According to the team at RockMyBaby in London, more Brits than ever before are diving head first in the field of providing nanny services for other UK families. As the pace of life continually accelerates, demand for quality nannies is exploding like never before.
For those who measure up to the mark and make all the right moves, the nanny career path can be one that’s uniquely rewarding and incredibly enjoyable. However, there will always be those who fall at the first hurdle having taken a few too many things for granted and expected an easy ride of things.
So for those who are just getting started and would indeed like the very best start possible, here’s a roundup of ten of the most important guidelines any nanny could benefit from heeding:
1 – Wait For the Perfect Job
First and foremost, your instincts will tell you to dive into the first paying nanny job that comes along…which generally tends to be a terrible idea. Even if it means holding out a little longer, you should only ever accept a job that’s 100% up your street and ticks all the right boxes. After all, you can’t be a great nanny if you’re not a happy and content nanny.
2 – Insist On a Contract
You don’t necessarily need to have any kind of time commitment set in stone – one year, six months etc. – but what you do need without any exception is a contract that lists what’s expected of you and what you’ll get in return. Never, under any circumstances begin work without a contract signed by both parties.
3 – Understand Your Rights
Think nanny jobs are a bit like higher-end casual babysitting? Nothing of the sort – the Fair Labour Standards Act covers all nannies across the board just as it does all other workers across the UK. This means that from overtime pay to minimum wage and so on and so forth, you must be treated just as fairly as any worker in any other capacity.
4 – Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
You’ll of course want to please the family you work for and do what you can to help, but at the same time you need to know where, when and how to draw the line and say no. It’s unlikely you’ll be asked to do anything unreasonable, but if it’s not in your contract, you don’t have to do it.
5 – Look After Your Health
This includes your physical and mental health across the board – both of which depend on things like a healthy social life, plenty of exercise, good sleeping patterns and a sensible diet. With any pieces of the puzzle missing, you’re in trouble.
6 – Work/Life Barriers
Always do your best to keep at least a very fine line between your working life and your private life. It’s when the two become far too intermixed that it becomes extremely difficult to both do your job properly and take the essential time you need to dedicate to yourself.
7 – Communicate Well
To be a good nanny you need to be a great communicator. And as you haven’t been blessed with the memory of an elephant, you’ll need to make sure you keep a lot of notes throughout the day. Not only do you need to report back to the family on a frequent basis, but they might have questions for you that you’ll only be able to answer with a journal or notebook.
8 – Pure Professionalism
No matter how close you become with the family, there’s no excuse for letting professionalism begin to slip. You might have a great bond with them, but this doesn’t mean you can and should get away with leaving early, turning up late or generally not going about your duties like a committed professional.
9 – Positivity
There’s really nothing in the world more depressing that having to live and work with a nanny whose face is like a wet weekend, day in and day out. Just as would be the case in any other service job, you have to leave your problems at the door and pick them up again when you leave. If you can’t be a beacon of positivity, they’ll find a nanny who can.
10 – Establish Disciplinary Rules
Last but not least, there will be a great many times during the course of your work when it’s necessary to enforce discipline following incidents of bad behaviour from the kids. In order to ensure you not only do a good job but stay on the family’s good side, you need to get specific instructions of how the parents would like discipline to be enforced and to never, ever go beyond their boundaries or instructions. If you make it up or follow your own rules, you won’t get far or last long.