So you want to become a Nanny? The low down on transitioning from Nursery or Schools into Private Households
The response from some of you regarding the recent podcasts and blogs has been incredible. It really is amazing to know that so many of you no longer feel alone in work place situations and have taken great value in what I have shared.
Keep on sending me your emails I LOVE reading them!
Ok so, this week I wanted to cover a topic that I always feel on the fence about.
Starting out as a Nanny at 19, I applied to MANY London agencies, only to be told I needed a minimum of two years within a Private Household. How on earth was I supposed to gain that unless someone gave me a chance?!
I stressed over this a lot.
I continued to work at the nursery i’d recently started at, and would spend my lunch hour coming up with ways in which I could leave there and use my skills elsewhere in a home environment as it appealed to me soooo much more.
With a lot of positive thinking and visioning, I was able to land myself a lovely job that I found in the local paper (back when that’s how people advertised jobs, none of this fancy job board stuff online!) and felt so grateful I was being given this opportunity as the nursery setting was just not for me.
These days, I am guilty of having such requirements as two years within a Private Household but the difference is I understand WHY it’s important to have these for my agency and for anyone considering a Nanny role.
Due to the fact I feel so terrible at turning down so many candidates because of this requirement, I figured it would be nice to share ways in which you can work around it, gain more insight knowledge into why it’s this way, and how you can prepare yourself for the Nursery/ School to Nanny transition.
Yes you’ve got childcare experience, so why is Nannying any different?
Working in a Nursery requires you to conform to their structure, their demands, various different children all at once and stick to the same routine day in day out.
There may not be any cooking or laundry involved, but you are working as part of a team with others who are adhering to this non negotiable structure too. There is no flexibility and barely any opportunity for you to use your own initiative and think outside the box. You become confined to this space, to following suit purely because that’s just how it is to ensure the children are ‘safe’ and ‘nurtured’.
But then you discover you can be a Nanny and change all of this. Sounds simple enough right?
So WHY so difficult to land your first role?
Let me explain a little more.
You are to be in someones private home, surrounded by everything they own, see things you wouldn’t normally see compared to parents just dropping their children off each morning at Nursery and about to embark on an intense journey where the parents will constantly require updates, photos, and at times the smallest things can seem HUGE to them.
Without realising it, you hold yourself differently, you sometimes need to put ‘blinkers’ on to ignore things you have seen and suddenly the two children in your care make the ten in your group at Nursery seem like a dream!
Tasks are expected of you that wouldn’t be asked in a Nursery, and you have to smile and agree even if they don’t sit within your values. It all comes with the role. You learn to mold and adapt, but it doesn’t always happen fast.
You may travel which means adapating FAST to different time zones and jet lag is a word you do not use or let get to you because they do not care because you are there for a reason, and parents can’t let jet lag effect them either can they? The children are the priority, not how tired you are. You gotta keep up and learn fast, think ahead, use your initiative and understand how to act in different social situations such as formal or informal.
You need to know what types of language to use, what is appropriate and it goes without saying never ever post anything about the lifestyle or the family on social media. This is a big no no. Just don’t do it if you want to be regarded as a professional.
Then there is how to dress. Keep it modest and smart yet comfy enough to move around lots in.
Can you also feel comfortable quickly when spending so much time around parents? It takes some getting used to, especially if you are going into a role where one parent is at home.
So how do I get agencies to take me seriously?
Well, the thing is, it’s a tough one. We can see your experience and potential of course, yet we cannot determine how you may be in a Private Household environment and with the types of clients we deal with it’s a big risk to take (one which we have had to learn!).
It’s nothing personal, although it may seem that way at times. It is merely the way this industry has always worked.
It takes a certain type of person to be a Nanny, and something I believe cannot be ‘taught’. Yes you can study and learn on the job, but that’s not all that helps mould together the make up of a good Nanny.
If you want to make the big step up, I’d highly recommend bearing in mind my own top tips:
- See if you can find part time/ full time work locally. Start small, use your transferable Nursery skills somewhere close to home to build up the experience of being in someones house all day and most of the time, alone.
- Ensure you enjoy your own company. Yes you may have a small child with you for the best part of 12 hours a day, but the adult conversation won’t always be there. So be content being alone for the majority of the day.
- Be patient. It takes years to build up your Nanny portfolio, so don’t expect to jump straight into a high end job immediatley, it will come with time, patience and hard work.
- Be open minded (if you aren’t already!) Think outside the box, offer up your skills and do something every day that you wouldn’t usually do in your previous job.
- Take time to write a decent cover letter that explains WHY you want to make this change and what it is that you can bring to a family as a Nanny starting out on her career journey.
- Have decent photos and a nicely presented CV!! This is soooo important!!!
- Be confident and enthusiastic!! There really is nothing worse than someone with all the experience and the personality of a slug. Children need excitment and this job requires it in bundles.
But most imporantly….. WANT TO DO THE JOB!! It’s wonderful it’s great, it has it’s up’s and down’s like MOST jobs but hell it’s so rewarding!!!!
Now go start putting together your transition cover letter, send it to me to check over if you need help and have a wonderful Easter!
Until next time