Nanny & Baby-Sitter Must-Haves

There are some things you need to be a successful nanny and/or babysitter. Some things are obvious – like a love for children, while some aren’t things you would think about right away. Here’s a list I’ve compiled when people ask me what they need to look for in a nanny or babysitter. I’ve tailored it to more of a “what should I have?” perspective.

1) A love for and understanding of children. However obvious this might be, you’d be surprised at some of the horror stories I’ve heard from parents. You truly need to love and understand children. They are not little adults. They should not be treated as such.

2) First aid and CPR certification. Don’t rely on calling 911 and having them tell you what to do. What happens if that little 9 month old starts choking in their high chair? Are you going to go running around looking for a phone, dial 911, give them your address, and then wait for them to relay directions to you all while that poor baby is going without oxygen? No. You need to know how to react and get what they’re choking on out of their airway immediately. Note: For infants and children (0-8 years old), if you know CPR and you are alone with the child, you are supposed to complete two minutes worth of compressions/breaths and then call 911. For adults if you are alone, you call 911 first and then start CPR. In both cases, if someone is with you, have them call 911 while you begin CPR. source #1 source #2 source #3

3) This one goes with the must-have above. You need a calm demeanor when handling stressful situations. The child you are watching doesn’t want you freaking out when you see blood dribbling out of their mouth after they fall. They need you to be able to remain calm, fix their boo boo, and soothe them. Ever heard that a child, especially a baby, can tell when you’re upset? It’s true. Many times I’ve found my blood pressure rising as a baby screams and fights sleep in my arms. After simply closing my eyes, taking a few deep breaths, and relaxing, it’s amazing how fast they fall asleep!

4) Availability. I’m not saying you need to devote every single night and weekend to babysitting. However if a parent calls and asks if you can watch their child, and your answer is consistently “no”, they will stop calling. If I can’t watch a child when a parent asks because I already have plans, I like to at least offer them another day where I can. If you’re a nanny, more than likely you’ll have a regular schedule that’s worked out between you and the child’s parents. {Having a planner definitely helps keep track of what and when you’re doing something so you don’t over book yourself. I highly recommend Erin Condren Planners. Pricey, but oh so worth it!}

5) Ideas. As an adult, you would still want to be able to get out and do things or at least break up the monotony of every day. I mean, you at least get to go to work, school, the store, and explore other things besides your house right? You wouldn’t want to be trapped inside all day playing with and doing the same things over and over and over. The same goes for a child. So, as a nanny (or babysitter), you need to be able to provide the children you watch with different experiences to create learning opportunities, help curb boredom, and to just allow the child some fun! Have a list (mental or written down) of ideas you can do with the children you watch. I know somewhere where there’s tons of ideas. Hint – it’s my blog 😉