How To Become A Nanny | The Ultimate Guide

Do you love working with children?

Does the sound of playing with kids and helping them to grow excite you?

If you love watching children grow or you want to provide long-term care for a family, then a career as a nanny might make sense for you.

But how do you become a nanny?

In this post, you will find everything you need to know about being a professional nanny.

We will provide enough information to make sure you understand what a nanny profile involves and what skills you need to perform this job.

How To Become A Nanny

What Is A Nanny?

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A nanny is a person that watches children, usually in the child’s home, while the parents work.

They are usually an alternative to daycare.

First and foremost, when opting for such a job, you’ll have to love to work with children. 

Despite the challenging tasks, in the end, you will see it as the most rewarding and honoring career you can choose.

While some nannies spend most of their time working for the family, others choose to live in the same house so they can offer round-the-clock support.

This type of nanny is often called an au-pair, however there are some differences which we get into later.

Depending on the family requirements, some nannies become a part of the family and don’t mind cooking, cleaning, or taking care of the family’s pets.

What Skills Do You Need To Become a Nanny?

Although loving kids might seem enough to make you think of becoming a nanny, most times you’ll need more than this.

You will need to make a positive contribution, and as in any career, there are still certain skills you need to possess to make sure you’ll become a great nanny.

Here are 10 invaluable skills to have.

#1. Be Kind

Kids get upset really easily, so make sure you are kind and sensitive with them.

#2. Be Friendly And Communicative

You need to set a friendship with the child you’re babysitting.

You have to understand and listen to what one says.

Always communicate with the parents. They will want to know how their children have spent the days.

#3. Have Patience

You’ll experience all sorts of adventures while taking care of a kid, so having patience should be one of your key skills.

You could try out taking care of a younger sibling or one of your neighbor kids and see how this goes.

#4. Perform Well Under Pressure

If besides looking after a child, you’re also cleaning, cooking, or taking care of a pet, then your eyes should be everywhere.

The ability to work great under pressure will help you stay focus on the kids and keep them safe.

#5. Be Creative

Children tend to get bored easily, so try to find new activities for them.

If babysitting a large family, include them in different games, read books, play sport or cook with them.

#6. Adapt

Being a nanny necessarily involves adapting to a new environment, a new home, and the like.

You have to be both flexible and adaptable to different situations, so you can make the most out of your position.

#7. Learn CPR And First Aid

It is a mandatory skill.

Every professional nanny should know to offer CPR or a minimum help when needed.

Many parents will search for nannies with these skills so that they’ll know their kids are in good hands when a minor accident happens.

Take a class at a hospital, community college, or school, or a parenting center to learn such skills.

#8. Know Basic Nutrition

Although you will not be asked to cook, understanding how nutrition works will please most families.

#9. Own A Driver’s License

Owning a license is definitely a plus.

For example, you can pick up the children from the after-school program and take them home.

Or go to the park, story time at the library, or even shop for some groceries.

#10. Be Punctual

A professional nanny should know that punctuality is a significant key when babysitting or doing child care services.

Make it a point to show up 5-10 minutes before your scheduled start time so the parents can inform you of anything important for the day.

Also, be open to staying a few minutes late too.

You never know when traffic might delay the parents return.

What Does A Nanny Do?

A day in the life of a nanny differs from a family to another.

While some will ask you to become a live-in nanny, others will only ask you to show up some hours per day.

Depending on this, your tasks could be broader or not.

You’ll probably need to:

  • Drop children off at school
  • Help them with their homework
  • Prepping meals
  • Reading them bedtime stories
  • Feeding them
  • Cleaning the house
  • Feeding and walking the family pets
  • Food shopping
  • Doing educational activities
  • Washing and dressing them
  • Keeping them entertained for the entire day
  • Change diapers

What To Know When Applying For Nanny Jobs

Much like any career, being a nanny requires some solid references and elementary education.

Although an educational degree is not mandatory, an associate degree or a certification in early childcare will be a big plus.

Many families are looking for persons with daycare experience, and a CPR or first aid certification will look great on your detailed resume.

Typical requirements and basic standards for nannies include:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • High school diploma (college degree is recommended)
  • Good general health
  • Clean criminal background check
  • Strong communication and instructional skills
  • Able to legally accept employment
  • Child care experience
  • Stamina to deal with high-energy children

6 Important Steps To Becoming A Professional Babysitter

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A nanny is patient and committed to providing care for children of any age.

You want to have the right training and experience to be a successful nanny.

Being a nanny is not an easy job, so it’s important to have good experience and know-how to get the right experience.

Here are the steps to help you find work as a nanny.

#1. Get Child Care Experience And Early Childhood Education

By far the most important steps to becoming a nanny is to get experience.

Ask to babysit kids of friends, family, relatives, coworkers, or neighbors.

Shadow families while the parents are home, become an assistant or helper at nearby child care centers.

Make it a point to watch kids of all ages, from newborn babies, to toddlers, and young children.

While many people think they are all the same, they are very different and each requires different skillsets from their childcare provider.

For example, if you only have experience working with older children, there isn’t a good chance a family will hire you if they have a newborn and a toddler.

