Skip to content

7 steps to be heat safe

2022 June 24
by nannyjob


With summer definitely peeping around the corner, we have already seen some glorious, hot days but how do you keep cool when it’s so hot? Here are some of our top tips

1. Drink plenty

Hot weather can lead to dehydration really quickly so avoid caffeinated, fizzy or very sugary drinks. Make water more interesting by adding a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange, summery berries, some bruised mint leaves or flavoured ice cubes.

2. Wear sunscreen, shades and hats

Children in particular need protecting from the sun’s rays so apply plenty of sunscreen before going outside, always wear a hat and protect your eyes with sunglasses. If you’re responsible for kitting kids out then find wide-brimmed hats and wrap-around sunglasses they like.

3. Careful in cars

Cool down cars before getting in by opening doors and windows for a few minutes. Before popping children in the car check seat covers, straps and buckles to make sure they’re not too hot. Never leave a child in the car unattended even for a very short period – they can heat up very quickly.

4. Water-play it safe

Splashing around in swimming and paddling pools is a great way to cool down, and so is water play outside, but remember a child can drown in just a few centimetres of water so keep a close eye on them whenever near water.

5. Keep the sun out the house

Closing blinds and curtains during the day will keep the house cooler. This is especially important for children’s bedrooms which should be kept between 16C and 20C.

6. Don’t be overdressed

Although it’s a good idea to ear wear long-sleeved, loose clothing to protect skin from the sun make sure that babies in particularly aren’t overdressed for the weather. Natural fibres are coolest and choose thin fabrics.

7. Pack picnics carefully

If you’re going out to the day remember that food can spoil very quickly in this heat. Make sure cool bags are kept cool with ice packs that have been well frozen beforehand. Avoid foods containing meat or egg and limit dairy too. If you usually prepare formula in advance and keep it cool, consider using ready made cartons as it’s unlikely the milk will stay below 5C when you’re out and about.

photo credit: Simon Blackley via photopin cc

Keeping your cool

2022 June 23

Some days can just be frustrating. Your alarm doesn’t go off, you forgot to fill up the car, there’s no milk when you get to work, the children won’t nap and bicker endlessly, you finish later than planned…..As child carers we don’t have the luxury of a 5 minute break to cool off with a cuppa, we can’t lock ourselves in the loo for a quick cry and we work with people who, by definition, are unreasonable. So how do you keep your cool when everything seems to be falling around you? We asked some of our Nannies for their top tips.

Sammie, Nanny, 27

I recently took up yoga and meditation. Now when I’m getting a bit stressed, I trying to do some focused breathing, or sit in a relaxing pose. The little girl I look after tries to copy me and I think it calms her down too so it’s good for when we’re both stressed out.

Emma, Childminder, 32

Whenever I feel myself getting hot and bothered, I throw my plans for the next half an hour out the window and start an activity I enjoy doing. Playdough is therapeutic for me! Then my mindees come and join in and it reminds me why I love working with children.

Hannah, Nanny, 23

The best way to get rid of stress is to smile, make funny faces and funny noises. No-one can stay cross for long. You must laugh instead.

Nina, Nanny, 35

We always put on some music and have a bit of a boogie. Sometimes I need to stomp around a bit, so I pretend it’s dancing, sometimes I just need something to lift my spirits. If all else fails, there’s always Gloria Gaynor.

Eve, Childminder, 38

If I’m cross, I talk about it with the children. I think children are very sensitive and can pick up on your mood easily so it’s important to identify it for them and say what’s happened to make you feel that way. Children can have good suggestions for making you feel better too.

Jess, Nanny, 29

Counting to 10 always works for me. Plus, it’s educational. You just keep counting until you’ve cooled off.

Patricia, Nanny, 54

I’ve learned that you must talk about what made you upset in the first place, so you don’t end up in one of ‘those’ moods with it being one of ‘those’ days. If you feel your boss has been inconsiderate, write it down and chat about it in the evening. If your charges are pushing the boundaries talk to them and to their parents. Talking means you’re not trying to cope on your own and you’re taking steps to resolve the problem.

Lucia, Childminder, 32

Learn to let go. It’s not worth working yourself up because you end up getting unhappier as the day goes on. Holding onto what went wrong only makes more things feel like they’re going wrong. Let it go as soon as it happens.

 

Debbie, Nanny, 41

Don’t take responsibility for children’s behaviour and emotions. They’re their own person and although they need to learn to control how they feel don’t feel like you’re failing and stress yourself out because they aren’t behaving properly. Your own feelings and actions are the only thing you’re responsible for. Let them be angry if they need to.

