As children, we grew up watching movies where nannies had superpowers and a sharp instinct that allowed them to take care of children without breaking a sweat. Caregivers like Mary Poppins and Nanny McPhee taught us that a little goes a long way, and took us along on magical adventures full of mystery, dancing, and singing.
However, years later, Robin Williams broke the spell when he played Mrs. Doubtfire, a dad who went undercover as a nanny. He showed us that being an excellent nanny means a lot of hard work and perseverance.
If you’re thinking of starting a career in the childcare industry, you may have questions about the reality of working as a caregiver. We’ve listed down seven things most nannies wish they knew before taking a job as a caregiver in the industry. Enjoy!
1. Learn what you can about the family
During the interview, it is incredibly vital that you learn all you can about your potential employers. You should take the time to know how the family dynamics are at home, what their routine is, what they expect from you, and what they like to do.
Knowing this information helps you make sure that you and your work family are the perfect fit for each other. You can ask questions about the things that may become a big issue over time, such as what diet they follow, how they negotiate additional hours or sudden changes in your work schedule, and when you will be most likely to have a few days of vacation.
2. Learn what your responsibilities and day-to-day tasks are
Nannies, tutors, governesses, and other caregivers working in the childcare industry should take the time to ask their employers about their expectations and the needs they want to address day-to-day. This may include any sort of cleaning routine, the products you should use when making sure the home is spotless, and ingredients or brands they prefer to have in their pantry.
Both you and your employer should be clear about your job’s scope and any additional tasks that they may ask you to perform in the future.
3. Understand your role
You should always remember that babysitters are different from nannies and that nannies are different from governesses. Babysitters often focus on taking care of the children whenever the parents are out. However, nannies and governesses are responsible for nurturing children.
Much like parents, nannies and governesses are employed to teach children skills and lessons that they can later use in life. If you are confused about the job’s specifics, you can read more about the differences between working as a nanny, a governess, and a tutor here.
4. Correct mistakes in your pay cheque
If you’ve noticed that something does not add up or you have not been paid what you are owed, do not be afraid to ask your employers. Remember, your employers also get tired, which may mean that they sometimes unconsciously commit mistakes.
5. Remember that you are an employee
Many nannies find it hard to separate themselves from work, especially when they’ve spent countless hours with the children who may even, at times, mistakenly call them mum! Even if you are hired to take care of them 24/7, it does not mean that you can do certain things in ways that you think might be best for them.
Every decision you make should go through the parents. It would also mean that even if you don’t agree with some of the family traditions or parenting styles, you always have to defer big decisions to your employers.
6. You should have authority
When the parents are not around, nannies are the ones in charge. It is okay to say “no” when you think the actions are inappropriate. It is okay to let the children throw a fit. It is okay to play the “bad guy” for the children’s health and safety. Eventually, the kids and the parents will appreciate your efforts and come to understand that your actions come from a place of love and care.
7. Most importantly, make time for yourself
While the work can be demanding, you should always keep in mind that you are human too. As a human being, it is normal to want to have time for yourself and socialise with other people. Even if it is just a few hours, it can still give you the space you need to relax and keep yourself grounded.
Register as a job seeker with Jobs in Childcare to access the latest governess, nanny, and tutor vacancies across the world.
If you are an agency then sign up to post on Jobs in Childcare to connect with the best candidates worldwide!