nanny experiences

The Search for the Right Family: 3 Red Flags to Look for in Interviews

Hi everyone! 

The New Year has been a busy one for me! I left my nanny position of 14 months on January 5th and since then I have been interviewing with different families in hopes to find the right fit. It's honestly been a bumpy road getting back into the swing of things however I know I have avoided a lot of possible bad situations by looking for red flags and sticking with my gut. 

There have been many past situations in my nanny career that could have been avoided had I gone with my instincts in the beginning and allowed myself to make the decision that would be best for me; versus going forward with something out of feeling that sense of obligation to help. 

Here are three helpful tips that I've found best help along the way during your search.

 

1. Willingness to Compromise and Negotiate

A family willing to hear your side of things and be open to accommodating contract requests or being able to negotiate in a healthy and positive way is very important.  It is also a reflection of how they will act towards such things in the future. Parents willingness to listen to you and try to provide you with the happiest possible working environment is a big reflection on how they view their nannies and what they think their role in the house hold should be. If you know you are someone who likes to become a part of your nanny families home this can be a huge make or break as communication is, in my opinion, the biggest foundations in the nanny parent relationship

 

2. Disciplinary Styles

This is something that can be make or break. Seeing how parents would prefer or not prefer you handle discipline can make a major impact on your day to day work with the little ones. As we all know starting at a certain age some sort of disciplinary system will be needed on a regular basis for the little ones. I am not a strict disciplinarian, it's not in my personality, and so a parent who is won't like my styles in the long run and that can cause conflict. Discipline is a huge part in working with children and so to have things running as effectively and smoothly as possible make sure that this is on the table and that they do not waiver on what they have said. 

 

3. Are they Respectful of Your Time?

It is common for interviews to lead to a trial day. I always think doing a few trial days before officially signing on to a family is a great idea. You get to truly see how the family interacts on a day to day basis with themselves as well as their children We are in a very tight nit working situation and if you are someone who is very sensitive to their work environment I highly suggest asking for this. If the parent is a stay at home I like to look and see how they do hand offs at the end of your time. Do they try to extend the time by asking you to stay longer? Are they immediately coming to you at your clock off time to relieve you? If they hold you later do they accommodate the pay for your extra time? These are all things to look for as forewarning to future behavior. 

 

Nannying can be tough in the beginning, especially trying to figure out how to properly stand up for what you deserve. It can be hard to have those hard sit down talks with parents, especially since you are on your own. Another nanny put it perfectly in saying you are your own HR Department, we have to be able to have these talks with parents because no one else will.

Don't be afraid to ask for a trial day or week. If you are unsure about a family or have a feeling you can't quite place let them know you would like to sit for them one night and really see how they operate. Interviews are great for a first impression but before contracts are signed it is important to get a true feel for the home and whether or not you all would gel well in the long run. 

I hope these are able to help someone new to nannying or give input to some nannies who have been working for a while! Let us know some of your helpful tips in the comments!

 

Talk to you all soon!

Lauren 

10 Things Your Introvert Nanny Might be Thinking Their First Day

Being an introvert in a busy world is one struggle but to be an introvert working in a close knit setting that a nanny works in every day is a whole other battle in itself. 

I have a serious love hate relationship with working in childcare at times. I love working with kids. I could talk to kids all day long without batting an eye. Grown ups on the other hand. No thanks. The first few weeks of that first getting to know a new family stage can be so hard sometimes and I know i’m not the only one that struggles with it, so I just thought i’d do a silly blog about some of my emotions I feel on that first day of the job. 

 

1.  I’m going to walk in and say something, get the conversation going…“Good morning how are you?”

10 points for me, go me, that was perfect.

“I’m good how are you, how was your weekend?” 

Weekend….I don’t know…I remember nothing…quick say something

“Good, how was yours?” 

Nailed it. 

 

2. She’s going to want to stay to show me around right? Right. Crap.

 

3.  She’s staying home this first day to show me around? What are we going to talk about all day long? This baby? He can only save us for so long.

 

4. I can’t keep running away to the restroom she’s going to think something is wrong with me. 

 

5. Don’t play with the kid awkwardly. Why are you using that baby voice? Why does it sound like Donald Duck?

 

6. What kinds of things do I like to do in my free time you ask? I’ll tell you…when I remember.

 

7. Don’t pull out your phone. Don’t pull out your phone. 

 

8. Ok you pulled it out, but only because she got on the phone and the kid is napping, look like you’re doing something productive. Double tap nothing.

 

9. Has this been awkward enough? I’m not sure. I’m going to add a little more awkward to this first day party. 

 

10. I head out to the car, only to realize I left my keys, wallet and phone. Do I need those things I think to myself? Are they that important? I can totally uber home and boo wait.