Continuing professional development for nannies

2022 June 9

In a competitive market a nanny who regularly refreshes and expands their skills will stand out from the crowd. Luckily a number of training providers have stepped in to fill the gap but it can still be hard to find a course that is on a date that suits you in a location that you find convenient. To help you along Nannyjob have secured discounted courses for you. Check out the courses on offer here Training for Nannies – Nannyjob

In celebration of this we’ve pulled together 3 top tips to make sure you get bang for your buck!

1. Ask About Course content

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what is covered in the course. A good training company will be able to give you a fairly detailed breakdown of the topics you’ll encounter, which will help you decide whether the course is worth your time.

2. Check Accreditation

A course which has been accredited will have undergone a certain amount of scrutiny from the awarding body, which means you can have a measure of confidence in the delivery and assessment procedures. Some awarding bodies, such as CACHE, will also check the content of the course to ensure that it’s factual and based on best practice.

3. Get opinions

It’s rare to find a course or training provider that everyone raves about, although they do exist, and one nanny’s meat is another nanny’s poison and all that BUT if you get overwhelmingly negative reviews or the same bad points keep coming out then do take that into account.

Hassle free holidays

2022 June 7

Holidays can be a sticky topic for nannies and employers to discuss. Every employee has the right to take 5.6 weeks (28 days full time, pro rata for part time positions) holiday per year. This breaks down to 8 Bank holidays and 4 weeks of other holiday, which is how it’s been expressed for many years in nanny contracts, although with an increase in part-time positions this is no longer a good idea.

Many people plan to take their most substantial holiday between June and September to benefit from the summer weather or because they are restricted by school holidays. It’s important to agree ahead of time when holidays will be so both parties have a chance to make plans, particularly as prices during school holidays can be very high. It’s not unheard of among nannies for employers to only inform their nanny of holiday plans at the very last minute, leaving the nanny with 2 weeks holiday that they’ve made no plans for.

For nannies it’s never a good idea to book a holiday without clearing it first with your employers. Employers can refuse holiday requests, although they do have to enable you to take your holiday at some point during the year. Most contracts say the holiday is 50% the employer’s choice and 50% the nanny’s but this is a custom rather than a legal right. It may be very inconvenient for you employer to find cover for you that week so communicate your plans well in advance and try to offer a couple of different dates. Your employers should appreciate the flexibility. The best case scenario is to sit down at the beginning of the school or calendar year and work out when holidays are likely. Then as plans firm up you can confirm or change holiday plans.

A common stumbling block is when employers take more holiday that they have given their nanny in the contract. There is no legal right to have more holiday than the 5.6 weeks every employee is entitled to, however it is a customary perk (and excellent compensation for working long hours) to give a nanny additional paid time off when their employer is away. If your contract explicitly states that there is more holiday then this is a contractual right. A nanny might be asked to do some jobs around the home while their charges are away, such as sorting through toys or clothes, batch cooking for the freezer, buying and naming new school uniform or spring cleaning children’s rooms. If you do request this additional work from your nanny then leave them the autonomy to decide when it’s done. They may choose to ‘work from home’ buying and naming school uniform, or spend an evening sorting clothes or cooking instead of arriving at 8am.

Finding cover for a nanny can be a problem; If it’s impossible to take time off working and you have no family support then investigate activity camps for older children, or ask your nanny if any of their friends would be interested in a week or two of extra work. Alternatively a temporary nanny will provide the same level of cover you are used to – particularly important if you need to travel for work or work long hours. You can either use an agency or search our database to find a temporary nanny.

As always, communicating with each other about your plans is vital! If you do this then there’s no reason holidays should cause any hassle!

 

Image © Siart | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Choosing childcare

2022 June 6

One of the biggest decisions to do with children is choosing what form of childcare you want to use once you return to work. This decision is governed by a number of factors, including the hours you need, the cost of childcare and availability in your area, but also reflects your personal preferences.

Hours

Some childcare providers e.g. nurseries are only open between fixed times. In order to use this type of chidcare your working hours and commute should fit comfortably within these times. Childminders offer a little more flexibility – although most advertise core hours they are better equipped than nurseries to flex by 15 minutes either way if they so wish, and may be more accommodating of shift patterns. Nannies and nanny shares (were two families jointly employ a nanny to care for children from both families at once) are the most flexible form of childcare because as an employer you can dictate the hours you want and advertise accordingly. Au pairs can provide before and after school wrap around are in a similar way to nannies but are not normally suitable for extended charge of young children, although they are a viable option for nursery wraparound care.

