How many times have you heard that when we love what we do, we don’t work a day in our lives and the days just fly by? However, it seems that when we start a new job the first few days can be challenging, long, and perhaps you even question your abilities a few times? When you start a new job as a nanny, your Nanny Kid (NK) may still not have a routine, appropriate behavior, and on top of that, they still don’t know you. Nervousness takes over, perhaps even the weight of such responsibility. I know that starting to raise someone’s child, who still doesn’t know you well, can actually give you butterflies in your stomach! So we will give you some tips on how to make the first few days lighter in your new job as a nanny.
1. Get to know better who you will be caring for
Ask the parents as many things as you can. Ask them to dedicate part of the day to show you around the house, where everything is – the clothes, food, play area, etc. Also ask about the rules, what children can or cannot do. If possible, ask to take a walk with you to get to become familiar with the neighborhood, and introduce you to other staff at the house, as well as neighbors. Enjoy this walk and share a little about yourself, what you like most about your profession, why you chose it, and what you do in your free time. Let the parents share as well, about themselves and their children.
2. Set up the nanny bag carefully
It is like an emergency kit, but, of course, a nanny’s bag is very different from a first aid bag. A nanny’s bag, in addition to having items such as diapers, diapers, extra clothes, also has items to amuse and entertain the baby, if you are out on a walk or the playground when you have to keep them entertained. Try to have educational toys that work on their development and use your imagination and creativity to prepare your nanny bag.
Here are a few additional things you should have in there:
- Toys with textures and geometric shapes;
- Small stuffed animals (it is not necessary to bring your favorite lovie!)
- A copy of the emergency contacts, also having information about the child, medical insurance, hospital/pediatrician to be taken in case of an emergency, etc.
- Snack + water, or appropriately insulated baby bottles with either formula or breastmilk
- Extra masks
- Hand sanitizer or wipes for children
- Extra set of clothes
The items in your bag will change according to your needs for that day or according to the child’s interest.
3. Don’t hold back the love
As in any profession, you will have to deal with good situations and others that are not so good. The most appropriate way and the one that will cause the least damage to your performance is to be extra patient, understanding, and not to be stressed or irritated by the situation when more challenging ones happen. I know it is easier said than done and when it happens, only those who are going through it know what we are talking about! But, the best way to deal with complicated situations is to not withhold the love and appreciation for the opportunity presented to you, for GROWTH!
If the child has a tantrum, handle it calmly but safely. Do not be irritated or altered – we know this won’t help and no parent wants to see anyone being irritated with their child. If, for example, the child drops something, talk to them, and ask them to help you catch it. “Uh-oh! It fell! Can you handle it back to me, please” It is necessary to understand that it is possible to educate and teach without being rude, mad, or intimidating. When the child is crying a lot, acknowledge their feelings first as their emotions are real – even if we can’t understand them. Then, if they continue longer, you can try to redirect them with other things, the games they like most, something that you know do them good.
If you are caring for a newborn, the first few months can be quite challenging. Watch the baby and watch for signs of colic, reflux, and gassiness. When you can identify the problem with so much crying, it becomes easier to deal with the situation and assure parents that these symptoms are very common in babies, and this knowledge will ease the parents as well.
4. Be open and accept feedback
Accept suggestions from parents and the child themselves, notice their behavior. I know that you studied hard, you’ve taken the classes, the training, have lots of experience, and know what to do, but you have to respect the preferences of each family. Listen to what they have to say to you, if it is not something that will help, then yes, it is worth explaining why that may not be the ideal approach to that particular situation. But be open to suggestions, let parents know they are always welcome. The truth is that listening to what parents and children have to say, will also strengthen your relationship, as they will feel welcomed and see that they have a caring, trusting friend, as well as a professional. I usually say that it does not matter I have twenty years of experience, or two master’s degree because, in the end, the parenting journey is still the parents’. There is not just one right way to raise children, so it is up to me to know how to work with the parents’ wishes, as long as it is the best for the child and does not present risks or harm.
5. Be flexible
Be flexible about changing set habits and schedules. We know that like any professional, you have to organize yourself, but it is important to understand that changes are inevitable, especially at the moment we are living. They will happen at some point. Talk to the parents and always have a trial period for adaptation until everything goes well. Even when you come in with all of your expertise, you still need to learn about that particular family, their children, and their family dynamic, therefore, there is still much learning and changes involved.
Following these tips, you will see that, as the days go by, your new routine will be established, work will be something much lighter and you will feel more relaxed and joyful in taking care of your little one.