Before taking full charge of children, the family will usually initially invest some of their time to go through the routines with you and things that your should be aware of.
Naturally, just the thought of it can be nerve-wracking, however it is best to see this as an opportunity to ask questions, observe, and see how mum interacts with her baby or toddler.
To help you, follow the checklist below:
Get educated: before starting your new position, take perhaps additional relevant childcare lessons if needed and get/renew your 1st aid training, find more information on verified websites and talk with other parents with similar aged children to help you to stay on top of things.
Be professional: avoid using your phone, gossiping, smoking, using bad language etc. during your work time, respect the family, stick to the routine introduced by the parents (with time you can adapt it accordingly).
Positive attitude: note that the parents, when they are leaving their child with the new nanny for the first time, can be overwhelmed, so they may be checking on you more, however don’t take things personally, try to understand that these are sensitive times for the parents and try to learn how to communicate with them and maintain positive attitude at all times.
Maintain personal hygiene and personal appearance, look after your health: babies and small children are yet to develop immune system, so they are very susceptible to illness, so make sure that you are in good health, wear comfortable and basic clothes and shoes, avoid jewellery that can be yanked, pulled or chewed, have umbrella or a raincoat with you.
Get emergency information: parents full info, address, emergency numbers and emails, child’s full name, medical info, nearest hospital.
Feeding information: If you look after the baby, you could ask the parents how they want you to heat up the bottle (bottle warmer or microwave, how warm), if there are any clues that the baby indicates they are hungry and if they are feeding their baby at set intervals (e.g. every two hours). Toddlers may be fussy eaters, it is important to tackle this the right way, talk with parents about what is acceptable, be persistent and work towards solutions and growing out this phase. Ensure you are aware of any allergies or food intolerances.
Comfort of the baby and toddler: When the baby cries, try everything to comfort them. Check if their diaper is soiled, they are hungry, or they want a soother. Perhaps they are cold or too hot, the noise or light is bothering them. Maybe they only want to be held. Toddlers may experience pains due to tooth growing or their little accident, the best way is to make them forget about them by playing with them, taking for a walk, listening to soothing music, etc.
Sleeping: make sure the baby is on their back and that there are no objects in the cot bed, try to not provide them too much stimulation before their nap times. Toddlers normally also require additional nap times during day times, so familiarize yourself with the routine.
Activities: from voice talking, singing, rhymes and games, babbling, gentle cooing for babies to constructing towers, finger painting, singing, cooking dinner together, exploring nature etc. for toddlers, activities should support their development. Focus on fun, don’t forget to smile and make eye contact.
Go the extra mile: parents are often tired and stressed, it is a nice gesture for you to do the dishes, fold laundries or clean up toys while the baby or toddler sleeps.
Communication: provide feedback and updates to parents, communicate if their child don't seem to be right, isn't happy or is ill.
To keep in mind: the most important thing about the childcare is the children's well-being (security, comfort, safety and growth) and the end goal is raising a curious and kind children.
Optional: some nannies will keep a nanny diary to show and inform the parents about their child’s day (information about what their baby or toddler has eaten, drunk, how much they’ve slept, learning activities, mishaps and medication).