Tips for Nannies and Babysitters

Playing lego

Here are some babysitting tips to help babysitters and nannies make a great first impression.

  • Make a courtesy call, SMS or email to confirm the date one day before (or early the day of) the booking. Confirm the time and address.
  • Dress appropriately for the job. Wear neat, casual clothing.
  • Arrive five minutes early.
  • Engage with the child proactively - eg get down on his/her level and ask the child to show you some of their favourite toys. Don't be afraid to play and have fun.
  • Establish a routine, so that the children know what to expect when they are in your care (e.g. when to bath, when to eat, when it's time to go to bed).
  • Bring a 'surprise' for the child if they are awake. It doesn't need to be expensive. Just something 'special' to act as an ice-breaker (e.g. a sticker, a print-out from a kids' website).
  • Leave the house as tidy as you found it. Wash out your coffee cup, tidy up the kids' clothes, toys or books that may have been left out. It is these small touches that count.
  • Check the children while they are asleep during the evening to make sure they are okay (unless the parents ask you not to do so.)
  • Write brief notes about the events of the day or evening (e.g. "7pm drank milk, played quiet games, read picture books, 7:30pm bedtime with no fuss. Has been sleeping soundly").
  • Respect the parents' privacy. Don't enter areas of the home unless required.
  • Be a fun babysitter or nanny. Play barbies and lego and get involved in the children's games. They will love it. Brush up on children's favourite songs, videos and pop stars.
  • Become a researcher. Stay up to date with all of the latest information regarding ways to make a nanny's job more rewarding. There are even apps available that provide endless ideas on how to entertain children of all ages and how to get a routine in place.
  • Build a nanny network with friends and family members who are also spending their time caring for children. It's great to be able to share notes and get advice for the odd sticky situation.
  • Keep calm at all times. It's difficult to sometimes do your best when the children are giving you a 'run for your money'. Please don't get angry. It's so easy to become frustrated when the children aren't listening or simply do the opposite of what you suggest. Use a distraction to get them to start listening again.
  • Make sure you are well rested. it's often difficult to get enough rest when you are working as a full time nanny, as you are on call most of the time.