Hi nannies and parents! Nannies, I know sometimes it seems a lot can be expected of us when doing our job. It is a job that requires endless patience, dedication, and love. It does require hard work, but so do all jobs. With my 10 years of experience babysitting and nannying I came up with this list of 7 simple Do’s & Don’t’s of little things you can do (or not do) to stand out as a great nanny! Also, if you are a mom or dad looking for a nanny reading this list, you can use it as a list of things to expect from your nanny without feeling like you are asking too much of them. Also, if you already have a nanny you could use this as a little checklist to make sure they are at their best.
- Do the kids laundry. While it may not seem like a fun task to do even your own laundry, it is a helpful, easy to do, passive chore to do for the parents. I’m not saying you need to do the parents laundry but doing the kids once a week can really help the parents out. Throw the first load in the washer in the morning while you’re eating breakfast to get it all started. Then periodically switch the loads throughout the day, and by nap time or 3 o’clock you’ll be happily surprised to see everything has been done. Now all that’s left to do is fold (my last favorite part haha). I have found kids clothes are much quicker to fold then my adult ones so that makes it easier. Also, if your kids are old enough to help, get them to! Teaching them that helping around the house is going to be expected and appreciated is a necessary skill. After it’s all done do something fun together afterward, like have a snack or play hide and seek!
- Do the dishes. Personally I think nothing looks worse then having a parent come home to a sink full of dirty dishes. Loading the dishwasher with the dirty dishes once again is a chore that doesn’t take very long, yet goes a long way in making you look responsible and helpful as a nanny. If the family does not have a dishwasher then it does take a little more effort, but still not too much. Just try and make a habit to wash them right after the meal or when you use them, then leave them out to dry and keep going with your day! If the dishwasher is full, start it. When it’s done, put them away. Again if your little ones are old enough to help then have them help. If they are too young to handle breakables still put them away because you are modeling good behavior for them. If they ask why you can’t play with them for those 5-10 minutes explain to them that you are putting these away to help out mommy and daddy. That usually suffices as an explanation for them, and may inspire them to want to do more things to help mommy and daddy.
- Don’t leave your things lying around the house while you are there. It can come across as a little disrespectful. A coffee mug on the coffee table is one thing, but a coffee mug plus your books, sweater, purse, magazines, etc. in five different places is another. Try and find a corner or spot in the mudroom to keep your things contained. Obviously you are going to bring things with you to work, but just make sure it doesn’t add to the clutter. I find it easiest to bring a backpack (when I’m in school) or a bigger bag (in the summer) and fill it with my water bottle, books, computer, sweatshirt, and other various things. I definitely use everything in it from time to time throughout the day, but I just make sure to put whatever I’ve been using back in there once I’m done so it’s not out in their space. Then at the end of the day it’s easier to just grab your bag and head out quicker.
- Do pick up toys, kids clothes, blankets, and other things like that before you leave for the day. Try to make a habit of picking all that up before you leave the house to go anywhere. You never know when the parents might stop home. If they see a put together family room, that will leave a good impression; just like if they were to see a messy, dirty house in the middle of the day would leave a bad impression. Plus it helps you in the long run. Little messes to clean up every hour is much easier then one big pick up at the end of the day. Cleaning up is not my favorite task and usually is not the kids either. Try and make it fun by playing music or making it a competition to see who can pick up the most. Motivation like that can really help. Ruby and I play “The Happy Working Song” from Enchanted and dance and sing along while cleaning and then it no longer feels like a chore. I’m not saying you can’t leave out a toy or two you and the kids were planning on playing with when you get back, but do put away the ones you’ve already used. At the end of the day try not to leave the house any messier than you found it.
- Do update the parents at the end of the day on how the day went. They are going to want to know how the kids behaved, what you did, and any big development the kids made throughout the day. This is a way that can help keep the parents feel connected to the kids even if they are not with them everyday. I usually take about 10 minutes at the end of the day when the parents get home and fill them in. I let them know if someone had to go to timeout and why, or I let them know that one didn’t eat very much for lunch so a bigger dinner may be in order. If the children nap, definitely let them know how long it was for so they can have an idea about the kids mood and when bedtime should be. If you want to get creative you could even create a print out sheet to mark daily updates on them. (I will try and put one together over the weekend and upload it so you can print them off and try one with your family!)
- Don’t be constantly checking your phone. Remember even though their is no “boss” around the office usually, you are still at work. Constantly being on your phone is not only unprofessional, but can actually be dangerous. If you are checking you Instagram or texting your best friend, you are no long watching your little ones vigilantly and that’s when accidents happen. Sending a text to your mom, friend, or boyfriend every once and while throughout the day isn’t a big deal, but just make sure it doesn’t become one. Leave your phone to be used when the kids are at a class or napping. Little ones are very attentive these days and are aware when you are paying attention to your phone and not them. So put it down. Your tweet can wait. Go play, read, talk, and imagine with the cutie/s physically with you 🙂
- However do use your phone to get in contact with the parents. Especially when their kids are young or you are new to a family the parents usually like to be in the know. Send them a photo of their kids playing outside, doing their newest arts and crafts project, or simply just smiling. I have found it’s nice to let the parent’s know what you guys are up to today and that their kid/s are happy and okay. If you want even send them a video of their little one saying “I love you daddy!” or “I miss you mommy! Can’t wait to see you tonight.” Those will definitely go a long way in the minds of the parents. Every time I do this, it’s usually a hit and the parents love seeing their kiddos faces.
With all that said these are just general tips I try to follow and have found help me do my best at my job. I know there is no way I am going to be able to do the dishes perfectly everyday or keep the house perfect everyday, but it’s the effort and attempt that matters. There is no one perfect, right way to be a nanny. It requires a lot of attention and tweaks to find the right balance with the family you are with, but once you find that balance it’s a great thing. Also, these guidelines can play out a differently for each family you are with. The family may not want or need you to do their laundry, but it can’t hurt to ask or offer! All in all just keeping these little things in mind, and attempting to do a few when at work, can only help you stand out, in a good way!
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