their nannies as a second mom, and invite them to their weddings, etc. Just be aware of this. No hard feelings.
10. IT’S OK TO QUIT.
It took me awhile to realize it’s ok to quit or “fire a family”. Each nanny won’t be a perfect fit for every family. Just like every family won’t be the best fit for you. Just talk to the family, and let them know you’re going to go your separate ways. You’ll be fine. They’ll be fine.
I hope this list was helpful. If you have any questions about being a nanny, please comment below and I’ll be sure to answer as many as I can. Nannying is a fun and rewarding job. I’ve definitely had a mostly positive experience. You can find nanny postings on Care.com and Sittercity.
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