Everyone gets those “first day jitters” when starting a new job. You just want it to go as perfectly as possible, make a good impression, and learn as much as you can without overwhelming yourself, right? Well here are some ways you can ensure all of the above make your first day as a new nanny end on a high note.
Communication is Key
Before beginning your job, it’s important that you understand your family’s expectations for you in your new role. Make sure you’re comfortable with what they’ve outlined, and if you have any questions before your start – ask them. Having everyone on the same page when you start your first day will eliminate any unnecessary surprises. Clarify your role when it comes to housework, time management, routines, hours, and how/when you’ll be paid. The parents will likely appreciate it if you’re prepared ahead of time. You might even think of things they haven’t!
Define Daily Goals
A successful day as a nanny is one where you’ve met or exceeded expectations. Learn what the family’s goals are for each day when it comes to daily routines, school, chores, playtime, meals, snacks, sleeping, and bathing. Do any of the children have daily medications? Physical limitations? Specific preferences? Ask the parents how they hope the day will go and make it a plan to stick to it as closely as possible. While adding in your own fun and adventures too, of course!
Show Up Prepared
Have a plan for what your day will look like. Set aside a little time to learn what each child is into and find ways to incorporate their likes and preferred activities into the days ahead. Think of it as creating a sort of “Nanny Plan” in the same way a teacher creates a lesson plan. Ask about adding in things like a baby gym class or story time at the local library each week.
Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst
Have the parents’ contact information on-hand at all times. Same goes for other emergency numbers, such as the child’s pediatrician or Poison Control. Learn where the nearest urgent care or emergency room are located.
Additionally, take note of where the medicine cabinet is, the first aid kit, and all the “danger zones” of the home where the children live. Is there a pool? Are there baby gates? Where are all the different exits? Knowing all of this information is vital, and the sooner you’re familiar with it, the better.
Keep Things Light With The Kids
You’re not going to establish a meaningful relationship with the children on your first day. Those things take time to create, manage, and grow. Instead, use your first few days (and weeks) getting to know the personalities of each child in your care. What hands-on activities do they like? Who are their favorite pretend characters? What books make them giggle? Find low-pressure ways to interact with each child until you get to know them better. Color pictures together side-by-side or go for a nature walk in their neighborhood – these things keep them in their comfort zones and they allow you to get to know them better.
Give the Parents a Run-Down of the Day
An end-of-day summary of what you did with their children all day will likely be a welcome part of the daily routine for you and the parents. Let them know what their children ate and what activities they enjoyed. If any questions came up that you didn’t know how to answer, or if you realize you need their guidance on how to approach various scenarios that can pop up throughout the day – here’s your chance to be thorough and show them that you’re thoughtful. Leave the house the same way it was (or better) than when you arrived in the morning, and let the parents know what you’ve prepared for the following day.