When I started to nanny, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I knew one thing though; I loved children. I didn’t find many resources on nannying, and I didn’t know any other nannies to answer my questions. Three years later, after working for over 5 families, through babysitting and nannying…I’ve learned a lot.
Inspiring me to write this post are a few new nannies/babysitters who are starting out who have tons of questions. I’ll be answering some basic questions and some vital ones as well.
1) “What should I expect on day one, the first day I’m alone with the kids?”
Realistically? Chaos. The kids are going to test you and push you, to see what you’ll do, where you’ll set the limits. They’re probably used to their parents/guardians, teachers or instructors. You don’t want the children to fear you. Likely you just want the kids to like you; this is normal. I made a mistake in my first nanny gig, I was overly nice and the kids started walking all over me, this is NOT OK. So early on, be kind and loving but firm with rules and expectations. If you do this, it’ll make the time you spend with the kiddos so much easier and fun.
2) “I’ve had multiple families offer me jobs…how do I pick?”
This requires you to think about what’s important to you. If the parent prefers you sitting on the couch all day watching TV with the kids but you believe outside time is important…problems could arise. If you hate cooking but the family expects you to make all the meals from scratch, be realistic and honest with yourself. It might be a challenge finding a family that’s a perfect for but in my experience, it’s possible to come close 🙂 One more thing. Of course money is part of it but trust me, you’ll be much happier with the loving family who pays less than with the high paying family who ignores the kids. If you’re anything like me, this will break your heart every time it’s time to leave.
3) “I feel so awkward playing with and disciplining the kids when the parents are around. HELP!”
This is so normal. It still happens to me sometimes. The kid wants milk…do I get it or let the parent do it? You want to be useful, but avoid over stepping. You also don’t want to sit there like a slug. Just be friendly, chat with the parent about what happened during the day. In my experience you don’t want to become best friends with the parents. They are your employers and when money is involved, things could go south.
4) “I spend 48 hours a week with these kids…I love them! Am I allowed to show them how I feel?”
Yes! It’s part of the job; pretty sweet if you ask me. Having a child love you will change your life. But remember once again that they aren’t your kids. You get to leave(the tantrumming monsters) at the end of the day!
5) “It’s a job, but I play with kids all day…what do I wear?”
This is a fairly common question because yes you do want to be professional, but professional as a nanny is a whole lot different than professional in an office setting for example. I’ve worked for numerous families and I’ve never had an issue when I wear my normal casual clothes. I like wearing comfy leggings, tank tops, warm socks and moccasins. Sweet right? Hopefully the parents don’t care since you’re there to take care of the kids and what you wear should not matter. Tip: You have breasts? Put your tits away. Kids know where to find milk…nipples. NO. I was alarmed the first time, so just cover up.
6) “Do I bring my own lunch or do I eat their food?”
This is a good topic to bring up when arranging your employment with your boss. I’ve had families welcome me to eat whatever I want, and others expect me to bring my own lunch. I would suggest asking your employer! Personally I like eating my own food, perhaps not plain pasta or whatever the children decide they want so I bring my own lunch and snacks everyday. Once when a family said help yourself, I was on my period and ate a whole box of crackers with cheese…and ending up feeling SO guilty, I immediately went and replaced the crackers…so keep this in mind when parents say “help yourself”.
7) “I believe kids need a good spank sometimes, but I don’t know the parents dicipline methods…what do I do?”
Another sceniro where you need to talk to your employer. They aren’t your kids, and even though you’re taking care of them…you still need to go by the parents rules. Every family is different and acknowledging this is very important for a good relationship. Most famillies I’ve worked with use “time outs” or “quiet time”, but this varies so make sure to check.
What did I miss? I couldn’t answer all your questions so if you have any needing answering, write to me below in the comments! I am also hoping to hear from parents, any questions for me? What do you think of what I’ve written? Thanks for reading!