So, you’ve signed the contract, and you are about to start your first day with a new family! You may be feeling a mix of excitement and nervousness—all valid things to feel. In anticipation of the start of your new position, you can take some steps to make sure you are fully prepared and ready to go into your first day with your best, and most professional, foot forward. Here are some suggestions:
- Plan your commute. If you have time before your first day, do a trial run of your commute during the week to get a feel for how long it will take. Traffic can vary greatly in cities depending on what hour you are traveling so be sure to give yourself additional time, especially on your first day so you can arrive a few minutes early. Being punctual is especially important in the nanny industry as your ability to get to work on time impacts your employer’s ability to get to their job on time.
- Plan something fun for your first day. This may not be applicable if you are caring for a young infant, but if your charges are older, you might bring a craft, activity, or book along with you to engage with the children. Many children will also feel nervous on their first day, but coming in with something new and exciting to share will help ease their anxiety. It also shows your nanny family that you are willing to go above and beyond to make sure their children feel comfortable with you. You might ask the parents ahead of time if there are certain things their children are interested in and cater to those interests when planning something to bring. Know that you don’t need a lot of money or any money to do this. You can borrow books from the library, research fun free games to play, or bring a simple craft that requires a few supplies. Your nanny family may also have craft supplies on hand that you can use.
- Get organized- Make sure you’ve completed any paperwork that your nanny family or the agency has given you. Update your calendar with your nanny schedule and make sure you have the contact information for both parents or any other important adults you will be in contact with. Make sure your CPR and First Aid training is up to date, and if not be sure to schedule these trainings ASAP. If your nanny family has a specific parenting style they use, you may want to do some additional research or ask them for resources.
- Schedule some self-care! Your first day/week can be exciting, nerve-wracking, and overwhelming. Be sure to set aside some time to support yourself during this transition in whatever way feels most nourishing whether that’s talking to a friend, spending time in nature, or getting extra rest. If you already have friends in the nanny industry you might consider reaching out to them to find support. Remember as you talk to others that you will need to protect the privacy of your family so be sure to be mindful of what you share.
- Write down any questions or concerns that come up for you leading up to your first day and reach out to your employers. If they have time before your first day you might schedule a phone call to go over any lingering questions. Or, if you know there will be time on your first day to address your questions, do so then.
Know that it’s ok to feel nervous or awkward on your first day. Even the most experienced nannies feel nervous sometimes. Remember that your nanny family picked you for a reason and has welcomed you into their home—it’s a huge honor to be trusted in this way. Feel free to write down things you’d like to remember or questions that come up on your first day. There will be a lot of new information to absorb, and it might be hard to remember everything.
If your nanny family has one or both parents working from home, consider having a conversation with them before the first day to discuss what their workday looks like, when they will be in shared spaces with you and the children, and what their boundaries are. You might ask them how much, if any, contact they would like to have with the children throughout the day. Another question to ask is: Is there a time during the day when the children can say hello? Are the children allowed to visit their office at specific times? What does their ideal workday look like? These questions will help you get clear about boundaries with the children and their parents. You can also share with the parents your ideas for making the day smooth and successful for everyone. It may not feel natural at first as you all adjust to a new dynamic at home. Be sure to give yourself, the children, and your employers some grace. And lastly, make sure to keep communicating about what’s working, what’s not, and where you feel you need support.