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A nanny is an in-home childcare provider that has a close relationship with the children and families they work for. While daycare centres only offer childcare within certain hours of the day, nannies are often live-in additional support people that play a large role in the lives of the children they take care of. Nannies are so much more than just childcare workers. They often act as personal chefs and housekeepers. Because of this, they are generally paid very well and are given lovely living conditions in return for their hard work.
Many people can become nannies for a family without any professional training, but often companies and services that outsource nannies require their employees to have childcare credentials. Becoming a childcare professional can be a rewarding employment opportunity for any individual that has a place in their heart for children.
Nannies should be individuals with a strong love of children and a desire to watch the children under their care grow and thrive in a nurturing environment. A nanny should be willing to do any and all domestic activities related to the children, including cleaning their rooms, doing their laundry, entertaining them, disciplining them, teaching them manners and caring for them when they are sick or upset. A nanny works as a partner with the parents to help raise the children to be responsible and competent.
Many nannies live in the family home so they are available to take care of the child or children when they are needed. Nannies may be responsible for caring for the dependents even when the parents are home. Some nannies are hired to watch the children while the parents work from home. This gives the parents time to get their important work done while still having presence within the home, all while another individual pays close and careful attention to the children and other things that must be taken care of around the house.
Some parents hire nannies that are certified to tutor their children, giving them advanced learning opportunities instead of simply being baby-sat. The ultimate goal of a good nanny is to provide excellent care to the children while they are under their supervision.
The workplaces of nannies will vary with each family they work for. The workplace atmosphere changes depending on how many children they are required to care for, the needs those children have, the duties (other than childcare) they are expected to perform, and the hours they are expected to work, to name only a few variables.
Many nannies live in the family’s home as a member or extended family. Families often want to hire nannies that are consistent members of the household until the children reach a particular age. A nanny must have a team mentality, working alongside families as a team member to make sure the children receive the best upbringing and care as possible.
Nannies need to be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. Note that many agencies do not refer nannies under the age of 20 years old. The younger nanny may be a very good candidate, but the employer must consider maturity, experience, and aptitude when evaluating nanny candidates. Candidates for in-home child-care jobs should be up to date on all of their necessary immunizations and be trained in first aid and CPR. Many families will hire nannies based on experience and won’t necessarily require them to have any additional education. Families that hire based on experience only feel that experience raising and caring for children is worth just as much as a diploma.
The INA offers an examination online for nannies. This exam, when passed, provides nannies with certification proving they know the necessary information about nutrition, childcare, child safety, development, and other concepts a childcare provider should know in order to do their job correctly. The INA exam is available to any person who has worked at least 2,000 hours as a nanny. This equals out to a year of full-time work in the field. This certification looks great to families and childcare agencies (staffing companies and agencies only hire certified nannies).
Early childhood education degrees are the ideal choice of education for nannies. These degree programs are filled with useful information about how children thrive and develop with proper early childhood care. Even an associate’s degree in early childhood education can be enough to skyrocket a career for nannies. Early childhood education degrees are especially useful if a nanny-to-be has an interest in working with children that have special needs.
Workshops and lectures that focus on the development of children, as well as parenting classes, are other useful resources that nannies can put on their resumes. The more practical childcare know-how, the better the resume will appeal to agencies and families looking to hire in-home childcare professionals.
The Council for Professional Recognition offers a program called the Child Development Associate program. This tests a candidate’s overall knowledge of childcare and their abilities as a childcare professional. In order to pass the program, a person must have advanced knowledge about nurturing creativity in children, child safety, health knowledge, and communicating effectively with children. Many areas of North America require childcare professionals to have this certification.