Succeeding as a Childcare Provider
You’ve got the nanny or au pair job, and now you’re ready to start working. What’s next?
Hopefully, you’ve gone over all of the expectations from the family, as well as from your agency if you have chosen to use one. You should review your contract and any supplemental documents that the family or agency may have provided. This might include the children’s daily schedule, driving routes to school, daycare or afterschool activities. If you haven’t received any of this information, you should make sure that you go over everything on your first day.
Even before your first day, it is important to have a list of possible activities for the children ready so that you can jump right in to caring for them and keeping them entertained. Bringing materials with you on your first day will impress the family, and having a variety of options will make you a hit with the kids.
The daily tasks from one nanny job or au pair position are different, making setting expectations is so important. It is ok to ask for clarification about certain things if you don’t understand them, or to be upfront about anything you are absolutely uncomfortable with. In your first few weeks, keep a notebook handy to jot down any questions or scenarios for which you need some additional guidance from the family.
Even with all of the expectations and rules laid out, there will still be many things to learn on your first few days as a nanny or au pair in a new home, or with a new family. Use any quiet moments to get comfortable with your surroundings, find out where supplies are kept, and locate the first aid kit and fire extinguisher. Make sure that you have an accessible list of emergency contact numbers, and program them into your cell phone.
Your first day will probably be your hardest, and you might make a few mistakes, like forgetting that little Bobby doesn’t like mustard, or not being able to find Mary’s favorite toy. Treat your early days (as well as the rest of your time with the family) as a learning experience. Try to absorb as much information about the children and parents as possible, while working out exactly what your place in the family will be. This will set you up for success in your nanny job down the road.