Starting a new job can be so exciting, especially if it’s one you know you’ll enjoy. When taking care of children, there are a lot of things to keep in mind that you may not even have thought of. When reading these tips, make sure you apply them appropriately, depending on the child’s age and maturity. As always, do what you think is best for yourself and the family you’re caring for. Here is some useful advice for new nannies and babysitters.
To care for a family properly, you need to know all of the most crucial information. This involves asking questions and actively listening to any instructions the parents give. Before your first day, you should know if there are any allergies you need to be aware of, the bedtimes, the meal times, the snack times, how much/if they are allowed to watch TV, whether or not you can take them outside, some of their favorite activities, and an abundance more about the child(ren) you’re overseeing. Not only will asking these questions make your life easier, but it will show the parents initiative and your concern to help them to the best of your abilities. This also falls within the lines of being prepared, which we will cover next.
As we stated, there are many things you may not think of before your first day. If you’re watching younger children, it’s a smart idea to keep an extra change of clothes in your car or in the bag you bring. Toddlers are always messy, and getting into something, and babies are very unpredictable. Save yourself the torture of having to wait until you get home to change out of your shirt with spit up on it. Also, you should always know what to do in an emergency situation. If someone has an allergic reaction, you should know how to use their EpiPen. It may be a good idea to take a course to learn CPR and the Heimlich maneuver, but if you’re unable, there are great tutorials to check out on YouTube where you can practice with a friend. Though they’re rare, it is vital to know precisely what to do if an emergency arises.
No matter if you’re caring for teens, children, toddlers, or babies, work can be hectic. It may make your life easier to set up a schedule for yourself throughout the day to ensure everything gets done. If the family asks you to do some laundry, wash bottles, or clean up a particular space, it’s best to do it during nap time. There are no distractions, and you don’t have to take your eye off of the child in the meantime. Abide by the parent’s schedule as well. They know what works best for their child, so follow what they put in place, and you’ll generally get the best results. By asking questions, you’ll understand precisely what you need to do and at what hour. If you know they’re coming home at a particular time, try to make sure the space is clean before they arrive. Sometimes when parents have stressful days at work, it is priceless to come home to a clean house and calm children. Time management will allow you to accomplish everything that needs to be done.
Not every day is going to be a calm, easy one. At times the baby won’t stop crying even though they’re fed and changed, toddlers will misbehave, and teens will shut themselves in their room without doing their homework. On these days, it’s important to stay calm and keep trying as best you can. Your first and foremost responsibility is ensuring the safety and health of who you’re caring for. As long as those two things are maintained, that day was a success.
Networking and marketing yourself is essential to find families to care for. Realistically, you only need to find one or two to work with at a time. There are many ways to do this while keeping your safety a priority. Put up fliers exemplifying your credentials at nearby libraries, place an ad in the local paper, and maybe ask your local school if they’d put your offer in their weekly newsletter email. Keep in mind, for the school to promote you, you’ll probably need to do a CORI check. Also, look at online resources like Care.com. They are an excellent service that connects nannies with families of differing needs. It is best to do a phone interview first before going to anyone’s house. If that goes well and you decide to meet, notify a friend or family member where you’re going. Meeting a family for the first time should never be scary, so when networking, always put your comfort level and safety first.