The 5-Step Guide on How to Become a Nanny
By Megan Ruesink on 03/09/2015
When you think of working with children, you can’t help but smile. And when you imagine a job that is both fun and fulfilling, nannying is always what comes to mind first. You love the idea of providing long-term care for a family, watching one group of children grow and develop before your eyes.
You’re sure you want to be a nanny, but you’re also not quite sure how to become a nanny. You know being a long-term nanny is different from babysitting, and want to ensure you're well-equipped with information before you start pursuing positions. It’s time to start putting a plan in place to make this dream a reality.
There are scores of resources online that would take hours and hours to scour through, but why don’t you let us do the work for you. We enlisted the help of some childcare experts to put together a step-by-step guide to get you started. So without further ado, take a look at our five-step guide to becoming a nanny.
5 steps to becoming a nanny
1. Gain childcare experience
There’s a good chance you already have some level of childcare experience that’s led you to want to become a nanny. Caring for a younger sibling or cousin has helped you learn responsibility and supervision. But having some formal childcare experience on your resume is valuable.
But don’t let that word intimidate you. ‘Formal’ childcare experience comes in many forms: working for a few weeks at a summer camp, caring for little ones in the nursery at church, taking a summer job at a daycare or volunteering at an after-school program are all great examples.
This kind of experience is hugely helpful, according to Tammy Gold, author of Secrets of the Nanny Whisperer. She explains that not only are you acquiring practical experience in caring for young ones, but you’re also building a directory of references to validate your ability.
2. Create a nanny profile
The Internet has become the meeting place for nannies and parents. Technological advancements have made it even easier with several websites dedicated to connecting the two parties. A few popular resources are Care.com and Sittercity. Both websites allow nannies to create a free profile for potential clients to browse. Gold says that a profile with the following elements will really impress parents:
- A detailed resume with a timeline of your previous experience
- References from those who can vouch for your character and childcare abilities
- A background check (often these services are provided on the websites)
- Any educational and/or medical certifications
- A list of updated vaccines
3. Get CPR & first aid certified
Not all families will require these certifications but having them will certainly signify that you’re serious about the health and safety of the children in your care. Hopefully you’ll never encounter a situation where you have to use this training, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Most communities offer both CPR and first aid certification courses. You can visit the Red Cross website to search for nearby classes and register. If you are not yet certified but are willing to upon request, be sure to include that in your nanny profile as well.
4. Consider earning an associate degree
Nannying can be a competitive field. Earning a degree in early childhood education is one of the best ways to stand out amongst your competition, according to Mary Muhs, Rasmussen College School of Education dean.
“Parents are looking for their children’s caregivers to do more than just watch the children or provide transportation,” says Muhs. She explains that parents want a skilled nanny who can cultivate a learning environment from the earliest ages. A nanny with a foundation in early childhood education can lead fun, educational activities while also teaching children guidance and discipline.
Other benefits of a formal education include:
- Health, safety and nutritional applications to maintain a safe household
- Three externship courses that provide students hands-on application of their courses
- A field externship experience that a nanny position would fulfill
5. Get out there, apply & interview!
Even if you check all of the boxes listed above, you can’t expect the perfect nanny position to fall into your lap. Don’t leave it up to the families to find you—show your initiative and desire by seeking them out first. Be proactive in connecting with families and never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth advertising. Spread the word to past employers, friends and family that you’re looking for a position. When you get a lead on a job, be sure to speak on the phone with a family member first. Then choose a public location where you can meet. Keep in mind while they’re interviewing you that you are also interviewing them. Be upfront about your expectations and ask that they do the same so that you ensure you know as much as you can about the family, your work-environment and other important factors of the job. It’s important that it’s a good fit for everyone!
Set yourself apart
Now you know how to become a nanny in five simple steps. Who knows, this may open doors you never even considered for your future. Learn how becoming a nanny is the perfect stepping stone into the world of early childhood education.