As a Classic Nanny, care and safety of the children is your primary responsibility. From safety to stimulation, manners to mud pies, you are responsible for it all! Your family is trusting you to be there for them and they are trusting that you are going to give your all during your working hours. Following are additional suggestions that will enable you to be a Superstar Nanny:
Avoid last minute cancellations- The family is depending on you. If you cancel, the parents must cancel and rearrange their plans.
Limit personal time- This is your work and therefore your personal needs must be conducted during off work hours. Scheduling appointments, running errands, etc is not to be included in your work day.
Arrive prepared for the day- Kids need to be active and get outdoors. Kids get dirty. Kids require lifting, pushing and similar physical activities. Come dressed in clothes that are going to allow you to do your best with your family. Wear comfortable shoes; bundle up for outdoor activities; wear white for mudpies only if you plan to use bleach!
Plan for transition time at the end of the day- Parents need a few minutes to unwind, change clothes, etc. Sometimes parents are at home while you are still on the clock. Don’t dismiss your duties just because another adult is home. Your role as the nanny continues regardless of whom else is home.
Do not talk about inappropriate subjects with children- Be sensible about topics of conversations. Use appropriate language at all times. Don’t discuss parties, adult habits, tv shows, scary books, etc when the children are present. Little ears have big memories. Pre teen and teen ears have big memories and are very inquisitive. Remember a family’s faith is a very personal thing and discussions should respectfully be directed to the parents.
Be proactive. Use your resources. Bring something new into the house for activities, expanding growth. – Parents are happy to have new activities introduced to their children, as long as they are appropriate. Try new things and activities. The internet is filled with resources. Something new makes the day go faster and brings you closer to the children. Celebrate new accomplishments, hang art work on the walls to admire, have a special surprise awaiting the parents to showcase what you and the children have done. Don’t forget that children can join in on tasks as well – make sorting the socks from the laundry a game, set a timer to clean up the playroom, etc. Play hard and work hard!
Get involved in the games- Watching, instead of participating is a common complaint of parents and one easily remedied. Don’t watch the kids play t-ball, get in there and swing as well. Swing, slide, draw with chalk. Talk to the children and ask them questions, ask them to describe their activities and you then describe yours. Tell them about the time you kicked the winning goal when you were young.
Do not bring friends or meet friends on the family’s time. – Unless approved in advance, you are never to bring your friends or family into your nanny family’s home. No exceptions.
Limit cell phone use. Cell phone conversations distract you from the children in your care and just a few moments of distraction can lead to disaster. Have it with you for emergencies, not socialization. Turn phone off when working and check for messages during children’s nap time.
Be aware of food safety. Know what is appropriate for children to eat at various ages and ask the family and research the internet. Remember, safety is paramount.
Give specific feedback or updates on the day. Each day, be prepared to give 2-3 specific updates about the day. Touch on the little things, too. This is also an appropriate time to address bad behavior.
Do the Dishes. Unwashed dishes are the number one complaint of families. There is nothing worse than walking into your house and seeing a pile of dishes. Help out and make the parents reentry into the home pleasurable.
Clean up as you go. Enlist the kids support. Make a quick sweep through the major play areas and help put things back in a tidy manner. Five minutes of work makes a positive impression. While the children are napping is a great time to get something organized and help out. Empty the trash cans, empty the diaper pails, put in a load of laundry and water the plants. Even if the mess isn’t yours, your role with the family is to help out, however and whenever possible.
Take notes, reconfirm conversations, repeat back. This goes for child care and house care; make sure that your family only needs to give directions once and, if you are not clear on the expectation that first time, you ask clarifying questions.
Do more than the minimum… take initiative, make positive suggestions. For example, if you take the child to violin lessons every Tuesday for one hour and you don’t need to stay, ask if there are errands you could run for the family during this time. If there is regular down time, ask the parents what they would like you to do. Often they say this is your time, many times they are so relieved you asked, are happy to give you a task or two and their opinion of you goes way, way up! Communication is the key to a successful relationship!
What else can you do to be a Superstar Nanny? What are the little things that are day brighteners for you? Do that for someone else!