What To Look For In A Nanny Family
December 3, 2012 | in Nanny Tips
Finding the right family to work for isn’t a small task for a nanny to accomplish. It requires looking at several different factors that contribute to making a potential job a successful fit. Make sure you cover the basic questions below as you begin your search and you’ll be well on your way to finding a family to work for long-term and creating a successful relationship with them.
Does the family live in an accessible area? If you use public transportation to get to and from work, it’s essential that your employer’s home is not only close to a bus or train stop, but also that the bus or train can get you there on time in the morning. Some families need you to start before you’re able to make it to work using public transportation.
If you drive to and from work, make sure you know how long it will take you in traffic to commute. In many areas, traffic can add an hour or more to a one way commute, which significantly lengthens your workday. If you start early or work late, you may avoid either the morning or evening rush hour, so make sure you take your daily schedule into consideration when deciding on what area works best for you. Remember, a long commute also means a hefty gas bill. Nannies are reimbursed for the miles they drive on the job, but not for the miles they drive to and from work. If you’re considering working in a city, be sure that your employer has ample parking for your vehicle.
Do the parents’ expectations line up with what I like to do and what I’m good at? Most nanny jobs require the nanny to do all or most of the tasks related to the care of the child. That includes things like preparing meals for the child, the child’s laundry, keeping the kid areas like the playroom and bedrooms clean, rotating seasonal clothes, and disinfecting toys. Some parents want the nanny to do additional family-related tasks (e.g. family laundry, cooking family meals), light housekeeping tasks (e.g. vacuuming, changing sheets) or household management tasks (coordinating with workmen, supervising the housekeeper). Make sure you’re comfortable taking on the responsibilities the parents ask of you; otherwise you’ll come to resent them over time.
Also make sure you have the skills needed to get the job done well. If the family wants a nanny to cook a family meal three times a week and you can barely boil water, it’s not a good match. If the family wants the nanny to oversee the housekeeper and you hate offering constructive criticism or find it next to impossible to deal with conflict, it’s not a good fit.
Does the parents’ discipline philosophy match up with mine? Kids do best when all the adults in their lives are on the same page around expected behavior and discipline. Make sure you and the parents agree on what things are important to teach the child and what’s acceptable and not acceptable in regard to behavior and consequences. No two people, even the parents, agree on everything and that’s fine. Your approaches don’t have to be identical to be effective. However you do need to have similar approaches and have the same priorities, otherwise there will be ongoing tension between you and the parents over discipline issues.
Do the parents support my nanny style? Every nanny has her own style or things she needs and wants from a job.
Some nannies like to get out of the house every day to spend the afternoon at the playground, attend a music class, or take a field trip with the local nanny group. Other nannies are happy to hang out at the house, never venturing out with their charges. Some nannies need to work in a very clean, organized home and can’t function if things are out of place or piled up. Other nannies don’t care how the parents keep the house. Some nannies believe children should only eat organic, healthy meals and snacks. Other nannies are happy feeding their charges frozen and boxed food at every meal.
Whatever your particular needs are, find a family that supports them. Working with a family that has opposite ideas about things that are important to you won’t work for very long.
Are they offering a salary and benefit package I’m comfortable with? No matter how great a family is in other areas, if they aren’t able or willing to pay you a living wage or offer the benefits you need, it’s not a good match.
By knowing what’s important to you and asking the right questions during the interview, you can find a family that’s a great match to your needs. Taking the time to find the right family will help you be successful in the position and stay long-term. That’s a win for everyone involved.← Skills Every Nanny Should Have | What to Do When You Find Your Nanny Job Listed Online →
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