Working moms and dads know what a huge challenge finding quality childcare can present. Because each family’s situation is unique, every option comes with its own set of pros and cons. Figuring out all the pieces of that puzzle takes into consideration both parents’ schedules, desires and vision for what they seek in their child’s caretaker. Add to that a mix several unique human personalities and is it any wonder it’s so hard to find the right match?
In this post, I’d like to talk about in-home childcare, i.e. a great nanny or a manny (they are a rare sort but hey, we’ve got to give them a shoutout here. However, for the purposes of this post, let’s just assume it’s a ‘nanny’).
This subject is close to my heart because of my personal experiences working as a nanny back when I was in college. These days, I’m using all of that hard-earned knowledge and hands-on experience with my own baby boy, who, at the time of this writing, is about five months old. I must say that when I had Baby M, my transition into motherhood was so much easier because I had confidence in my ability to care for my newborn.
While I do wax nostalgic about those days, I’m not just relying on my own experiences. I’ve talked to and heard many stories and feedback from other parents who hire and routinely deal with nannies.
In this highly personal field of work, some skills and qualifications are an absolute must and are non-negotiable. Here are just a few examples of qualities every great nanny must possess:
– must enjoy being in the company of children
– have strong morals
– be reliable and responsible
– have tremendous stores of patience and energy
– ability to follow instructions
As a parent, when one entrusts their children to a nanny, they must to be 100% sure the kids will be safe and well taken care of. But they will have a ton of other worries on their minds. Will the nanny always show up on time? Will she be surfing the internet on her smart-phone when left unsupervised with the kids? Will she act in the best interest of the child? Will she take time to nurture their minds as well as keep them safe through daily activities?
Those and a myriad of similar questions run through a parent’s mind on a daily hourly basis. And that’s just the basic stuff!
If you are an aspiring nanny who wants to exceed parents’ basic expectations and become a superstar caretaker who’ll be an integral and irreplaceable part of that family’s life, here are the five additional qualities you should consider:
1. Become a great communicator
Communication is absolutely the key to creating a long-lasting and fulfilling relationship between you and the family you work for. A great communicator will have a tremendous ability to listen in addition to being capable of clearly conveying their thoughts, feelings or concerns.
2. Have excellent judgement and common sense
When the kids are in your care, you’ll be required to make decisions throughout the day. Coming up with creative ways of solving certain conflicts and dilemmas is a huge part of the job. This takes experience and a certain level of maturity.
Pretty much, if the job description could only consist of one word, this would be it. A great nanny can adapt to the ever-changing demands of childcare with ease, while keeping a positive attitude.
4. Be proactive
Nannies work without supervision most of the time, so being a self-starter is a huge plus. Whether it’s meeting children’s basic needs, safety, discipline or nurturing imaginations, a great nanny will anticipate rather than react. For example, while parents are the ones responsible for dictating a schedule and choosing activities for their children, a great nanny will always be on the lookout for ideas to enhance those children’s lives.
5. Have a thorough understanding of child development
This is really a huge bonus for parents. All those stages and phases must be supported with appropriate activities to stimulate a child’s development. A great nanny will understand the reasons behind a tantrum and know how to mitigate some of the potentially explosive situations and major meltdowns.
Can you think of other must-have skills or qualities that make a great nanny into a superstar? Share in the comments!