We’re proud of the community we have at Sittercity. Babysitters and nannies regularly check in with each other to share info and ask questions in our Facebook group. Everyone is so willing to share their experience and advice to build up others and the profession as a whole. It’s really a beautiful thing.
To continue supporting our sitters and nannies in their professional development, we asked our community, “What advice would you give to other sitters on how to get to know a new family?” Thank you to everyone willing to share your thoughts and make us stronger for it!
You need to let the family speak first and then join in with your ideas of giving quality care.
Andrea B. | Millsboro, DE
I absolutely always like to first do a phone interview and then do an in-person interview where I get to spend time with both the parents and the kids. This helps build rapport and helps gauge how good of a fit we will be for each other.
Marie M. | Bensalem, PA
I have done the getting to know you game with children. You take turns sharing your likes and dislikes, favorite activities etc. Its a good icebreaker.
Linda S. | Tewksbury, MA
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Families love someone who cares and wants to get to know them, not just their checkbook. Ask questions at the interview! And when you get the job, hang out for 10 minutes after your shift and talk to them.
Bridgette K. | Flower Mound, TX
Simply ask questions. I play games with the kids and see what they are into. I share a part of my life and we get to know each other better.
Nickita C. | Mansfield, TX
Go to the family home an spend time with the family and child.
Deborah H. | Broadway, NC
Keep an open mind, and don’t make hasty assumptions. Communicate, with both children and parents. Listen well to both.
Gail W. | Gilbert, AZ
Make the most of small talk during pick up. Drop off can be hard but pick up is a good way to tell them about the kid’s day, ask if they act similarly at home, and conversation usually just runs from there.
Holly B. | Appleton, WI
Ask a lot of questions in the interview. You are interviewing them also to see if they are a good fit. I would recommend a trial period when you first begin working with a new family while you get to know them also.
Kim G. | Philadelphia, PA
Having meals with families is a huge help in getting to know them. All situations are different, but for most nannies and sitters, you’re there when the parents aren’t. If you’re going to be with a family long term, I would highly recommend setting up a dinner with the whole family. This will help establish a relationship and increase trust and comfort level moving forward. Having a good relationship with the parents, in my experience, has been hugely beneficial in being able to navigate challenges later. This is a hard job, and having a good relationship with the parents, where you can communicate difficulties and work together to find solutions that benefit everyone is crucial.
Hannah B. | Austin, TX
An initial phone interview is a great glimpse into someone’s personality and how the conversation might ebb and flow. Meeting in person is a big help in seeing how both sides interact with each other and to get a feel for how the family runs, but I would also highly suggest requesting a trial day/few days if all goes well. A job might seem to check all the right criteria in the beginning, but being able to have some first-hand experience of the day-to-day is a big advantage for the nanny to make the decision if it is going to truly work for them.
Jamie M. | Weymouth, MA
Spend time really listening, noticing their interests, asking questions. Acknowledge the parents are the experts on their own children, and you want to hear how you can help their family thrive. It’s all about building the relationship of respect and trust and empowerment of the family. Find out how you can help encourage the children to pursue their interests.
Jenna S. |Santa Cruz, CA
Be yourself! 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
Many things are taken into consideration in forming relationships with anyone. Honesty will always build trust and trust is the foundation for any healthy relationship. Ask how the family prefers to handle situations that arise and discuss them as a team. The more questions you ask the quicker you’ll get to know the family.
Melanie P. | North Kingstown, RI
Take mental notes of their interests that surround you. If they are health conscious, share a daily update of what you did to help their family succeed in this area. If they love the outdoors make sure you tell them how much outdoor time the child gets per visit. Whatever quality they chose from your resume to select you, be sure to be consistent in that area. What’s important to them should become equally as important to you.
Rajean C. | Palmetto, GA
Everyone is different but I like to not plan too much for a first meeting with the kids. Prepare to meet the parents and impress their pants off! But when I’ve met my nanny kids I’ve tried to set it up so I can just join them in their usual activities. Sorting baseball cards, doing an art project, or playing a game or sport. My most recent family let the kids give me a tour of the house.
Rachel D. | Chicago, IL
My advice is to LISTEN, and WATCH, get your feet grounded before you voice your opinion on certain subjects. Remember, older parents may be more responsive than younger first-time parents to your idea or way of doing things. But if you feel anyway uncomfortable about how a situation is handled, please speak up even if it may cost you a job!
Sandra S. | Boston, MA
One of the best things for me was being honest about what I do outside of babysitting. I initially wanted to seem very professional but when the family learned I am into board games and Dungeons and Dragons and being a musician, we suddenly had a ton in common and would often have long conversations about it. All the things I assumed I would be judged on wound up being common ground.
Shannon N. | Williamstown, NJ