Maybe you’ve got a friend who is a full-time nanny. Maybe you’ve thought to yourself “I like kids, I could totally be a nanny,” and now you’re looking for a job. Perhaps someone has suggested “You should totally be a nanny!” Whatever the case, nannying is a great job. Depending on the area you work, nannying may even be an excellent career path. But, before you dive in, we should see if nannying is really the right profession for you. Let’s start with the obvious…
Do You Like Kids?
You might be saying to yourself, “Duh! Otherwise I wouldn’t be looking to become a nanny.” However, it’s important to think about it realistically – the good, the bad, and the ugly. There is more ugly than you’d think. I’m not just talking about baby poop (which is horrible once they’re old enough to eat solid foods) or the fussiness from teething. As they get older, it doesn’t get better. Potty training can be a nightmare. As they take less naps, you’re in luck because they get even more sassy. Once the child is school-aged, they usually have a lot of things to say and only half of them are things they should.
If you say you like kids because you love watching your nieces and nephews, that doesn’t mean you should become a nanny. You will be dealing with kids in a different environment, with a different dynamic. You probably won’t be able to discipline these kids in the same way you do family, you won’t have the same natural love for them (it will be a love that you will develop over time – spending time with the kids and learning them). It’s very different. Being in someone else’s house, with different rules, and an unfamiliar kid. You will be doing it for work, which makes everything a little less enjoyable. So, there has to be a long-term view when it comes to how much you like kids.
Are you prepared to deal with all of that? Day in and day out, week after week, for years?
Sure, the benefits of working with kids are near endless, but professional childcare is not always playtime and cuddles. Just keep that in mind before you start.
What kind of nanny will you be?
Would you rather make a schedule and follow a routine, or be spontaneous and turn everything into a game? Would you rather make a lesson plan and use printable worksheets, or go for a hike and talk about all of the cool things you find along the way?
You should want, or at least be willing, to do all of it. Remember, nannying is not about you, it’s about the kids.
Schedules and routines are a must with kids of all ages. Routines are great for new mothers and big families alike. They help everything run smoothly and give the kids a sense of security. This doesn’t mean that you can never be spontaneous and fun. In fact, you should plan fun and “spontaneous” days into your kids’ schedules. (Nothing should be totally spontaneous because you should have a plan that you’ve already mentioned to the parents).
Part of a nanny’s job is to teach the kids. This is one of the biggest differences between a nanny and a babysitter. It starts with simple things like colors, numbers, letters. Those things are easily taught during tummy time or playing pretend. When teaching starts to get tough remember to make it fun!
- Going out for a walk and talking about the water cycle
- describe the way flowers reproduce
- or talking about anything else educational is a perfect way to help them learn about science from an early age.
- Math is best learned while baking! Not only will they have fun making and decorating cookies, but you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice their numbers.
Being fun-loving is an essential quality in a nanny.
Finding the balance between routines, rules, fun and learning is what make the best nannies. This is because parents will be looking for someone responsible that will take every opportunity to teach their child(ren) during those early years while still having fun! So, take it from me, be a bit of everything. Balance is key.
Extroverts & Introverts Can Be Nannies!
You may believe that only gregarious extroverts can work with children, but that is false. Both extroverts and introverts can be successful nannies, but each comes with their own set of challenges.
Are you more timid? You might find kids’ energy overwhelming. You might be nervous about promoting yourself and actually landing the job. Don’t let your nerves stop you! You can find kids out there who are just as introverted and chill as you are!
Will you go stir crazy? While being extroverted helps you get the job, you might get a bit restless if you end up with a baby who does little all day. Taking care of babies is fun and entertaining. It is a lot of routines and long naps. If not talking to another adult all day sounds boring, then opt to care for a toddler. They will keep you running around and are capable of holding imaginative conversations… for hours.
As long as you can be likable and assertive when necessary with the family, there are nanny jobs for all personality types.
Advocate for yourself.
As a nanny, you are your own boss! You have to be willing to stand up for yourself. Don’t be afraid of confrontation. You will have to be able to talk about the business aspects of the job without shrinking back. You should NOT be a pushover if you are thinking about becoming a nanny. You have to remember your self-worth and be confident!
You have to be personable and professional.
The amount of respect you get in the beginning will mainly be based on the way you carry yourself. The parents have to sense your confidence. That will reassure them of your knowledge and ability to do the job well. Being a nanny is a lot of responsibility. You will be starting your own business. Becoming your own boss will take guts. If this is what’s holding you back from nannying, perhaps look into developing this side of your personality before moving forward and, with my help, you will do great!
Are you Ready?
Are you ready to deal with the stinky, sticky kids? Are you ready for all of the ugly that comes with caring for kids all day? Are you ready to get on the teeter-totter of fun-loving buddy and rule enforcing grown-up? Are you ready to be your own boss?
Then, get ready for the fun that comes from those silly dress up parties. Get ready for the shrills that come from discovering something new and exciting everyday. Get out your planner and start scheduling in adventures. Put your big kid undies on and subscribe to my newsletter! I’ll teach you everything you need to know to be a successful nanny. You’ll land your first job in no time!