Career burnout is a real and scary thing. Teachers, educators, and caregivers are all important, but what happens when you need a shift in your work environment? Some may think that the classroom is the only option for a full-time career working with children, or not fully understand the other options that could potentially be a better fit. So for those with a teaching background that may be interested in being a career nanny, here’s how you can make a smooth transition forward.
1. Do Your Homework
Research the type of nanny you want to be. The schedule options range from full-time, part-time, to temporary. In addition to being a traditional nanny, you could also specialize in newborn care or sleep training.
Take the time to imagine your ideal workday so you can create an experience that will benefit you. It should allow you to be the best version of yourself for the potential family. If you’re not a morning person, don’t apply for a 6 a.m. job. Maybe look into being a nighttime nanny?
It’s important to gather all the information—nanny is the umbrella but there are so many categories underneath. Before making the shift, figure out which category is a match for you.
2. Bring Your Classroom Skills Into the Home
Use your educational background to your advantage. Contrary to cultural assumptions, nannies do more than “play” with children. Parents are choosing in-home care for a more customized experience. Having the ability to create an effective lesson plan, age-appropriate lessons, and crafts are great advantages in tailoring personalized care to each child.
3. Be Consistent and Prompt
You’re the only adult in charge, so it’s important to maintain dependability. Establish a schedule that supports the family and be on time. One of the best qualities for any caregiver or educator is people knowing they can depend on you. Life happens beyond our control sometimes, but open and honest communication is a huge part of the job too.
4. Bring the Excitement
Being a nanny opens the opportunity to get creative and more hands-on—regardless of the age of the children you’re working with. The possibilities are endless and you get to tailor activities to the family and child’s interest. Whether you’re with a family for 8-hour days or just 4, make that time an enriching experience for the child. The smaller ratio allows for so much more creative freedom and it gives the child an advantage to learn in a way they may not get in a traditional classroom.
5. Find Your Tribe
Support is needed on this journey—for the experienced and even the newbies just like yourself. Finding a support group/friends that understand nanny life is important. Specified advice and relatability are essential; you need the support and the connections to succeed, like any other career.
But your tribe also includes the family you’ll be working with. You’re in their home with their child(ren) and that’s one of the biggest differences from the classroom. During the interview, the family is making sure you’re qualified and trustworthy to be in their home and with the child. When you accept the job offer it’s like you’re saying: yes, I trust you too. The parent is your partner in teaching and disciplining the child. Teamwork is a big part of nannying, it also assures growth and development for the child.
6. Practice Healthy Boundaries
Beyond the family’s needs, life happens and just like any other career, you may have personal emergencies and changes. It’s important to keep a professional boundary, but that line doesn’t stop all parties involved from being human. You’ll talk, laugh, and get to know each other better. That creates a good, solid work environment—and that will be great for the child(ren), the parents, and you.
If you’re considering this type of career change, know why you’re making the pivot. The experience can be an eye-opener or you can instantly regret it. Be able to communicate, have firm boundaries, and join a family with pure intentions.