Tips for new nannies (from an expert nanny)

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A nanny holding the hand of a child as they walk through a sunlit, grassy field.

Are you considering a career as a private nanny?

There are fewer more rewarding jobs than caring for children. Working alongside parents, nannies have a direct hand in raising their charges from infancy through to early school days, seeing the fruits of their hard work as the children mature.

But make no mistake – it is hard work, and it takes a certain personality to be a great private nanny. We spoke to one of our most experienced private nannies about the lessons she learnt in her time caring for many children of different ages.

Read on for her invaluable insights into this challenging, but hugely fulfilling role.

Work with an agency

As a new nanny, signing up with a recruitment agency is a must. A nanny recruitment agency is a trusted source of job opportunities, and can protect you from unscrupulous employers.

Our expert observed, “I always tell them to go to an agency first” as it “allows you to feel safe” having a third party involved. An agency can be especially useful if you’re working abroad, as “you have a touch point back at home if something goes wrong”.

Keep a professional distance

It’s only natural to feel emotionally involved with the families you’re working for, especially if it’s a long-term arrangement. But, as our expert found out for herself, it’s important not to become so attached that the personal and professional boundaries blur. Her advice is to strive to be “a much valued, financially appreciated member of staff”.

Set boundaries and look after your health

Caring for children as a career can be a very intense experience and, as our expert notes, “even a low-key nanny job is still a 12-hour day”. Employers with busy lives will also often require last-minute cover or additional hours; she relates there have been many times when she has “had to tell a friend ‘I’m so sorry, I’m stuck at work’”.

To avoid this disruption to your personal life, be sure to talk with your employers before you start a new job. Set clear boundaries about the hours you work, and the overtime you’re willing to do.

Have an endless supply of activities

A lot of your time as a nanny will be spent keeping the children entertained. So, it’s important to always have something fun up your sleeve, no matter the situation: “typically what I do is an AM activity and PM, especially when children are still napping”.

It’s good to include both indoor and outdoor activities to best engage the children throughout the day: “The inward bound could be messy play or craft, outward bound would be National Trust property, things like that.”

Be nurturing

Being in close contact with children at such a formative time in their lives means you can have a huge and positive impact on their development. The activities you do and attitudes you instil in them can help create healthy, happy and curious children.

Our experienced nanny is a “big believer in time outdoors, time in nature” and reading: “children should read independently and also be read to”.

Talk with your family to determine what values they wish their children to take on as they grow, and always keep these in mind when planning how the children will spend their time with you.

If you’re a nanny and are ready to work with a new family, head to our jobs page to begin applying.

Author Meghan Chambers Tiger Recruitment Team

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