Qualities of Great Nannies and Au Pairs
If you have children, or know anyone who does, you probably know that deciding to leave your children in someone else's care is no easy task.
The specific needs of each family will vary. Some families may want their nanny or au pair to have a specific academic background or speak a foreign language to help the children learn. Others may look for a nanny or au pair that has similar religious beliefs to the family.
But there are a few things that absolutely every family is looking for in a nanny or au pair:
Good Job References
Good references are absolutely essential when you are applying for a nanny or au pair job. Would you trust your own children to someone who could not be recommended by their former employers or peers? Probably not. That means that you should be considerate of every person that you work for, and make sure that you leave all of your previous jobs on good terms. If you've never worked with children before, your references are still important! Any of your previous employers (even your supervisor at the supermarket) can comment on your dependability, punctuality and work ethic. However, if you are having trouble finding a nanny or au pair job because of a lack of experience, picking up a temporary babysitting job is a great way get some applicable references.
First Aid Skills
One of the best ways to get a leg up on the nanny and au pair competition is to become certified in first aid and CPR, particularly for children. These extra safeguards will look very attractive to parents and guardians (especially over-protective ones!) and are fairly easy to get. Both the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association offer classes in CPR and First Aid. Classes are typically easy to find and sign up for, and you can check both at the American Heart Association (americanheart.org) and American Red Cross (redcross.org). There are also a number of online alternatives to in-person classes, but the most universally recognized certification classes are those provided by the ARC and AHA.
Having similar beliefs as the family for which you work does not necessarily refer to beliefs of the religious or spiritual kind, but of beliefs around learning style and discipline. Families will want their nannies and au pairs to have the ability to carry out their wishes when that are not with the children, and that include using the same language and style as the parents when talking to the children.