To those with no first-hand experience in the industry, it can be tricky to understand what makes the difference between a good nanny and a great nanny. It can often appear as though what’s offered is a simple provision of childcare services in accordance with the wishes of the parents – a pretty black and white process that’s either done appropriately or otherwise.
In reality however this couldn’t be further from the truth – something best-illustrated by the way in which some life-long professional nannies earn six-figures a year, while others struggle to find each subsequent job. Like all career areas and vocations, there are certain skills, qualities and characteristics that come into play when it comes to distinguishing between a nanny and a world-class professional nanny. Most nanny agencies in London will these days only ever go for the latter of the two. Amateurs who are looking to break onto the scene will have little choice but to prove themselves right from the get-go.
So with this in mind, what exactly are the kinds of traits, qualities and skills that separate the UK’s good nannies from the industry’s true elite?
Well, first and foremost it is impossible to reach the higher levels of the nanny industry unless you have a genuine passion for what you do. As is the case in many other career areas, it is simply impossible to get ahead or even get by if this is not what you want to do and all you want to do. If you’re out to make a bit of extra money on the side or simply need the experience on your CV, you can forget about it. Great nannies have a relentless and insatiable passion for everything they do and will stop at nothing to look after those in their care, along with the best interests of the family they work for as a whole. This kind of passion you simply cannot fake or be taught.
Reliability also comes into the equation as it’s one thing to be available only at select hours during the week and another to be there pretty much around the clock as and when needed. To be a great nanny doesn’t mean giving up your whole life and never clocking off again, but it most certainly does mean knowing where your priorities lie. This is of particular important for those signing up for the first time as it’s during these early years that a nanny’s reputation will be set in stone – give the impression your priorities lie elsewhere and you may struggle.
Some nannies specialise on watching over the kids, others are great at standard domestic chores and then there are those that go the whole hog to do pretty much everything across the board. This simple fact of the matter is that the more you’re willing and able to do, the better your long-term prospects will be. Some nannies turn their noses up at the idea of cleaning the family bathroom – others relish the opportunity to get stuck into an essential job. The same goes for cooking, looking after pets and even helping with light yard work.
Versatility is a truly desirable trait in any nanny.
Everyone has bad moods, bad days and in some cases bad weeks, but as a nanny you’re expected to leave your problems at the door and remain positive at all times. This also applies to any jobs you’re asked to carry out, which should be met with enthusiasm and confidence rather than a tired shrug and a sense of general apathy.
Your attitude will rub off on everyone else in the home – positivity therefore being the order of the day, every day.
More Than Just a Baby-Sitter
Last but not least, what really separates a great nanny from a good nanny is the way in which the former serves as so much more than just a carer to watch over a child’s health and needs. The very best nannies in the industry become nothing less than teachers, substitute parents, best friends and role models for children of all ages – a heavy responsibility to say the least. In short, you can and will have a huge influence on the child’s upbringing and therefore their life as a whole – you need to be willing and able to put your heart and soul into every single day.
The gap between baby-sitter and a supreme nanny is every bit as wide as the ocean.