Finally, be sure to also ask for feedback and constructive criticism from the parents of your first few babysitting jobs.

This will help you to be a better nanny and caregiver in the long run.

#2. Consider Earning An Associate Degree Or Bachelor’s Degree

While not as important, having a college education in early childhood development is a plus.

But if you are an older adult looking for a career change, don’t spend the money to go back to school.

Instead ensure you have solid experience working with children.

If you are in college, and want to become a nanny but are majoring in another field of study, you don’t need to change majors.

Simply getting a college education in any discipline makes you attractive to prospective parents.

Of course, this assumes you have experience with kids.

#3. Join A Professional Organization

Joining a professional organization will help you advance in your career.

The more qualified you are, the better your chances of obtaining such a job.

The International Nanny Association could be one of the greatest choices for your professional recognition.

Providing access to career advancement, the INA offers mentoring programs or professional exams.

Additionally, nannies will be taught basic skills in health, nutrition, or safety.

Once joining the INA, you will have to pass some credential exam texts in child guidance, childcare abilities, management skills, family communication, or child development.

But once you become a professional nanny, you will find it one of your best investments.

#4. Gain Additional Credentials

The babysitter field is a competitive one.

So try to stand out amongst your competition.

Make sure you are accredited for first aid and CPR.

Then think of other skills you can bring to the table.

Do you know how to swim and can teach kids? This could be a benefit to families with a pool.

Also, knowing a foreign language can improve your odds as you can teach this language to kids.

#5. Create Your Nanny Profile

Like everything revolving around social media, creating a profile might suit you just great.

Think about it as a meeting place for parents and nannies.

There are several websites dedicated to online meetings, connecting the two parties.

Choose between these two popular resources: Care.com and SitterCity.

Create your free profile now and look for related jobs.

Some of these things might impress the parents:

  • A recommendation from your past employers
  • A full resume with your skills and school degrees
  • Parenting classes
  • Any medical certifications

#6. Apply And Find Jobs

Get out there and apply for the right job!

You need to gain experience at some point, so don’t be afraid to get on the nanny market.

Whether you ask your friends to take care of their kids, look for a part-time summer job, or other potential employers, you need to get started!

On the other hand, don’t expect families to find you.

You have to search and seek them out first and let them know that you have an innate desire to contribute to their kids’ lives.

Great ways to do this is word of mouth.

Tell everyone you know that you are looking for work as a nanny.

And tell your friends too.

You never know when they might meet up with one of their friends who needs a nanny.

Finally, join local moms groups on Facebook.

This can be a great way to find work as many people who need childcare go there first before creating an account with Care.com or SitterCity.

As you begin to earn experience, make sure to collect references and recommendations.

They could help you out in your future applications.

When setting a date with a potential employer, learn to listen to their own expectations and state yours, too.

Be sure to put out there the most important factors for you and ask about the work environment.

How Much Money Can You Make As A Nanny?

Rates for nannies vary throughout the country.

This is because the cost of living varies so much.

For example, in the South you can expect to earn around $15 an hour as a nanny.

On the other hand, a nanny in New Your City can make $25-$30 an hour.

Overall, the average hourly rate is between $15-$20 an hour.

This comes to an annual salary of $30,000 to $40,000 assuming a two week vacation and working 40 hours a week.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

There are a lot of questions when it comes to being a nanny.

Here are the most common ones.

What qualifications do I need to be a nanny?

The minimum requirements are to be at least passionate about working with children.

A nanny training or a degree in early childhood education is very much so recommended.

Separately, a child development or psychology-related degree or teaching experience is a great qualification for nannies.

How much do you pay a nanny per day?

The national average hourly rate for a nanny is $19.14 per hour.

The national average gross weekly salary for full-time live-out nannies is $766.

How do I become a nanny with no experience?

If you don’t have experience, you need to get some.

Without experience, the only jobs you will find are for families that aren’t able to find a nanny with experience.

And even then, when they do find someone with experience, chances are they will replace you.

So you need to get as much experience as you can.

Try to babysit for neighbors or relatives.

Volunteer to be a helper at a summer camp or at church on Sundays.

The more experience you can get, working with all ages of kids, the better off you will be.

How do I stand out as a nanny?

To stand out as a nanny, you need to know where you excel and where you fall short.

This means you need to ask for feedback from the parents.

Ask them how you can improve and be open to the criticism.

Also, document your days with the kids.

You don’t need to write down every single detail, but giving parents a written review of the day is beneficial.

Most times you can complete this while the kids are napping or eating lunch.

Finally, go above and beyond.

If you find the children you watch love crafts, buy some cheap crafts to do on your own.

If they enjoy reading, take them to the library for story time.

What is the difference between a nanny and an au pair?

An au pair is typically a person from another country to comes to live with the family and helps raise the children. 

It is an exchange program for younger people who get to learn a new language in exchange for helping raise the kids.

Wrapping Up

There is the information you need to know for how to become a nanny.

By far the most important step is to have experience.

So if this is a career you want to pursue, then make it a point to get as much experience as possible.

It is a career that involves patience, love, and caring, and becoming a nanny will bring you great joy, and a stable income as well.

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