In this more challenging job market, it’s essential to set yourself apart from the pack and add some ‘wow-factor’ to the way you do your job. It’s those little differences that will lead to excellent feedback from parents, good references and of course, repeat work as those families ask you back again.
While it’s definitely still important to have fun with the children, build a rapport and get along with them, they’re ultimately not your only clients; it’s the parents that will pass on positive comments about you and choose to request you again for jobs. So, engage fully with the children and make an impression, of course (especially as they’re likely to tell Mum what kind of time they had with you!), but also aim to make an impression on the family that you are being welcomed into.
A positive and flexible attitude is always the first necessity and should really go without saying. Then, what will set you apart is anticipating a family’s needs and taking the initiative to go that wee bit further or do something extra, outside of the scope of your job.
This isn’t a new concept; it’s age-old advice because it works. Luckily for you, it can be easily applied in a childcare sense. These suggestions may seem like common sense, but they are often omitted and will make help you to ensure that you have the edge.
- Leave the house neat: This doesn’t mean you need to do a heavy clean of the place, but it’s important not to leave dirty dishes around and to help the children pack away any toys and clean up messes made while playing. It’s also possible to go a bit further – by doing other dishes that may have been left, or folding washing that was lying about. You may even ask the parents if you can run a load of washing if you are going to be in the home with the children for a while.
- Take your Nanny kit: Take resources with you – ideas for games, some books, puzzles etc. This makes a great impression on both parents and children. If they are in a brightly coloured bag they are a great distraction for a child who may not separate well when their parent leaves.
- Give some feedback: Make sure you stick around for a couple of minutes when the parents come home to let them know how the children went over the day or evening. You don’t have to give a full report, but remember to mention any developmental things you noticed and ask any pertinent questions, for ‘next time’. Using the PAUA Poppetts Daily Diary form is an excellent way of communicating with parents.
- Work with your strengths: If you have special talents, skills, passions, let these be known and you may add value to your unique childcare offering. For example, if you play a sport, know an instrument, or are particularly skilled in a subject, you can find a way to add something extra to the time you spend with the children and set yourself apart.
- Consider upskilling: Extra qualifications can set you apart or help you secure long-standing work, so talk to some of the experts about what other skills or areas of study it might be worthwhile developing.