Written by Emma Roberts
So you think you’ve got what it takes to be a Student Nanny? It can be a great way to earn a bit of cash to help stretch your student loan a little further, plus through the parents you meet you’ll make career contacts that should help when you graduate.
Ideally Student Nannies will like kids, have some babysitting experience (whether for neighbours as a teenager, for family members or in youth and sports groups) and be undaunted by bossy 8 year-olds or requests to run around the garden in a Batman cape!
There are a few other key qualities you’ll need in order to survive and thrive too, here goes…
It goes without saying that you’re going to need the parents to trust you. They’re going to be leaving their precious children in your care so they will need to get to know you a little first, make sure you’ll fit in well with their family and can be trusted to look after them. A calm, kind, confident and capable attitude, clean record, references and an up-to-date DBS certificate will all help here.
There’s a bit more to this nannying lark than watching TV in somebody else’s house while the kids sleep; we’re not in an American teen movie now. Lots of parents need help with after-school care, so you might be expected to collect your child or children from school and then keep them occupied til their parents return from work. And this doesn’t mean sticking them in front of the TV for hours! Parents love that Student Nannies make smart company for their kids and they’ll probably expect you to come up with some fun activities (whether it’s craft/baking/a trip to the park) as well as helping with homework and making them tea. Consider your strengths, what are you studying? Maybe you can use this to your advantage to plan some things the kids will enjoy. Or Pinterest is a great source of inspiration.
Working parents have a lot on their plate and the idea is that Student Nannies can help to make this juggling act a little less stressful. But to do this you’ll have to be reliable. And we mean SUPER reliable. No getting engrossed in the library and forgetting school pick-up; arriving late or not showing up. Once you’ve agreed to the hours per week that a family needs you (say every Wednesday, 3pm til 7.30pm), you need to make that commitment every week. And the parent won’t want to have to remind you every week – like any job you’ll be expected to turn up when you are required. If there are any dates you can’t make then give as much notice as possible. Be reliable and trustworthy and the families you work for will be thankful, generous, will probably offer you extra babysitting work and will be even more proactive in helping you with career connections. It’s all about helping each other!
Children have a lot of energy, so you need to as well. Even if you’ve had the longest day of lectures and revision ever, you still need to turn up enthusiastic to spend time with the kids. You might be in for a marathon Lego-building session, or a kick-about in the garden but your young charges will see right through you if you make excuses or fake it, so take some time out to get yourself ready beforehand. And remember how therapeutic child’s play can be!
If you don’t genuinely enjoy being a nanny or spending time with children then this really isn’t the job for you. Don’t get into this as a last resort job, parents need somebody who cares about and enjoys spending time with their children.
If you still think you have what it takes to be a super Student Nanny, then hop over to our sign-up page and find a local parent who needs your help with childcare today…
With thanks to Emma Roberts.