Entering the world of a childcare worker can be a daunting experience and starting off as a nanny can lead to an exciting long professional career and a very rewarding one, becoming a nanny or live in nanny can act as a stepping stone into other aspects of the childcare industry and caregiver jobs. Childcare can be so broad and cover a range of jobs; I have run through these in this article what are considered childcare jobs so you can get an idea of what else is out there.
So you want to become a nanny?
Are you going to be a live in nanny or live out?
Did you know you had the option? In my previous post the ins and outs of a live in nanny it covers what a live in nanny’s role is and all about Interview questions you might be asked, so be prepared, what is expected of you as a nanny and then I run through nanny salary and nanny tax. Read up on this article so you know where you stand. When starting off as a nanny be it full time or in a summer nanny job many of the responsibilities may seem similar to those of a babysitter, a nanny is a professional role and should not be taken lightly, doing so will make it hard to find and keep employment. Taking care and in some respect raising other people’s children is a privilege and a serious commitment.
So you are sure you want to be a nanny but not sure on how to become a nanny.
Perhaps you have finished college and realise that caring for children is your calling. You want to make yourself as employable as possible to forge a long professional career as a nanny. You could read blog after blog or website upon website trawling through information and resources to best ready yourself. Both boring and time consuming. There are no state, federal or set requirements regarding certification or licensing of nannies globally. Getting a degree or certification through a reputable organisation will demonstrate to any future employers/families that you have received professional training, proved your skills and knowledge and that you are serious about your job as a nanny. At the end of some courses you can come away with a fancy title like “Certified Professional Nanny”, you will be snapped up!
We have a 7 Step guide on how to become a nanny
Enrol in and pass nanny related training courses.
- Acquiring a certification from a recognised programme such as City & Guilds, Montessori, a university or nanny school is often part of what separates sought after nannies from those unable to find a full time position. Training is key to your professionalism. It gives you the confidence and skills you need to do the best job you can. If you are just starting out there are courses on home based childcare which will cover all aspects of a day in the life of a nanny.
Get childcare experience
- The more time under your belt working and being around children the better. Volunteering your time at pre-schools and elementary schools, government agencies, hospitals or the local children’s charities is a good way to hone your skills, both technical and personal. You’ll learn to communicate with children, develop the proper authoritative tone, and, perhaps most importantly, learn whether or not caring for children for several hours each day is really right for you. As you build experience you should collect references and letters of recommendation from the families or volunteer groups you work with. Having solid references and up-to-date contact information will make it easier for a family to verify a nanny’s experience and make one more employable.
Get certified in CPR and First Aid.
- Receive formal training and certification in both CPR and first aid before even applying for nanny positions. This is a signal to prospective families that you are serious about the safety of their children and that you did not make your decision to become a nanny on a whim. If you are living in a warm climate where beach or pool life is the norm you may also get a certification in water safety.
- Make yourself stand out and try and forge a niche aspect or market for yourself in the nanny circles so nanny services will be falling over you. What makes you special or different? Do you have an interest and knowledge with special needs children as a result of a sibling or previous babysitting position that gives you an edge? Are you multilingual or connect well with children from diverse backgrounds. Carve yourself out a niche which will help drive your nanny or live in nanny career and salary.
Learn to cook
- Working as a nanny and in particular a live in nanny involves preparing simple meals and snacks, so a basic knowledge of cooking is required to be a competent nanny. Know what kids like to eat and try and keep it healthy and nutritious. Have some of your signature dishes ready to if asked in your interview.
Pass a background check and screening
- The extent of a background check and screening varies depending on the type of nanny services you are using or course you are taking. But in general it includes a criminal history check to ensure that you haven’t committed a crime and verifying that you are not on the Child Abuse and Neglect registry or a sex offender registry. A background check may include health screenings that test for drug use and/or tuberculosis. A nanny training program or nanny agency may also verify your professional and personal references, your driving record, Social security check and your credit history.
- If you have all of the above in order you are more than ready to start searching for nanny jobs. Just because you can tick all the above off won’t mean that jobs will come easily or right away. You need to get out there and sell yourself, apply to families and Interview a job won’t come and find you.
- Be aware that nanny training courses vary in length so factor this in – some can take 3 months while others can last up to 18 months and can be done in the evenings when your duties are finished.
- Don’t be lonely – make some nanny friends quickly. Being a nanny at times can seem solitary, being with kids all day can be fun but you do need adult company and stimulation. You will learn a great deal form chatting to other nannies to develop your career. There are plenty of online nanny networks like nannyjob.co.uk – and also nanny network.
- Communicate with your employers. If they do something that upsets you, don’t hold it in. It is also common courtesy to always ask before doing something unexpected, such as bringing a guest over or changing anything in the pre-set schedule. Nannies need to have constant communication for a healthy on-going employer-nanny relationship.
- Remember to clean up after yourself and the children. Parents do not want to come home to messes, especially after a long day at work and isn’t that what they are paying you for in the first place!
- Get Insurance – Insurance is vital to protect you whilst you’re working as a nanny or even au pair nanny. No-one is immune to accidents, innocent events can be misinterpreted and employment situations can be complicated. When you’re insured you have access to legal advice and representation and, should you have to pay compensation because a child is injured whilst in your care, your insurance provider ensures that you aren’t personally liable. If you join a nanny association like bapn.org.uk or International Nanny Association, Insurance is covered or at least an option in your membership fee so look into it.
If you stick to a plan and have all the skill sets as outlined above you will be narrowing your search to how to become a nanny for a rich family in no time and will be snapped up. Try and carve out a niche market for yourself where you have stand out knowledge and experience and you won’t look back.
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