1.) Applying for Jobs
I personally have used care.com for any child care and tutoring jobs. This site is very user friendly for nannies to apply to many jobs and hear back from parents quickly, however the parents usually have a hard time with the website. There are many other apps to choose from! Look at reviews and ask around. Select jobs with a schedule that you will be available for and read the job descriptions completely.
2.) Make Your Profile Stick Out
Parents are more nervous than you and simply have more on the line because they are the ones putting their children in the care of a stranger. So, remember that when you write your profile to be comforting and honest! Explain what is important to you, how you would care for their kids, what makes you a good nanny?
Of course, talk about your experience and education. Parents want nannies with experience, success, and most importantly common sense. High light your best personal features in your bio!
Make sure your profile picture is clear, bright, classy, and happy! They aren’t hiring you because you look sexy or stylish (if they do… then good luck, Charlie). They want you to look stable and dependable!
3.) Your First Interview
Is this the right job for me?
Do you have the ability to care for the amount of children they have, provide transportation, and cook meals if that’s what the parents need?
Where are you meeting?
I have had parent meet ups at lots of places, but the most common and promising is meeting at Starbucks! Interviews only take about 20 minutes from start to finish, so having a cup of coffee and chatting is a great first meeting. It is a very good sign if they ask to buy you a coffee, if they don’t offer that’s a red flag!
Speaking of that….
I’ve also had an interview at a taco bell where the lady was feasting during the entire interview and asked, “what you aren’t going to get anything?” which was not her offering to pay. I’ll have to write a whole entire article on that lady because of how horrible it went when I worked for her. Real talk, the lady was a witch and wanted me to watch her kid while she did rituals in the woods at night!! Um no thanks!!
How many nannies have they had recently? Why?
Try to clarify if it was an issue on their end or the other nannies. If it was the other nannies, remember what they did wrong that the parent didn’t like, so you don’t do that same thing!!
Do their kids like to do what I like to do?
What movies, games, or sports are they into right now? Do they like arts and crafts? What do you two have in common that you can bond over?
One girl I nannied was super into the British Bake Off with my beloved Mary Berry, so we would binge watch that all day and do crafts!
Remember, you do not have to accept every job you get or the first interview you have! You can always be graceful and professional and tell them, “I have a few more interviews at the moment, but I will be in touch with you by ___.” If you do not want the job, just shoot them a message thanking them for their time and letting them know you found something a little better for your schedule, etc.
4.) Knowing Your Worth
Never ever ever ever agree to a salary. No matter how promising you thing it is, don’t agree to it. Always go hourly because parents (who can only afford the amount they want to pay you) will use salary as an excuse to have you for longer than they can afford. For example if a parent says “I need you 3 times a week for 3 hours a day for a flat fee of $30 a day.” Sounds fair at $10 an hour, but that’s just not how it’s going to be. Parents in this situation will try to push it by making you either do a ton in those 3 hours, so asking you to stay longer or pulling you in on more days than they said and NOT paying you extra because you are salary. DON’T fall for that. I understand that it’s difficult because you bond with the child and want to do good for them, but it’s NOT YOU who is in the wrong. If you for some reason get a salary job, track your hours using an app and figure out just how much you get an hour.
For example, I had a job one summer where I watched a kid while her mom worked a evening/night shift. I would get in to work in the afternoon and stay until about 2am (I would sleep on the couch). I would only be needed about 3 times a week and would get paid $150 a week. Not bad considering I would be asleep for a few hours of it.
It turned into 6 days a week from 2pm-6am!!! The mom would get off work and go have drinks and breakfast with her coworkers while I was still there. Not to mention her daughter had very bad behavior problems and would hit me and climb me!!! She was 9 or 10 years old, but she was about as tall as I am. I’m only 5’3 and I am disabled from my severe scoliosis and many surgeries, so being climbed on is a big no from me. Additionally, she would cry every night for her mom and refuse to go to bed or obey me in any kind of way. It drove me absolutely insane.
Let’s do math!
2pm-6am = 16 hours a day X 6 days a week = 96 Hours a WEEK
$150 a week / 96 hours = $1.56 an hour
That is why I quit. Don’t let that be you.
5.) Getting Paid Legally and Fairly
I don’t recommend using the payment system through care.com because it charges the parents $20 each time to even use it!! That’s not fair to them. I use PayPal because it is so easy for everyone involved. I can send them my link or request money from them directly on the app! It tracks everything, so you can add up your income for taxes if need be (Remember, you do not need to report any of your income for taxes if you make less than 20K a year from this). PayPal has some great options for getting your money quick! For a 1% fee you can have your money in your bank account within 40 minutes! If you don’t want to pay a fee you can set up direct deposit or get a PayPal Cash Card!
6.) Meeting the Kids
They will be shy and so will you, but you’re the adult. Your tone in that moment sets the tone for the entire time you’ll be with them. Unfortunately, first impressions are super important. You want to have fun with them, but you also need to quickly establish that you are the person in charge, so you can avoid behavior issues early on.
Some kids now days are very jaded and angry when they get a new nanny because they have had so many, which is sad because they are just trying to not get hurt emotionally. They will take time to warm up to you, so don’t feel bad about yourself! That’s why it’s very important to ask the parents ahead of time about interests, so you don’t have to have any awkward down time when first meeting.
7.) Transportation Tips
The kids will think you are the coolest person ever if you have just a few books and toys in reach of them in the back seat.
Play their favorite music, but also introduce them to good (clean) music you like, so you don’t go crazy.
Always keep your car clean because kids will say something about it and embarrass you!!
Do They Like Indoors or Outdoors?
Would they prefer a special trip to the library or to the park?
Any Physical or Mental Limitations?
If you are caring for a child with special needs research your area and find parks, such as Morgan’s Wonderland, that are specially made for kids with disabilities!
Do the parent’s give you fun money? If not, money for activities should never come out of your pocket, this is NOT YOUR KID. If the kid wants to go to the Zoo, look up prices and ask the parents beforehand. They can give you the money, or add it to our paycheck (save the receipts).
If the parents simply cannot afford it, research free things to do in your city! Most will be family friendly and still exciting for the kids.
9.) Homework Help
If you are an after school nanny and are required to help kids with their homework, do that first thing after school! Get it over with because neither of you will want to do it if you start on something fun. Don’t stress them out especially since they have already been in school all day. Get them a snack and chill out with them and get everything school related out of the way first.
10.) What to Wear
You do not have to be in business clothes and parents will not like that. Keep everything comfy and covered!
I hate that I even have to say this, but if you are working for a family with a husband, make sure to stay covered head to toe out of respect for the wife, your job, yourself, and to keep from unwanted wondering eyes. I’m certainly not saying every man is like that, but some are and will make advances. I knew a girl who’s boss left porn (specifically about her – interracial sex with babysitters) on his laptop up for her to see. Try to avoid that!
Leggings and a big t-shirt that covers your booty is the uniform basically. Nannying is spontaneous with activities depending on the kids’ moods, so dress keeping in mind what you might be doing later.
What else would you like to know?? Let me know in the comments!
Hugs and Kisses,