Sunday, March 21, 2010

Starting Your New Gig

So you've landed it: the nanny job. You are now a family's official helper. There are many challenges that may come with starting your new position and here are some tips to ease you in.

Before becoming a nanny, I was teaching pre-k at a local institution. I found my clients, or, I should say, my clients found me first as their child's teacher. Soon after having them in my classes, they asked me to babysit. I developed a more personal relationship with them and when they asked me if I knew anybody interested in a nanny position it got me thinking. I said I would ask around and they gave me a description of their qualifications. It sounded so good, I couldn't refuse.
Since I already knew the family, it was a little easier for me to adjust to their routines. However, C was a little more challenging to level with. She was used to Mandy the fun babysitter--- not Mandy the nanny who takes her to school and gives her boundaries and is there all the time. This switch was complicated by her mother's recent travel arrangements, so there was a lot of change happening at once.
Dropping her off at school, picking her up from school, eating dinner, and taking a bath became frought with back-talk and tantrums. I was definitely not used to seeing this side of her. I chalked it up to her getting used to the situation, but after a few weeks, I decided to talk to her parents. They were glad I brought it up early on so that it wouldn't become a major issue.
Now, 2 months in, we are better than ever. But not without it's obstacles!
  • Addressing issues, big or small, is important. Don't be afraid to talk to the parents about anything you feel is becoming troublesome.
  • Make "special time". If you are taking care of more than one child, they each require individual attention. It doesn't need to be alone time, but something sepcific you and each child can do separately. It's important for them to feel like they are sharing something with you that's unique.
  • Stay calm. Getting emotional about the child's acting out or taking it personally will not do you any good. Even if they are laying down on the sidewalk throwing a loud fit (yes, this happened a few times), don't overreact. Let them be upset, but continue to talk to them in your normal, calm voice.
  • Plan a project. Having something the kids can do after school will help the transition from school to home be easier. Knowing there was something waiting for her at home made the walk less about being upset and more about being excited.

Good luck!

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