 

More not silly posts are coming soon, I have lots of ideas that I need to get pushed out there and am looking forward to sharing with you guys!

 

-Lauren

Nanny Probs 04: Attacking the problem, not the person

 

Hi everyone! 

It's been a while since i've been on the blog and I am going to be making big strides in ending my random hiatuses in the new year! Today I wanted to talk about something that i've seen a lot of in the nanny community which is addressing problems that arise with your nanny family and how some things can get a bit blown out of proportion. Sometimes it can be as minor as deciding what the child should eat for lunch and other times there are bigger issues that can get blown out of proportion because of how the nanny and parents are communicating with each other. 

One of the most difficult things about being a nanny is coming in, getting to know your nanny kids and figure out a routine of what works and what doesn't only to have the parent say let's try it this way when you know it won't work. Small battles that feel major especially when it feels to be someone disrupting your work space and can be even more frustrating when parents do not want to listen to your side or compromise. When I was talking to someone wasn't a nanny and was explaining why I didn't want to do something the way a parent was asking me they, coming from a corporate office environment, asked me "But, that's their right to do as the parent right?"

The logical answer is yes.

I really don't have any right to demand or control a situation in someone else's household while placing rules over someone else's children and say 'things should be done xyz'. Even if someone asked me to help with a new sleep schedule or trying new foods and if i presented whatever I came up with if the parent were to shoot me down, that's their right. In our field of work we're in such an intimate space that it's difficult to separate your emotions from that since we're with the children all day and have tried things a variety of different ways and decided this is how you want to do things but now someone is saying 'you're wrong'. 

What I had to learn to make discussions about how to handle little situations like these was to step back and see things from the parents perspective. Why do they feel things should go this way and why do I feel the way I do and lets see if we can come up with a solution that works for everyone. I feel like a lot of conflict can come when two people refuse to see things any other way than what they think is right and can cause a lot of tension and doesn't make any progress. The same can be said for issues that arise outside of the child and only have to do in the home. Stepping back and listening to what the parent is saying, why they feel that way and what can you do to make this situation go more smoothly are great ways that I feel i've been able to move through certain situations smoothly. 

I feel that if I keep going this will turn into too much of a rambling blog post so in summary, what i'm trying to say is, taking time to assess the situation and what problem the parent is actually trying to tackle has really helped in coming up with better solutions where no one feels like they are being taken advantage of or opinions pushed aside. I feel like being in such an intimate situation does have a few perks in that you really get to understand your nanny family and their personalities and personality has a lot to do with how some people handle situations and in understanding that you can also better understand why they might be reacting the way they are or why they decided to handle a situation completely different than you would, and that's perfectly fine. 

Ok i'm done now. I will talk to you all very soon! 

 

Lauren 

 

 

Nanny Probs 03: When is it time to move on?

Hi everyone!

I really enjoy complaining, I mean blogging about particular nanny problems and so this series is never going to end. Today i'm talking again about moving on from your nanny family and how hard it is to come to that decision. 

I was recently faced with a hard decision in my personal nanny career and was struggling a lot with what direction I wanted to do and couldn't really come to a healthy solution and I couldn't understand why. I've alway done the part time nanny juggle which is where you're working full time hours but with different families scattered throughout the week. This was great when I was in school (I feel like such a grownup when I say that) but now that I have the opportunity to stay in one place it's becoming more and more obvious that this would be the best solution for me. It's the most logical solution for a lot of reasons. I wouldn't be putting so much mileage on my car, doing days of going to three different families is exhausting and my patience begins to run thin with the other children and parents which isn't fair to the families and I would be a lot more financially stable since I would be with one family who needed me versus having the possibility of my hours being cut. However and MAJOR however, I don't want to leave my current nanny families.

It's very easy to logically look at the whole of the situation and say I need to do x y and z but the stab in the chest comes when you're at work and your nanny kids are starting to do new things and you don't want to miss any of their upcoming milestones but life calls. 

I just read this on a different bloggers post a few weeks ago and it was like a slap in the face.

"When fear outweighs your faith
When frustration outweighs reward
When your health either physically or mentally is compromised
Seasonal change. This chapter is done but there’s another ahead.

Quitting does not mean you’re a failure or weak. It’s the next phase of the journey."

I began to wonder am I here because i'm that attached or am I more scared to leave and start this new chapter in my life? I think it's a bit of both. I am scared to move forward, that I will always be. I'm someone who is very hesitant and cautious of change, even moving my bed is a huge commitment for me so to completely change my working style and how I want to do things in my nanny career is going to be a process for me. Understanding that about myself and reminding myself that I need to be patient and careful with any upcoming changes has helped me a lot with the anxious and hesitant part about moving forward in this journey; but now comes the hard part. Looking for a new nanny family that I can work with full time. I've been out of the job search field for a while and going forward into it now is exhausting and so stressful but it has to be done. 

