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Nanny Tips for success with your family

Our Families are very demanding about a Nanny’s manners, tidiness and flexibility. Remember that especially in the first months, you will be observed more carefully as the Family is trying to assess your ability, reliability and and ability to “fit” into the family.

Guideline and Considerations:

This is basic- say hello and goodbye when you come and go through the house, even on your time off. Be conscientious about your table manners. Remember that you must always be a good role model for the children- on or off duty.

No matter how much domestic staff is available, always tidy after yourself in the kitchen after you eat and around the house. This will help you build a good rapport with the domestic help (a great asset) and is simply polite and correct.

This is of utmost importance. This is a reflection of yourself. Remember that you must lead the children by example. This applies even if you are offered a separate apartment or live outside the primary residence– you never know when they may see your quarters!

Keep your hair tidy and clean. Use deodorant. Be conscientious of your breathe-keep breathmints. We don’t recommend chewing gum, smacking gum is not classy. Don’t go barefoot in the house- keep an extra pair of clean “house shoes”-that you use only inside the house, slip on KEDS, slippers- something easy. Keep your nails short and tidy. No crazy punky colored nails. Most of our families are very conservative. Don’t wear heavy perfume or heavy makeup, especially when handling babies.

Wear smart slacks and clean shirt. When in doubt, wear all black or call us we will advise you. Always err on the conservative side. Ask your employer what they prefer you to wear.

Especially during the first weeks, be as proactive as possible. Ask questions. Get to know the house- understand how to work all the appliances- washer/dryer, dishwasher, stove, iron machines; electricity box, how to let workers in, etc. If there is domestic help, how do they prefer you to coordinate? Even if this is not your responsibility, you never know when your help may be needed so it is best to be prepared. You want to be a part of the household.


Keep to the schedule and always be alert to the time. Remember that you are in charge of keeping the children on schedule. Also this shows the parents that you are in control.
In other words, do your personal morning routine BEFORE your charges are up. You never know what can happen in the morning and you don’t want to waste time needing to shower or brush your teeth. Never make your employer “wait” for you simply because you are not ready to go.
If you are in doubt, ask the parents. If you have concerns, sit down with them and discuss it. Living with a new family is not easy you need to get acquainted with each other, the best way is through lots of communication. Remember that good communication is the key to success.
In Italian we say “conosci tuoi polli” (translated to “know your chickens”) Parents know their children best. Pick their brain about the childs preferences, what his favorite toys are, what he likes to eat, etc.. This will give you an extra arsenol of “tricks” to win the child over, especially in the first weeks when winning them over is crucial.
Regardless what your reasons are, a family will always frown on it and think that you are being lazy. Save it for your time off.
Especially if you have access to the family computer and are using it, be discreet. Chat lines, cybersex, sex websites, messaging- technology is unpredictable you never know who has access or can accidentally stumble upon your “surfing history”. Be discreet on FACEBOOK and similar websites, never post photos of yourself with your charges- you would be breaking your confidentiality agreement, which would be grounds for dismissal. Never post compromising photos or anything that would convey that you are anything but a professional. How you present yourself reflects on the family that employs you.
In fact we also recommend not to “friend” your employer – do you really want them to see you partying with your friends, drink in hand?!
If you see one in the household, use it. Most European families will use/have them. This is not necessarily in the AngloSaxon culture, therefore be aware of this big cultural difference. Use the bidet to wash the child after s/he has finished with the toilet. If in doubt, ask the Family- this is a cultural difference and they will appreciate that.
Invent games and other activities to capture the attention of children, particularly during the first weeks. Some children take more time to get acquainted with their new Nanny.
Children will always go to the person who is the “most fun”. Remember that as the newest member of the household and as the new Nanny, you will be at a disadvantage in the beginning as the child does not know you and you most likely are speaking in a strange language. Be animated, smiley, silly and engaging.
Parents love to know what their children are doing. Keep a daily log of your activities, any progress they have made or little fun antedotes about the child/children.
Use your common sense. Be appropriate. Know when to take the noisy children away if mom/dad is on the telephone or with company, even if just seconds before they were playing. Be alert and use your good judgement. Know when to stay quiet and when it is appropriate to speak. NEVER divulge personal information about the family to other people. Never speak about your salary.
Being in a new country and new culture is very exciting but remember that you are here to work, first and foremost. You will have weekends and time to take a holiday but be patient and wait at least a few weeks before asking. Take the time to understand when a good period will be for the Family.
Be available and helpful. You will find that Families will appreciate this and give the same in return.
This is always a nanny’s biggest challenge- coordinating her disciplinary methods with the parents. Without their backup you cannot do your job and they must know this. The solution is to communicate with the parents. Be tactful.
If you have any issues or concerns to bring to the parents, always have a solution ready. Remember YOU are the professional.
You never know how “thin” the walls are so be careful that others may unintentionally hear everything you are saying
As a professional Nanny you are the most senior staff member of the household and must act accordingly. Arriving home at very late hours not only creates a security issue in the household, but generally does not make a great impression on Families.
Conduct yourself accordingly on the job and off the job. “It’s a small world” and you can be sure that friends of the Family will see you out and about on your time off. Remember your confidentiality agreement and never give private information about the Family or gossip about them. You can be sure that they will hear about it.
You are asked to be very discreet with Social Media and not to disclose any information and/or picture of the family, the children or any members or friends/relatives of the household. You are asked to be discreet on all chat lines on your phone and computer, and to be conscientious about what is being disclosed and available for viewing by the children.

Above all, be patient. Trust is earned day by day- you are carrying precious cargo and Families must feel absolutely confident that their children are in good hands. Once that confidence is earned, you will become part of the family and be rewarded for your work and dedication.

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