Have you ever started a nanny or babysitting job and thought, “this would be so much easier if the parents understood me better?” You’re not alone. Many caregivers have signed on with a new family only to find that expectations are unclear, it’s not a good personality fit, or their work style is different than what the family is looking for.

So how can you avoid awkward conversations or early turnover at a new babysitter job? Here are a few tips for finding the right fit before you’re hired.

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Know Yourself

There are no right or wrong personalities. People are just different, and some personalities work better together than others. Knowing who you are and how you work can help you express your needs and personality during interviews. Is your energy while caring for kids generally calm or are you more goofy and upbeat? Will you always follow the family’s lead when it comes to house rules, bedtimes, and homework schedules, or do you like to have some influence on that structure? Do you like to bring your own creative playtime activities and craft projects or do you prefer to only play with what the kids already have?

Having an idea of your own talents, personality, and work style helps you find the roles that are best for you.

Understand What Families are Looking For

When you meet a potential new employer, listen carefully when they describe their needs. One family might be looking for someone to motivate their children who swim competitively, make meal plans without support, and help the kids with homework. Another might have two toddlers with a set daily schedule, and ask that you follow a strict feeding plan and list of activities.

Take note of the details, ask detailed follow-up questions about their expectations, and decide which opportunities fit best with your own personality.

 

Come Prepared

There might be questions the family hasn’t thought to ask in order to get to know you. Thankfully, there are many resources that can give them objective insight into who you are as a caregiver. Whether it’s Enneagram, Myers Briggs, StrengthsFinder, Knowing Nanny, or whatever your favorite assessment is, you can use those results to help better describe who you are to families.

Bringing this information to interviews shows that you want the job, you’re transparent, and you’re looking for a role that fits the family’s needs as well as your own needs and skills. Equally, prepare questions to engage the family in providing you with similar information about the parents and the kids. The fit needs to work from all sides.

Know When to Say No

Sometimes, you’ll encounter families that just don’t seem like a good fit for your personality and needs. And that’s ok! Don’t feel like you have to commit just because it’s a job. There are plenty of other families who are looking for a sitter like you. Waiting to meet the right one can save you a lot of time in the long run—you could be looking for another babysitting job in six months if it’s not a good fit anyway. Don’t be afraid to turn down offers that don’t seem like the right role for you.

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