From the outside, work as a nanny may look as simple as showing up, playing with kids, feeding them, and putting them down for a nap. But as experienced nannies know, there’s a lot more to it.
If you hope to be successful in this line of work, you need to be aware of certain special things.
How to Find Success as a Nanny?
Most people would agree that few jobs on this planet are more meaningful than taking care of children. As a nanny, you enjoy the distinct pleasure of caring for a parent’s most prized asset and raising the next generation.
As you seek to build a career in this area, here are five essentials you should keep in mind.
- Know What You’re Looking For
The term “nanny” is a general one. It can mean different things to different people, so you have to be able to identify what you’re looking for in a “client.”
Do you want full-time nanny work … which means you’ll stay the night and watch kids around the clock? Or do you only want to take care of kids during standard work hours?
Are you up for infants and toddlers? School-aged children who may need to be shuttled from activity to activity? The more specific you can get, the better your chances of finding assignments that get you excited.
- Crunch the Numbers
When you’re searching for nanny jobs, you’ll find that people want to know your rate. It’s crucial for you to know how much you’re worth so you can respond with confidence and conviction.
“The pay is pretty much dependent on your education and your experience working with children,” Kate Beckman writes for Cosmo.
“I’ve been doing this for six years, and I’ve taken enough college courses in early childhood development to qualify for a teacher’s assistant permit in California, which certifies me to work in a daycare. I also have a paraeducators license. That certification comes from taking and passing a test for a certain school district, which then allows you to be a teacher’s aide in that school district you applied for it in.”
If you don’t have a lot of experience, you need to be aware of this. Charging a lower rate will give you opportunities to gain experience so you may charge more someday in the future.
- Prepare for Anything and Everything
Parents want to be assured their kids are in good hands. The more you can prepare yourself for various situations, the more comfortable they’ll feel about entrusting you with their children.
Though most won’t require it, you can put parents at ease by learning how to perform CPR. Sign up for a class that allows you to practice on child and infant CPR manikins, because this will be the best way to get suitable practice.
- Protect Yourself With a Contract
You might assume everyone is on the same page, but the only way to make sure you and your clients truly agree on everything is to have it in writing. A solid contract will address everything from responsibilities and hours to pay rate, overtime, vacations, holidays, and sick days.
“Put it in writing so that it can be referred back to,” nanny Christina Koebernik suggests. “That way everyone’s needs are explicitly stated and the chances of misinterpretation and feelings of frustration are minimized. It’s also helpful to review the contract each year together just in case updates are necessary.”
- Follow These Rules
Being a good nanny isn’t rocket science. You can do a few things to set yourself apart:
- Always be on time and communicate well in advance if you’ll be late or have to miss a day.
- Be totally forthcoming; over-communicate even the smallest details.
- Never post anything on social media about the children in your care — including photos or videos — unless you receive explicit permission from the parents.
Put the Children First
At the end of the day, parents are looking for someone who can care for their children, keep them safe, and fulfill the role of caretaker while they’re away. This means your primary obligation is to keep the children safe and to justify the parents’ confidence that you’ll do just that.
Common sense rules the day, and you should never do anything that goes against your intuition. Through smart, strategic decision-making, you should ultimately enjoy sustained success.