Essential Nanny Skills part 1 of 2. Two Essential nanny skills

I’d be lying if I said my job is easy. But you don’t need formal education. When you think about it, you are essentially becoming a parent. So, you do what most new parents do: 

  • read loads of books
  • watch hours of Youtube
  • skim blogs

and, when in doubt, google it or call someone more experienced for help

As a nanny there are some basic skills you need to have. No matter what age you want to work with, you’ll need to know these two basic skills!

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1. CPR / First-Aid 

It’s my opinion that… 

everyone in the world should be CPR & First Aid certified. 

I 100% say that anyone looking to become a nanny should have these safety certifications. You can get both of them oh so simply 😉 

Red Cross is my favorite CPR & First Aid class to take. I like them because they are well known and trusted. They also have classes at regular intervals, so you never have to wait long to get into one. The classes are only one day – usually 9:00 – 15:30. They charge about $115.00, which you can count as a business expense when filing your taxes, to be certified for adults and infants. 

Trust me, it’s worth it! 

There aren’t many families out there willing to hire a nanny without these credentials. The idea of watching a child in your care choking or without an air supply to their brain without a way to help them would be awful! There are other programs that I’m sure are cheaper. My only warning about them would be to make sure it’s not online only. If you are certified linked here is a CPR pin you can attach to your nanny bag!

Hands-on will better prepare you for a real life situation. 

Red Cross does offer the course I mentioned above with part of it online, which drops the cost down to $97.00. Those classes only have 1.5 hour sessions. This is my recommendation for those who have been certified before. 

Red Cross Adult & Pediatric CPR/AED & First Aid Certification is valid for two years. If you make sure to sign up for a class before your certification expires, there are plenty of renewal websites.

The American Red Cross offers simple, fast, and easy CPR and First Aid training and certification.

There are also some free options. Sometimes your local fire department will have a free class that includes everything Red Cross does. You may also be able to find a free CPR & First Aid Course given in the community for babysitters in the summer. Those may be led by Red Cross and are usually held in a school gym.

Google it!

I’m sure you can find something free or cheap in your local area. However you end up getting certified remember to keep these updated to be a coveted nanny!

2. Driving

I understand there are girls just starting out their nanny career that aren’t yet old enough to drive. If your family is comfortable with that, that’s great for you as a young nanny. However, I think that… 

every nanny needs to know how to drive and have the means to do so. 

I say this for safety. In case of an emergency, you could call an ambulance, but if you can drive, you could possibly get there faster. 

Driving is a typical job requirement

Most families want you to have a car because their kid will need someone to take them to school. They may want you to take the kids on outings: 

  • the zoo
  • a park
  • a museum 

These are awesome opportunities. If you live in an area with fantastic public transportation, then you may be able to use that just fine. However, if you live anywhere, basically outside of Europe, then you should have a car. 

Driving also affords you more freedom when you travel with children. 

For example, I like to drive to the park with the baby, rather than walk. There isn’t anything wrong with walking and sometimes it seems like a good idea. Then, I think about the tantrum he starts to have when he gets sleepy. I also consider the fact that I don’t want to carry a hiking pack sized bag to go on an outing. After contemplating the “what-ifs”, I like to throw everything in the back seat of a car and go. I also love how easy it is to open my hatch and change his diaper in the spaciousness of my trunk. That way I don’t have to rely on whatever gross bathroom that’s near the park.

Check out this list of fun outing ideas to take your kiddo on.

Age specific skills

Now, in addition to these two skills that you need to know, there are also specific, necessary skills which are dependent on the age of the kid. My age groupings may seem a bit backwards. That’s because they are. These are the age groups that nannies should start with from easiest to hardest. Most people that contact me looking to become a nanny think of starting with babies because they think they are the easiest.


Babies often follow a highly ridgid schedule, are far more vulnerable to hazards and illness, and have no way of communication other than crying. 

To care for a baby, you have to be intuitive.

You also have to be pretty confident in yourself because you won’t be able to ask them what they think of something you’re doing. I think it’s easier to start with an age of kids that already have a voice. Kids 4-13 years old already have an idea of what they need, like, don’t like and have the ability to communicate those clearly, so start there. 

Take a look at how you as the nanny can communicate with the kids here.

So far we’ve covered: 

  • the necessity of getting CPR and First-Aid training and certification
    • where we can get a quality CPR and First-Aid education
    • how much CPR and First-Aid certification costs
  • the importance of having the ability and means to drive as a nanny, including many situations in which driving would be necessary:
    • fun outings
    • emergency situations
    • general convenience 


  • why caring for children of different ages require completely different sets of skills. 

We’re not going to dive into these differences today. Next Friday’s article will give you the top skill for each age. See you then!

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