Tips for Nannies and Babysitters

Here are some handy tips to help you enjoy your babysitting job!

How to prepare for a babysitting or nanny interview

  • Wear smart casual clothes for your interview.
  • Take a short resume to the interview, including the details of referees names and numbers.
  • Bring along your Background Check and any other credentials or qualifications to show the parents during the interview.
  • Prepare some answers to questions the parents are likely to ask you about the role and your experience.
  • Prepare a few questions you’d like to ask the parents about the role and the children.

What to wear for a babysitting or nanny job

  • Wear neat casual clothing for your babysitting job.
  • Make sure you are comfortable and able to move around easily. E.g., sit on the floor with a toddler, carry a baby around, and play games with the kids.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, especially if you expect you’ll be walking and playing with the children.
  • Take extra layers of clothes to be prepared for the weather during the day or evening. E.g., bring a hat or a sweater.

How to get ready for a babysitting job

  • One day before the babysitting job, send a text to confirm the details.
  • Plan your travel time before you depart.
  • Ask the parents about parking if you are driving.
  • If you are driving the children to activities, ask the parents about the locations, addresses and times so you’re well prepared.
  • Check if there’s any important information to know about the children’s dietary needs, medical issues, health, wellbeing or other relevant details.
  • Make sure you are well-rested and well-fed so you'll have lots of energy for your babysitting job!

What to bring to your babysitting or nanny shift

  • Bring along something to act as an ice-breaker with the child (e.g., a sticker, a print-out from a kids' website).
  • Bring your own snacks or meal if needed. Sometimes the family will provide this.
  • Remember to bring along any extra clothes you may need for the day or evening.
  • If you expect you’ll have some quiet time (e.g., a baby sleeping) bring along some things to do. e.g., laptop, some study, a magazine or book.

What to do when you arrive at your babysitting job

  • Arrive a few minutes early or right on time.
  • When you arrive, greet both the parents and the child.
  • Ask the parents if there’s a routine to follow. e.g., dinner time, bathtime, bed time.
  • Check that you have the parents’ phone numbers and emergency contacts if needed.
  • Confirm that you have any relevant information about the house. E.g., heating or cooling systems, the door key, a spare torch etc.

How to handle separation anxiety when babysitting

  • Ask the parents if their child usually struggles with separation and if they have any tips. e.g, a comfort toy, a favorite game or tv show to watch.
  • If needed, spend some time overlapping with the parents, so the child can build trust with you.
  • If possible, engage the child in an activity before the parents leave.
  • When the parents leave, ensure they say good-bye briefly. It’s ideal to be transparent that they’re leaving and they’ll be back.
  • If the child is upset, stay calm, acknowledge the child’s feelings, then move onto an activity. “I know you feel sad,, let’s go find your favorite toy. Can you show me where it is?”
  • Focus on an activity together. Create a calm, positive environment. This will reassure the child that they are safe and will enjoy time with you too.

What to do while babysitting

  • Have fun while babysitting! Play with the kids! Get involved in some games.
  • Brush up on popular songs, movies and pop stars so you can engage with the children. Be the best babysitter! :)
  • Ask about the children’s interests. Play and talk about their favorite things.
  • Have a few ideas ready for simple games or activities e.g., build a pillow fort, play a card game, read some books.
  • Keep calm at all times. Use the power of distraction to help switch around a situation.

How to put children to bed when babysitting

  • Check what time the children usually go to bed and be guided by this.
  • Ask the parents about the usual bedtime routine. E.g., brushing teeth before bed, reading stories before bed, turning on or off any lights, using comfort toys or blankets.
  • Check if there are any settling or sleep strategies recommended by the parents if the children can’t fall asleep.
  • Be patient, kind and flexible - it may take a little longer for children to settle to sleep for a new babysitter.

What to do after the children are in bed

  • Check the children during the evening to make sure they are safely tucked in bed (unless the parents ask you not to do so).
  • Ask the parents if they’d like you to write brief notes about the events of the evening (e.g. "7pm drank milk, played quiet games, read picture books, 7:30pm bedtime with no fuss. Has been sleeping soundly.").
  • Respect the parents' privacy. Don't enter other areas of the home unless required.
  • If you expect you’ll have spare time, ask the parents if there’s anything else you can help with during the quiet time. E.g., fold some washing, tidy the kitchen.
  • Leave the house as tidy as you found it. Wash out your coffee cup, tidy up the kids' toys or books that may have been left out. Parents will be so grateful for your help!

We hope these tips help set you up for success with your babysitting and nanny jobs!

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