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March 2019

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Nannies Transitioning from Non-Staffed to Staffed Households

Are you considering starting a Nanny career within a private household or have you ever worked for a family that comes with ‘chefs, drivers, cleaners, grounds-men, personal assistants, house managers, security, and multiple Nannies?’.

Here I share my experiences and thoughts, explain how different it is from working with a family who has none of that and hope to help prepare you, for when you are in a similar situation.

When I started Nannying, a few of my positions involved multiple household tasks as well as nursery duties. I was often called ‘Super Nanny’, by friends and family who would ask ‘how do you do it?’. I remember as soon as I put the children down for a nap or quiet time, I’d be running around the house doing the laundry, washing up, preparing meals, cooking, cleaning the children’s spaces, writing lists and planning the next activity. Every time the parents came home from work, I’d be sat completely relaxed with the children all fed, bathed and in their pajamas with all jobs, activities and errands done. I liked going the extra mile and helping the families out as much as I could. I was learning about how much it takes to run a household and care for children full-time.

However, as I furthered my Nanny education and experience, my next positions were completely different. Becoming a part of a private household I had to learn to work alongside other household staff and had to accept that ‘its not my job anymore’. Times cropped up where I was required to make a snack or drive the children to where they/myself needed to go and when required to travel with the family, my duties increased. On a whole I pretty much spent my entire working hours, focusing on caring solely for the children, filling their day with as much stimulation as possible, whilst other household staff completed their required duties.

Working in a private household comes with many challenges, as no two days are ever the same. However, this variety can make the role really enjoyable, if you have the right attitude and personality. You do become an integral part of the family and are relied on heavily to keep the household running smoothly. Families that have a lot of help often live a fast-paced lifestyle, so having flexibility and be able to work with ever changing timetables and routines is a skill you will require.

Each family will be different and you must therefore adapt your working style to suit each individual household. Some families will want to interact with you and will want you to feel that you are part of the family, other more formal households will not want this personal interaction. They will want you to be seen but not heard and will expect you to do your role with very little conversation, with family members.

You will encounter times where you want to step back and give parents some space to spend time with their children, some parents appreciate that or request you to take a break. Others may not want you to leave when they are interreacting with their children because when they have had enough, they are able to leave the children in your care right away so they can do as they please. Having household staff run your home is ‘the norm’ in some countries, in others only the rich or famous would live like this.

It is vital that you take your time when applying and interviewing for positions as finding the right family to suit your personality and working style will have a direct impact on your level of enjoyment and success in the position.

Speak with parents about all aspects of the job, hours can be long and you need to make sure you both know each others expectations before you start. Getting so involved in the day to day running of a home in previous positions, where families haven’t had household staff is a big change to working in private households, as taking a step back can sometimes be quite challenging. By talking through exactly how the home is run should prepare you more so, helping you to settle quicker.

Working with household staff, you become your own little family and many of them usually come from different parts of the world, which is a great way to learn about different cultures and cuisine. Other incentives for Nannies can be lots of travel, higher salaries, experience living a VIP lifestyle and other rewards and benefits.

Now, not every day will run smoothly, but if you find a family who works together, communicates and respects each other, you will find it to be a very positive environment to work in.
Remember, the perfect match between yourself and a family can result in a rewarding and successful Nanny career.