You applied to jobs, went through the interview and negotiating process, and you’ve been officially hired as a caregiver—congratulations! The next big hurdle is the nerves that come with your first day of work. Here are a few things to help you feel prepared and confident going into your first day on the job.
Connect With the Family/Kids Before the First Official Workday
Getting familiar with a new family takes time, but one way that you can ease into getting to know one another is simply by spending time together. There’s a lot to think about on your first day on the job, so it would help to find time before then to hang out with the whole family. This could be going out to lunch together, meeting up at the park, or even attending one of the kid’s sporting events, like a soccer game. However you do it, it will definitely lessen any awkward newness on your first day and help make everyone a little more comfortable.
Be Prepared With Questions About What You Need To Know
Interviews are great to talk about subjects in a general sense. When you’re actually working, there are a lot more specifics to know in order to do your job well. The parent may or may not be prepared with this information when you arrive, so it’s your responsibility to ask questions to make sure you’re prepared.
- Activities and rooms that are off-limits
- Food available for meals or snacks
- Household rules/policies
- Safety procedures, first aid kits, alarm systems, and emergency contact information
- Chores that need to be done
- Homework that needs to be completed
- Behavior-related challenges
- If using a car with the kids: familiarity with the vehicle and car seats
- Communication preferences: text/call, photos? log of activities?
If the parent is working from home:
- What kind of work do they need to get done? (Meetings at specific times, uninterrupted time to focus on work, household tasks, errands, etc.)
- What room(s) do they need just for themself? What rooms can be shared?
- If you’ll all be having lunch together, or to plan on doing this separately.
- If there’s anything specific that the kids need to get accomplished today, school-related or not.
- Is there an outdoor space that’s safe to play in?
Are there any activities that are off-limits due to noise/distraction?
Most of these questions are for the parents to answer, but don’t forget about the kids in your introduction to the house. Suggest that they give you a tour of their home so that they feel included. They can show you where they like to play and what they like to do. This is also a great way to transition their focus from the parent leaving to playing with a new friend.
Reflect On What The Parents Focused On In The Interview
Match Parent Priorities
Take mental notes of their interests that came up during the interview. If they’re health-conscious, be thoughtful about what the kids are eating/drinking and how much physical activity they get. If they love the outdoors, make sure you make choices that take you outside.
Highlight Your Expertise
There are probably a few specific reasons why the parents hired you. Keep those things in mind and be sure to be consistent in those areas. What’s important to them should become equally as important to you.
Pack Your Bag
As a babysitter or nanny, you have to be prepared for pretty much anything at a moment’s notice. Kids are skilled at finding themselves in situations that leave them dirty, injured, sticky, hungry, cranky, or any combination of those things. Having the right essentials in your bag could mean the difference between an unraveling meltdown in the park and a few tears in between games. Here’s a list of the essential go-to’s to pack in your bag to make sure you’re ready for anything that comes your way.
Being professional is important, but don’t forget that child care is a personal job. You can shine and do your best work when you’re not trying to be someone you aren’t. Here’s some advice from an experienced Sittercity sitter:
“Be confident! Getting to know a new family can be intimidating but just be who you are and enjoy getting to know them. It’s a choice you make; either you can choose to have an awkward first encounter or a really relaxing and nice time! Take a deep breath, step into the home, and love your new family.”
Lexie O. | El Cajon, CA