Become A Nanny
For individuals who enjoy being around children, becoming a nanny may seem like a wonderful career choice. But becoming a nanny requires more than a love for children.
Nannies are childcare specialists who are employed by parents to care for the family’s children in their private homes. Nannies play an important role in the lives of the children for whom they care for and the parents for whom they work. Nannies not only serve as one of the child’s primary caregivers, they serve as a trusted companion, role model and teacher.
Since full-time nannies typically work 40 to 60 hours per week, nannies must have a general knowledge of child development and an understanding of the best child care practices. Nannies generally work unsupervised, and as such they must be trustworthy, honest, self-motivated and able to work long hours without other adult companions. Parents rely on their nannies so that they can fulfill their personal, professional and social commitments. For this reason, nannies must be dependable and reliable, as well.
For individuals who choose to become nanny, they choose a career that can be extremely rewarding personally, financially and professionally. Because of the level of customized, personalized and individualized care nannies provide, they have the opportunity to make an enormous difference in the lives of the children they care for. Unlike daycare workers and other child care workers who earn only slightly higher than minimum wage, nannies are the highest paid child care workers. In fact, experienced nannies often out earn early childhood educators and classroom teachers. Professionally speaking, nannies have access to a variety of different specialty job opportunities, some which require extensive travel, household management responsibilities and even homeschooling.
For those who want to become a nanny, gaining practical, hands-on childcare experience is essential. Most parents and nanny placement agencies require that nannies have at least two years of previous documented childcare experience. For nanny candidates without vast experience, working in a daycare setting, volunteering in a church nursery and babysitting for a variety of families provide opportunities to gain practical experience.
Nannies must also have at least a high school diploma, excellent references, be in good health and be at least 18 years of age. Nannies should also have current CPR and first aid certification.
10 Lessons Parents Learn from Nannies
Nannies not only teach the children in their care, they often teach the parents too. Since many nannies have several more years of childcare experience than their employers, parents often welcome to the opportunity to learn childcare tips and techniques from their nannies.
Some of the lessons parents commonly learn from their nannies include:
- Structure is Everything – A consistent schedule is very important to children, as it provides a sense of safety and security. Nannies know that having a reliable routine can help prevent many common behavioral issues.
- The Best Laid Plans Can Fall Apart – Though a structured routine is imperative, plans can quickly change when there are children involved. Nannies often teach parents to go with the flow, instead of struggling to maintain a schedule that has fallen apart.
- Never Be Swayed By a Tantrum – When a child starts to scream, it can be tempting to give in to their demands to stop a tantrum in its tracks. While it might be effective in the short term, children will quickly learn that this behavior is effective, and it’ll make the habit even harder to break.
- Yelling is Counter-Productive – Good nannies seem to be able to handle any crisis without ever raising their voice. Seasoned nannies model how to manage most any situation in a calm, but firm manner.
- Positive Reinforcement Works – Whether it’s a chart with stickers or a few extra minutes of television time, children with an incentive to behave usually do.
- Bored Kids Are Likely to Cause Trouble – Most any nanny will agree that boredom is one of the biggest contributors to mischief. Keeping children engaged is one of the best ways to avoid bad behavior.
- Repetition is Key – When charges are small, nannies will repeat phrases and questions several times throughout the day; children need to hear things several times before they are really able to absorb the information.
- Outings Are Worth the Effort – Parents usually balk at the idea of loading up the children and heading out for the day, but nannies seem to handle outings with ease. That’s because they’ve learned that the payoff is well worth the effort; children learn by experiencing and interacting with their world.
- Boundaries Must Be Clear – Children who aren’t sure of the boundaries can’t be blamed when they cross them. As such, children who don’t understand the expectations can’t live up to them.
- Getting Dirty is Half the Fun – It’s not unusual to come home to a disheveled, paint-spattered nanny with grass stains on her clothes and a twinkle in her eye. Nannies who aren’t afraid to get dirty are usually the ones with the happiest charges, and the same holds true for parents who will let down their hair to enjoy time with the kids.
It can be difficult for some parents to acknowledge that their nannies may know more about parenting than they do, but embracing that idea can create opportunities for parents and nannies to work together to find the best strategies and parenting solutions for the children.