Entering the Nanny Profession: Tips and Tricks From the Experts

The Nanny World is quickly and quietly expanding. Ten years ago, the average American may not have even known what a nanny WAS, let alone what a nanny DOES. When I became a nanny in 2001, many people in my town had not heard the term before. Even after I explained it to them, I often hear a lot of “Oh, so you’re a babysitter?” Well, no. A babysitter is usually a teenager with little to no experience who comes occasionally to help a family for a few hours per week. A babysitter’s main objective is to have fun, keep the children alive, and maybe order a pizza and give a bath or two. Although I’m sure they exist, I have yet to meet a “career babysitter”.

A nanny, in contrast, is a caregiver who works in a family’s home on a regular basis for a set number of hours. A nanny’s responsibilities go far beyond that of a babysitter. Nannies are responsible for all aspects of childcare, including but not limited to: diaper changes, bathing and dressing the children, cooking for the children, light housekeeping pertaining to the children, establishing or keeping a sleep schedule, and of course engaging and interacting with the children in a positive and helpful way. This includes fostering social, emotional, and educational development, taking the children to extracurricular activities, setting up playdates, assisting with language acquisition and development, setting up arts and crafts, reading to/with the children, and, most importantly, being a stand-in for the parent(s) on a regular basis. The nannies that I am lucky enough to know genuinely love the children they care for, and the children know it! Their nanny is an extremely important part of their everyday lives, and is often seen as a member of the family.

In 2017, nannies are much more commonplace. Celebrities have them, royal families have them, and everyday working-class families have them.  Have you ever noticed a nanny out and about with her charges (the children she cares for) and thought “Well, that looks pretty easy! Maybe I should become a nanny!”? If so, ask yourself these questions: Do you have experience with and a passion for caring for children? Are you able to multitask? Are you calm under pressure?  Are you willing to become CPR/First Aid certified? (How To Boost Your Nanny Resume) Are you interested in an exciting career where every day is different, the world is your classroom, and your boss is a tiny dictator? If your answer to these questions was “Yes!”, maybe becoming a nanny is the right career for you!

There are many different kinds of nannies. Live-in nannies live full time with their Nanny Family, and have, at a minimum, their own room. Some nannies who live-in have an entire floor of the house to themselves, or are offered a separate apartment, a carriage house, or a mother-in-law suite. (The Perks of Being a Live-in Nanny) Live-out nannies, or Come And Go nannies, do not live with their Nanny Family, and commute from their own homes. Full time nannies work 30-120+ (yes, really!) hours per week. Part time nannies work from 5-29 hours per week. Weekend nannies work (yep, you guessed it!) on the weekends only. There are also different subgroups of nannies, such as Nanny/House Manager, Nanny/Housekeeper, Nanny/Personal Assistant, and Nanny/Governess.

Once you decide what type of nanny you’d like to be, your first order of business should be to create a resume and cover letter.  Your resume is often the first thing a potential family will see when they come across your information, and you want it to be packed full of childcare-related experience. Make sure you include any classes that you have taken in high school/college that were related to childcare, child development, education or psychology.  You’ll also want to mention if you are CPR/First Aid certified. If you’re not currently certified, now’s the time to schedule a class and get that done. I have yet to meet a family that has not required this of their nanny! Another wonderful addition to a resume is any extracurricular activities you enjoy, such as sports, photography, cooking, playing an instrument, etc. Please don’t forget to include all languages that you speak fluently or conversationally. Anything that will make you stand out to a family is worth including! Often, families will choose a nanny not based on years of experience or education level, but on something like whether the nanny can swim or whether s/he can help the children with their Mandarin homework.

For more information on how to create an interview portfolio, click here.

So…do you think you have what it takes to become a nanny? If so, you’ll want to do some area-based research on the best places to look for a position. If you have experience as a babysitter or a childcare worker, a good place to start is Care.com. On this website, you can create a Caregiver Profile, input your information, upload a photo, a video, your resume, etc, and then either search for jobs near you or just wait for families to contact you.  This is a great way to gain some experience as a nanny and build your resume. Other sites, such as Sittercity.com, UrbanSitter.com, and GoNannies.com, do not require potential nannies to have experience other than working with children. If you’re a former teacher, you may want to start out working with a nanny agency. This is always free for nannies, which is not the case with other nanny-search websites. Check out the INA (International Nanny Association) website to find an INA-approved agency near you. Agencies are almost always happy to work with former teachers who do not have nanny experience, and they often have positions that are more comparable in pay to that of a teacher’s salary.

Do you have any other tips for professional looking to enter the nanny field? If so, we’d love to hear them! Comment below and share your thought!


(Next article: How To Ace Every Interview: Creating Your Interview Portfolio)

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