If you’ve chosen to be a nanny as your profession, you will know that it can take time and persistence to find a long-term position that’s the right fit for both you and a family. I’ve been a professional nanny for over 23 years, and I want to share with you how to find your ideal roles and help the families understand how you are ideally suited to working for them.
In this article I’m going to highlight the importance of knowing what you want and explore the qualities that will help you stand out from other nannies. In my next article you will learn how to communicate these qualities so your ideal family will choose you.
The first step starts with you. In order to find your ideal position, you must first understand what your “ideal” position is. That means knowing your values and who you are. Let me share with you how I’ve defined my values and who I am. I am a professional nanny, and I value a holistic approach to a child’s care and development. I want to work together with families, so that both children and adults can learn and grow with each other.
Having this clarity has allowed me to easily identify opportunities that suit me, and also screen jobs that I know aren’t a good match. Every nanny is different, and knowing what makes you different will really help you in your search to find a position that aligns with everyone involved – especially you.
Once you understand who you are and the positions you’d like, you need to have the qualities to fulfil that position, and also stand out from other nannies who may apply. There are five qualities that will help you stand out; your passion, your personality, your philosophy, your training and your experience.
Let’s start with your passion! This quality most closely aligns with who you are and what drives you to be a professional nanny. What is it that you love about your job? What gives you joy when caring for children? Do you love having fun with children and hearing their laughter? Or is your passion their development and growth? Do you love engaging on their level and seeing the world through their eyes? You can set yourself apart from other nannies by knowing what gets you out of bed for this profession you love.
Next we have your personality, which involves knowing how you interact with others. Are you full of energy and love getting outdoors with children? Do you have wonderful patience and enjoy providing space for children to explore things that inspire them? Are you more structured with routine or do you enjoy more spontaneous elements during the day? Do you connect more on an emotional level, or do you like to be more practical? A family may have a young child that is quiet and enjoys freedom to explore. Or a child may have boundless energy and want constant engagement. Every child is unique and special, so understanding your personality and being able to communicate that to families is important to stand out from other nannies.
Following on from personality we have philosophy. What do you stand for with the care of children? Are there philosophies you use with child development? Basically, what do you believe is important to raise children and what principles do you apply? These philosophies could be Steiner, Montessori, or mainstream education to name a few. Parents will have their own philosophies to childcare, so it’s important to understand what you stand for with child development. If you’re new to nannying and are not familiar with these philosophies, it’s important that your philosophy simply conveys to parents what caring for children means to you.
When it comes to Training, the more qualifications you have, the more specialised care you can provide and the more you will stand out from other nannies. All nannies must have First Aid and CPR Training. Most professional nannies will have a Diploma of Early Childhood Education, and a minimal requirement should be a Cert IV in Children’s Services.
To set yourself apart you will need to explore specialised courses. This could involve child development, or sleep, or nutrition, or newborn care – there are so many options to explore. If you invest in extra training, it may not mean you will be paid a higher wage, but it will mean that you will be a preferred candidate during interviews.
And finally we have experience, which is the quality that takes the most time to acquire. As a professional nanny of over 23 years, I have the confidence to walk into any family and know the value I can provide. For nannies that are starting out, it will take you some time to gain this confidence. If you haven’t got a lot of experience as a nanny, you can still stand out by demonstrating your worth to families through examples of relevant experience. Maybe you were a babysitter during high school? Or you have younger relatives that you care for?
During interviews, if a parent asks about your experience in a particular area and you don’t have examples, be honest. Say that you don’t have experience, and if you’re genuinely interested in gaining more qualifications you should explore that with the parents together. Remember, you are both looking for the right fit, so being open and honest will ensure you can both make a decision that’s beneficial.
These elements will help you stand out from other nannies and get parents to notice you. If you want the perfect family to choose you, then click here to read my follow-up article.