So i'll keep you guys posted on what's to come and we'll see what happens! Until next time take care!

Lauren

Nanny Probs 01: The Part Time Nanny Dilemma

Scheduling your different families around each other. Feeling guilty when having to prioritize a family over another. The exhausting feeling that comes from going to multiple families in one day. Along with the most difficult worry of not wanting to quit any of your families to find one full time family.

Going through college having multiple families who needed different times throughout the week worked great for my school schedule. It’s not easy to find a job that allows you that much flexibility all the while supporting you financially. However it was no way easy. Going to different families with kids of all different ages can be a strain on anyone and can be exhausting. Especially on my kid to play meter. Working with children is such a great joy but matter how much I love the work it gets exhausting to have to do the same routine multiple times in the day all the while holding on to your patience and keeping up with whatever routine you follow for different families. Then there’s the added bonus of kids are not always the most cooperative. Dealing with one family all day where the child might be having a bad day and then going to work for another family whose kid is on a rampage can be stressful and tiring and more tiring! Especially with all of lives other normal stressful things going on. 

I really don’t have a solution to any of these problems besides the obvious. Deciding what you personally want for your nanny career and going for that no matter what. 

I’m at a point where I don’t want to keep having to drive multiple places in one day when I don’t have to anymore but i’ve been with some of my families for so long thinking about leaving is almost scary. For some of my families I feel like i’ve outgrown being there and others I feel i’ve grown with them and i’ve made the biggest life changes with them around. Being a nanny really does create this sense of family and community that you just don’t get from any other job! 

Then there’s the small fear in the back of my mind about going somewhere new and having to start over. What if me and the other family don’t click as well? What if it doesn’t work out and i’m back to square one without the family that I loved? I go around and around in circles very melodramatically in my mind almost daily now and I know i’m coming to a point where I need to decide what’s best for me and where I want to head in life BUT how could I just leave my families?

The whole situation is kind of a headache so i’ll figure it out soon...if my procrastination doesn’t get the best of me.

 

Thanks for reading! 

 

Lauren

5 Things I've Learned Working With Special Needs Kids

Hi everyone! Today I wanted to make a little list of things i've learned while working with special needs kids. Being in the special needs childcare field is so important to me and i’ve learned a lot about myself and what i've improved on by being in the field and thought I would share.

  1. To Stop Comparing

Working with typically developing kids and working with special needs kids I would say the biggest differentiating factor is learning that their milestones and development are happening at a different rate. This of course doesn’t alter that exciting, screaming ‘you did it’ feeling in the slightest. Why would it? I never look at what my typically developing children are doing in comparison to what my special needs kids are doing nor do I compare what one child with special needs is doing to another. There are so many different complexities in each child it’s impossible to try to keep everyone side by side on one developmental train. I’ve found it’s best to know your child, know what works best for them and push them in a way that is beneficial for them. 

2. Other Kids Ask Questions, Be Prepared

I love when were out where there’s large groups of kids like the park or a play center and kids come up to ask questions. Usually they ask questions just because they're a little unsure and want the green light to go play crazy with my kids or just want to know why. Curiosity isn't something that should be negated, especially in younger kids, and I am always reassuring parents that it’s much better to approach the child’s caregiver and ask questions versus not getting all the information and the subject of special needs becoming some sort of taboo. 

3. People Who Work With Special Needs Kids are Not Superheroes

Whenever I am talking to people about my job and future education goals working with special needs kids comes up. More often than not people will get a look of sympathy or guilt and congratulate me on wanting to go into that field. Caregivers who work with special needs kids are not doing anything that requires that type of reaction, we’re doing our job.  No, it’s not easy, but point me to an easy child to take care of. 

4. Patience and Creativity Go Hand in Hand

Some days can get rough and I have had to pull patience from out of nowhere, more than once, and that usually includes making up a game on the spot or making up a new song and dance.

5. To Look at All Sides At All Times

One annoying thing about myself is that I can never pick a side, I can’t lay things out and only see two options which is great when working in childcare and horrible when trying to find a place to eat. Working with different special needs families i’ve found two children can have the same disability, be the same age and are different developmentally and emotionally. Again like I said earlier, same for typically developing kids. By knowing everyone is wired differently, everyones processing for different situations is different it’s so hard not to see an argument or discussion and get an understanding for each individual factor and everyone’s thinking. 

I am sure as time goes on I will come back and expand on this list! Thanks for reading!


-Lauren