It goes without saying that I love nannying. The reasons I enjoy working with kids could be a blog, and probably will be. Working with people in general is a pleasure, and working with families is even better. It’s fun to watch children learn and to foster that learning. Kids are creative, spirited, and engaging. I whole-heartedly recommend you working with them. Read on to know how you can be a good babysitter.
Be honest with yourself
You think you can be good at babysitting and you love kids? Go for it! Loving kids is definitely the major requirement criteria but you also need great patience, energy and a lot of kindness.
Start off with babysitting someone in your family in the presence of their parents. Learn the basics and then when you think you are ready you can start babysitting on your own.
Nannying is very competitive. You’ll need great qualifications to stand out. Families usually expect candidates to be CPR certified. Starting out as an LNA meant that my agency paid for my certification. I’m of the school of thought that families should pay for all CPR certification “renewals.” They do not technically expire. If you already work for a family and they ask you to seek further training, consider asking them to pay for it. (There’s some light controversy over what nannies should pay for themselves, so my word isn’t gospel.) But what do you do before you get a job? Use your best judgment when deciding what to pay for. Hold on to background checks that clients and job sites paid for themselves.
The more certifications and training, the better. Some take it a step further and get a master’s degree in early childhood education. If you adore nannying and want to grow in your career, that may be worth exploring down the line.
Here’s what you need: a clean background check, experience, good references, and CPR certification. In most cities, you’ll miss out on a lot of jobs without a car.
And, you don’t have to be female. There are lots of families who specifically want mannies. These jobs are often for multiple boys.
A common question I receive is whether or not LBGT+ people have any hope of becoming nannies. There absolutely is. I’ll tell you what you already know: job discrimination may be illegal, but it’s still practiced. You don’t have to mix work with your personal life for families to know your business. Some of them scour Google and social media for anything they can find. Worthwhile clients will embrace you for who you are. Not to mention, many parents are on the LGBT+ spectrum!
How do I get clients?
Reaching out to people you know can only do so much. There are a variety of sites to find new clients. A popular site is Care.com. It’s one of the few sites I know of that requires payment, but it’s worth it to make a profit. In addition to Care, I use Sittercity and industry Facebook groups. Sittercity is prone to spam, so use common sense when analyzing messages.
Agencies often post jobs on the sites listed above. Even if you don’t get that particular position, they’ll bring you on for future jobs. You can also apply to agencies directly. Using an agency adds an extra layer of protection to sitters. Families have to pay to use them, so you know they’re serious about finding the best care. You can also get professional help with contracts.
What is nannying and babysitting?
There are three ways one can define it. One is that a nanny is educated in childcare, while a babysitter is a casual supervisor. Another is that nannying is a full-time job or close to it, while babysitting is a few hours here and there at home. My definition of nannying is a job that has set days and hours per week, whereas babysitting is on-call. There have been weeks where one babysitting client would have me for several hours more than my part-time nannying client. Regardless of schedule, I’m a childcare specialist whether I’m called a “nanny” or “sitter,” and I bring that education with me wherever I go.
Using my definitions, which form of childcare is better for you? If you’re too green to get a nanny client, babysitting at home is a good choice. Same for those who prefer to set their own hours. If you travel a lot, book gigs in your spare time, or just want random weeks off, consider babysitting. There’s no obligation to take every booking. Many sitting clients book a lot of hours, so you’ll still have the opportunity to be a surrogate family member. Babysitting rates are sometimes higher than nannying rates, since families don’t need to guarantee a certain number of hours.
If you need a steady source of income, go with nannying. There won’t be stretches of time in which you don’t book work. You may receive some benefits too.Best of all, you may have an increased ability to form meaningful professional relationships.
As for me, I do a mix of both.
How to be a superlative nanny
Safety is #1. Empathy is also a necessity. Be constantly attentive to children’s needs. Engage them in activities. Be steadfast in performing every duty expected of you. These are just the basics.
Learn to cook a variety of meals that work for different diets, and exclude common allergens. You will often be asked about specific dishes you might prepare for children.
Become fluent in a foreign language by at least learning the spoken form. Bilingual nannies are perfect for bilingual children. Even if the family only speaks English, they may prefer a nanny who can tutor children in a foreign language. Spanish is a great one to learn, along with French, German and Chinese.
Keep up to date on the latest studies about child-rearing. Be knowledgeable about childhood development, as well as different parenting styles.
Continuing education classes never hurt! Thus concludes my advice for the aspiring nanny. I’d be glad to have a conversation or answer your questions. Feel free to drop a mail that is available in the contact us page.