Tips for Working as a Caregiver
Advice for Caregivers

Tips for Working as a Caregiver

by Martha Scully

Think a job as a nanny is a breeze? While it is a casual position and not like any other type of job,  you still have to take it seriously. Follow these tips to ensure your employers are not dissatisfied with you!

Arriving late -This can be hard sometimes, as many nannies take public transit.  Arriving a few minutes late can cause a lot of stress for a parent.

Calling in sick - Finding replacement childcare can be tough for a parent, especially last minute. Although it can't be avoided, nannies should limit the number of sick days they take, or help the parent with a back-up child care solution.

The parent arriving to a complete mess - After working all day, the parent would really like to spend quality time with their child, not clean up after a nanny. Nannies should manage their time and involve children in clean-up, whenever possible.

Too many electronics for the kids - This is TV, iPods, computers, etc. As a parent, this would make my blood boil. If the parent has not provided guidelines for electronic usage, you should review it with them. To help you, the parents should make their expectations clear to the children. Sometimes it's best if it is written out and posted where the children can see it too.

Too many electronics for you - Although your work environment is casual, you are still an employee. Most employees are only allowed to text and make personal calls during breaks, and are not able to use the computer for personal use. Kids will likely mention to their parents if they notice you're always on your phone.

Having visitors over - If it is another nanny with kids, this is a great idea. If it is just a friend or a boyfriend of the nanny, this is never a good idea. Again, you are an employee and visiting should be done outside the workplace.

Feeding the kids junk food - Depending on the parent, most are okay with some junk food. But if it's provided all the time, a parent would assume this as not wanting to prepare food for the children. If the junk food is accessible to the children, ask the parents if you can move it out of their reach, or hide it from them so they're not asking for it all the time.

Nanny ate all the food - Surprisingly, we  get this complaint a lot. Parents often feel strange about talking to their nanny about it, but it really does bug them. It may feel like not a big deal to eat a bag of chocolate chips, but if the parent is planning a recipe and they are gone, you can understand why they would not be pleased.

Not communicating about problems - Parents are expecting that issues will come up from time to time. This is how being a nanny is different from a regular job. You are not expected to work everything out yourself! The parent has a personal interest in solving issues with you. When you address issues make sure it is not a complaint but rather you are looking to them for advice.

Thinking you know more than the parent - You may know more about crafts, cooking, time management, etc, but it is not likely that you know more about the child than the parent. Be careful giving advice to a parent about their child. If the parent asks you for suggestions be gentle with your responses.

Too much vacation - As a employee you are expected and entitled to take vacation. But, consider your role and try to schedule your vacation at the same time as the family. If that's not possible, make sure you provide a lot of notice and help them to find alternate child care whenever possible.

Not filling your free time - When the children are sleeping or our of the house, it doesn't mean you get a few hours' break. It is expected that you do some extra work around the house, and the work will be greatly appreciated.

See more Advice for Caregivers posts here.

About the Author
Martha Scully
Martha is the founder of Martha has been featured as a Child Care Expert in hundreds of publications across Canada including The Globe and Mail, CBC, Today's Parent and The National Post, She lives in British Columbia with her husband and two daughters.