Nanny's First Steps

opinion 1
I've been working with kids for a few years, but I'm just starting to look for a full-time nanny job. I was wondering what you nannies wish you had known when you were first starting out. It can be general tips or things like how you get the kids to eat carrots. I feel like there aren't a lot of great resources on how to be a good nanny... it's all kind of learned through time. Anyway, anything would be helpful!! Even if it's the best book you've ever read that has helped you as a nanny.


Nannycaroline said...

Be firm on your payrate, you are not a housekeeper for the whole family, and be sure you are treated fairly.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Be sure to nip things in the bud before they become HUGE issues later on.

For example, if a family starts to ask you to do "extra" household duties that you didn't agree on, try to talk it out as soon as possible so you don't get taken advantage of. Also, if they ask you to watch any extra children, make sure you will be compensated extra for that.

Above all, make sure the family is a great fit before you fully commit. A trial period is always a great idea since chemistry is very important in the Nanny profession. ♥

MissMannah said...

You are capable of the word NO. Some nannies are afraid of getting fired if they tell their bosses no, but what kind of working environment do you want to be in? I would never want to be in the sort of environment where I'm constantly afraid of my boss or being fired. It just isn't worth it to me. Also, be very, very picky about jobs and listen to your gut. If they seem "a little quirky" in the interview...RUN! That quirkiness may turn into outright craziness months down the road.

binghamtonnanny said...

My best piece of advise, is don't fall in love. It's hard not to, but you have to remember that this is your job. I opened my heart completely to my first family and loved those kids like my own. Many times I allowed myself to be taken advantage of, because I was afraid of losing the children. When they were sick, I would work late because I couldn’t bear to leave them. When one of the children had a problem, it became my problem. I would go home and worry about them, even cry for them. That job became my life. When it came to an end, even though we kept in touch and remained great friends, my heart broke. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of them. I have kept my relationship solely professional with my next two families. It doesn’t mean I don't care for the children, but I love them like a teacher loves her students.

Manhattan Nanny said...

Get a contract. It should include hours, salary, overtime rate, vacation, holidays, duties, required notice.
You are a household employee, and not a private contractor. That means on the books with the employer paying his share of taxes.
Don't be afraid to ask questions in the interview. What kind of activities will you be doing with the children? What are the parents ideas on discipline? You want information to decide if it is a good match. Then do a trial period.
As for the carrots, let them dip them in hummus or yogurt. :^)
Good Luck

nannytothree said...

Dealing with the kids is the easy part. The parents are going to cause you far more headaches!

utnanny said...

nannytothree, that may be the best quote about nannying i have ever heard!!!

*Melanie Raye* said...

Be really consistent about your expectations for acceptable behavior, and the subsequent consequences.

ericsmom said...

Binghamptonnanny great point.

Also be careful when families say "we want a nanny that will be part of the family". They are the ones that will try and take advantage of you. They will not look at you like a professional.

Fiona said...

That's the wonderful part of caring for kids there is no one size fits all formula. It's a lot of trial and error, learning on the job, and getting advice from various sources along the way.

My biggest tip is be honest with yourself. No your limits. Don't agree to tasks that will be too much for you to handle and leave you burnt out.

LAnanny said...

OP here, Thank you so much for all of advice! Everything everyone has said so far has been very helpful!

Mamabee said...

Hm. A few tips-

- Contract. You need it. They need it.
- ON THE BOOKS EMPLOYMENT ONLY. You need it, they need it.
- For getting kids to pick up/help out, make it fun. Do it with them, teach them how, set a good example. Always ask them if they want to be involved- the (almost) 3 year old boy I work with LOVES to help 'fold' laundry. He matches socks for me and his Mom. His baby sister (1) even gets in on the fun!
- Don't be impatient. Kids are slower than molasses, be prepared for that and plan accordingly. When we are going outside, I start getting ready WAY in advance. :P
- Figure out how your schedule works for you, and stick to it. I do laundry 1 hour after I arrive, and I do dishes in the last 30 minutes of my day. This gives me a lot more free time with the kids, and makes life easier for all of us!

If you need help, ask your boss how they do it- they may be able to best guide you to their child(ren)'s expectations as far as the schedule goes. Don't be afraid to ask how they put the baby to sleep; my MB was very upfront about singing and rocking the 1 year old before her nap to help her calm down. IT WORKS. I do it too now!

SLNanny said...

Everyone has given great advice. I second the contract etc. Just research what is the norm as much as you can so you go to interviews prepared. Many nannies get taken advantage of at first. Hopefully that won't happen but like a PP said, it's live and learn.