Nine habits of great nannies
As we set about continuing to provide our clients with the best nannies available in Melbourne and Victoria, I think it’s also useful to remind ourselves from time to time of what it is that actually makes a great nanny. Here’s a list of the nine things I think really good nannies tend to do constantly, in no particular order:
- Constant and continuous learning. It really starts here because unless a nanny remains open to improvement, she will never be able to stay up to date and maintain the highest professional standards.
- Networking. This is really an extension of continuous learning. It is so easy in our profession to fall into the trap of developing ‘your way’ of doing things and then becoming complacent. Similarly, it can be easy to put up with challenges without seeking help. Staying in touch with other nannies – both face-to-face and online – is the perfect way to avoid both of these.
- Children first. Great nannies always make the interests of the children in their care their top priority. Always. For instance, if a nanny finds herself drawn to an external activity such as a regular morning tea with other nannies and their charges, she will first ask herself whether that gathering is providing real benefit to the children. Her own need for social interaction comes second.
- Communicate with parents – formally and informally. Keeping the communication channels open is absolutely essential for an ongoing, successful relationship with your clients. This is best done both formally, such as via a handover diary and regular review meetings, and informally with quick conversations at the start and end of the day.
- Take on constructive criticism. As hard as it is to do, we all need to be aware of our weaknesses, and one of the best ways to do that is to be open to the constructive observations of those around us. Try not take criticism personally: focus on the behaviour that could be changed, not on the feelings associated with having someone suggest that you’re not perfect.
- Stay in tune with your own needs and those of the children. As children grow, their needs inevitably change. Sometimes that can lead to the need for some hard decisions. If you’re most comfortable working with infants, for instance, then there might come a time when your charge is about three years old that you need to be willing to call time and move on to your next job.
- Know your rights. I’ve written about this many times before, but to succeed as a great nanny in the long term, you need to know and assert your legal rights. For example, do not accept domestic duties that go beyond those of a Nanny, and do not accept work from an agency that requires you to operate as a contractor with your own ABN.
- Know your obligations. This is the flip side of the previous point. As a professional nanny you need to be clear about your responsibilities, particularly with respect to duty of care over the children you are looking after and mandatory reporting requirements.
- Only work with accredited agencies that operate within the law. Again, I’ve written about this often, but no matter how tempting it is to do otherwise, you should only ever work with an agency that will employ you legally, that has thorough selection, placement and monitoring processes, and that provides ongoing professional development opportunities.
Of course a list like this is never complete so keep an eye out for an update at some point in the future. In the meantime, you might like to add any points you think I’ve missed via our Facebook page or join our closed Facebook group for Placement Solutions nannies (search for “Placement Solutions Nanny Forum” on Facebook today and request to join the group as a member).
Louise Dunham, CEO