Being a great nanny requires more than a genuine love of children. Nannies work long hours in private homes and most often work no supervision or daily oversight. Parents depend on their nannies to keep their children safe and well-cared for and to provide the highest level of childcare so that they can fulfill their personal or professional commitments.
If you’re considering hiring a nanny or becoming one, here are 25 characteristics we believe great nannies have in common.
- A great nanny genuinely loves the company of children. Nannies spend a majority of their day with little adult interaction and must truly enjoy spending their time with children.
- A great nanny has a basic understanding of child development. Nannies are childcare specialists and are responsible for providing the children with developmentally appropriate experiences.
- A great nanny advocates for the children in her care. Nannies are willing to speak up if their charges’ well-being is compromised or if something is not in their best interest, while recognizing the parents have final say.
- A great nanny has lots of energy. Nannies are responsible for actively engaging the children in their care and must have the energy to do so.
- A great nanny has a reserve of patience. Nannies spend countless hours with children and must be able to handle children’s moods and behaviors without losing their temper or becoming outwardly irritated.
- A great nanny is safety conscious. Nannies are solely responsible for the children when they are on duty and must consider the children’s safety first and foremost.
- A great nanny is a good communicator. Nannies have to effectively relay and receive information from parents and children. Solid communication skills are required.
- A great nanny is flexible. Life with children can be unpredictable. Nannies must be able to adapt to the situations they face.
- A great nanny is understanding. Nannies are in the business of caring for others. Compassion and understanding are paramount.
- A great nanny has a nurturing spirit. Nannies are responsible for supporting and encouraging children and must be able to foster their development.
- A great nanny is reliable. Parents rely on nannies so that they can fulfill their obligations. Nannies must be able to be counted on.
- A great nanny is responsible. Nannies are accountable for the children in their care. They must be capable of proving quality childcare.
- A great nanny is trustworthy. Parents depend on nannies to meet or exceed the terms of their working relationship. Nannies are trusted to do their job well and to provide outstanding care.
- A great nanny is respectful. Nannies and parents may not always agree on childrearing practices or decisions. Nannies must be respectful of the parents and their practices and honor the authority they have.
- A great nanny has sound judgment. Nannies share responsibility for the children’s health and development and must be able to make choices that are in the children’s best interests.
- A great nanny is organized. Nannies have many responsibilities throughout the day and must be organized to ensure that they fulfill their duties and complete their tasks.
- A great nanny is self-motivated. Nannies don’t have someone constantly looking over their shoulders offering praise for a job well done. Nannies must be motivated to always do their job to the best of their abilities.
- A great nanny is prepared to handle an emergency. Children get hurt and natural disasters and accidents happen. Nannies must know how to handle an emergency if one were to arise.
- A great nanny is creative. Nannies must engage the minds of the children in their care. To work as a nanny, imagination is required.
- A great nanny is proactive. When it comes to discipline, safety and meeting the children’s needs, nannies must be proactive rather than reactive.
- A great nanny has a clean criminal background. Nannies help raise children to become good, law abiding citizens and serve as role models to the children in their care. Because of the intimate nature of the job, nannies should not have a history of criminal activity.
- A great nanny has strong morals. Nannies help shape a child’s worldview and set their internal compass. It should be evident nannies know right from wrong and must be of sound moral character.
- A great nanny is able to form a connection with children. To develop bonds with the children in their care nannies must be able to connect with children. Nannies naturally make connections with kids.
- A great nanny wants to be a nanny. To work as a nanny a caregiver must love the nature of the job. Those who look to nanny because they can’t find other types of employment rarely stay in the field for long.
- A great nanny is committed to making a positive difference in the lives of the children in her care. Nannies influence the children in their care and must acknowledge the importance of the role they play in the lives of the children. Nannies must commit to making a positive difference in the lives of the children for whom they care.
While of course a nanny, like any parent, will have an occasional day where she’s less energetic or short-tempered, overall these 25 characteristics are clearly evident in a great nanny and should be strongly valued when evaluating a current or potential caregiver. If you’re considering becoming a nanny or already working as one, we encourage you to continue to develop these characteristics so that you can become the best caregiver you can be.