Nanny’s Guide: The Importance of Being a Nanny and How to Become One

Being a nanny can be one of the most rewarding jobs on the planet

I believe in positive thinking. By setting aside the common nanny complaints, we need to remind ourselves what we love about our job and why we do it in the first place?

Nannies can make the real difference to the child’s development. First advantage is that the child is looked after in their own home, they feel safe and secure and are surrounded by their comforters. This makes the transition of having a new carer much easier. Positive relationship with the parents is also very important, if the child sees you getting on well with both of the parents, they separate from them easier and you can start building trust.

First few weeks are always trying. Children will do just about anything to push your boundaries and to test how far you will allow them to go. Consistency and patience is the key here. Good news is that children are quick learners and you will be able to establish a good routine in no time.

Once you built a good relationship with the children, you will be able to recognise their needs and interests. It is then easy to plan activities and outings for them, which will promote children’s learning and development. If the child is doing an activity they love and enjoy, they will concentrate and focus better and for longer, increasing their understanding. Being a nanny is flexible as you don’t have to stick to pre-planned plans, you can go along with what the child wants to do that day and include what you need them to learn.

When I worked as a nanny, many of my friends couldn’t understand why I cried every time I left a job. You fall in love with the children as if they were your own, you love them even more because at the end of the day you can leave them at home and have a good night sleep so you start fresh the next day.

An example of a good nanny is a secure, loving base for children whose parents have to or choose to work the long hours. Children will rely on you and you opinions, it’s extremely important that you are a good role model at all times. How you behave to the children and others around you will have a direct impact on child’s behaviour.

If you didn’t work as a nanny before, there are few things that may help you and that you may need.

Most nannies will start with the Common Core training, which is a one day course, covering basic areas of childcare and is introduction to childcare practice. Further qualifications are not compulsory, but most nannies choose to complete Early Years Education qualification and attend training days on various topics. Managing behaviour, potty training, sleep training seems to be the popular ones at the moment, amongst others.

It is very important that you keep your knowledge updated, there are changes all the time, and new research comes out daily. Childcare magazines, books, are a great source of information. Other nannies and other childcare professionals are also good sources for new ideas. You just need to be aware of confidentiality and make sure you are not sharing any family details.

Every nanny should have Paediatric First Aid training and renew it every three years. First Aid training will prepare you to deal with emergency situations. By renewing your knowledge, what you learn will be engraved in your memory and trust me, when it counts, you will remember. Having safeguarding training is also recommended to be renewed every two years. Having good Public liability insurance is a great way to protect oneself.

Many nannies tell me that they don’t need insurance, because their employers are already insured. Do not get the two confused. Employer insurance covers the parents in case something happens to you on their premises and from claims made by you, the nanny. Nanny public liability insurance protects you and gives you a legal cover in case your employers make the claim against you; this insurance covers you at children’s home, on the outings and anywhere else within UK.

If you use your own car as part of your job, you must notify your insurance company. If you use your employer’s car during the working hours, make sure that you are added as a named driver on their insurance policy.

Ofsted. I am often asked by nannies if registering with Ofsted is necessary. It is not compulsory for nannies to register with Ofsted, but you can become part of Voluntary Ofsted Childcare Register if you wish. It raises your chances of being employed, as your employers can use childcare vouchers against the cost of the childcare and it give you a higher professional status.

Enjoy your Nanny career!

About Martina Vanickova

Martina Vanickova is the founder and CEO of The Training Umbrella, private assessment centre, delivering accredited childcare courses to nannies, nursery staff, child minders and teaching assistants in London, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and looking to expand to China. "As small children, adult learners are each unique and special individual and it is my and the company’s ethos to treat each person as such. I believe that this is one of the contributing factors to our 100% success completion rate since we opened in 2012. There are many training providers, who see profit before the well-being of their learners. How can we raise standard in the industry, if we view learners as “money bags” and qualify individuals who should, frankly, never be employed to look after our children? If you are looking for a reason to see why I do what I do, this is it." Martina Martina is ardent defender of nanny rights and she is currently looking to explore this area professionally. Martina is a passionate promoter of gender equality, who believes in supporting other women to achieve their full potential in business and personal life, while harmoniously sharing their lives, with their partners, whatever the gender.

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