Cost

If you wish to claim any help with childcare costs from the Government you will need to ensure you use registered childcare.

Childcare costs vary between regions but according to the Daycare Trust’s annual childcare costs survey childminders are cheaper on average, followed by nurseries, with nannies being the most expensive for one child. A nanny, however, is a fixed cost per family so can be a good option for families with 2 or more children and offers better flexibility with school holidays etc so if you have older children or planning on having more it may work out cheaper in the long run. 

Nanny salaries vary between an average of £600 gross weekly for a live in nanny outside London and the Home Counties and £700 gross weekly for a live out nanny in Central London, working up to 60 hours per week. A less qualified or experienced nanny will earn less than this, and the more experience and qualifications a nanny has, the more they will earn. There will also be additional cost such as employer’s liability insurance if not included in your house insurance, a payroll company, car insurance if the nanny is driving your car, a kitty for activities and any emergency bread and milk shopping and the cost of feeding your nanny, and if they live in, associated bills, which can easily come to £50-100 per week. In a nanny share the cost is likely to be around 60% of employing a nanny by yourself.

An au pair is paid between £70 and £100 a week plus board and lodging for 25-30 hours’ work but as for nannies you will need to factor in around another £50-100 on bills and food, depending on how environmentally aware your au pair is and whether they fit well with your family’s eating pattern or you end up buying additional food, car insurance if you require your au pair to drive, which can be expensive for under-25s holding a non-UK license, a basic mobile phone and inclusion in any family outings and activities.

Personal preferences

Do you want your child to be cared for in a home environment?  You’ll need to look at a nanny or childminder.

Do you want your child to be around other children? A nursery, childminder or nanny share would probably suit you best.

Do you want your children to be cared for in a setting with more than one adult? A nursery or a childminder working with an assistant/another childminder is the best option for you.

Do you want your child to be cared for by only one person? A childminder or nanny will ensure your child receives consistent care.

Are you prepared to become an employer? If not, a nanny is not a viable option as nannies cannot be self-employed except in very specific circumstances.

Want to find out more? Look at our past blog posts on ‘why to choose a childminder‘, ‘nursery care to suit your child‘, or ‘is a nanny right for you?‘ or go and search for childcarers in your area.

Lifestyles of the rich and the famous

2022 June 1
by nannyjob

Many nannies dream of working of a VIP or even celebrity family. It’s a hidden world where nannies sign extensive confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements* but get to travel in private jets, stay in 5* luxury and get designer handbags as bonuses. Take a peek inside and meet The Royal Nanny, The Super-Wealthy Nanny and The High Profile Nanny.

What’s it like day to day?

The Royal Nanny: I wake the children up and supervise them getting dressed and so on in the morning. Then we go down to breakfast, which is prepared and cleared away so I don’t have to do anything, which is amazing! I usually talk to the kitchen staff about lunch and dinner while the children are eating and any other staff who will be involved in the day. After breakfast if the children’s mother is around we’ll go and see her for up to an hour and then we might spend time in the gardens, at the pool or inside doing some structured activities. It’s difficult to do normal things in the compound but I try and organise some time in the kitchen every so often so we can bake, for example. Often there are cousins around so we might play with them. After lunch it’s time for a rest, and then the afternoon is the same as the morning, but we’re more likely to go out if the children’s mother wants to. Dinner is eaten later than I was used to, and then I supervise bedtime. After that I report to my employers on what we did that day and I’m off duty until the next morning. We travel quite a lot and then I find we all work a lot more, which is annoying because it’s easier to go out when you’re in a big city!

The High-Profile Nanny: It’s really normal! Sometimes the kids are up when I get there, sometimes they aren’t. I do breakfast, tidy up, gather up school shoes and reading bag and anything that needs to go back to school and do the school run. Then there’s usually toddler group, Gymboree or a playdate in the morning, back for lunch and nap while I get nursery duties done before going back to school, running round any after school activities or playdates, home for dinner and bath and by then one of my bosses is usually home and I leave!

The Super-Wealthy Nanny: I work 24 hours so anytime the littlest one wakes in the night I get up. We all have to be up by 7.15 and get ready for the day. Usually the housekeeper prepares breakfast so all we have to do is go downstairs and she tidies up too so once breakfast is done we brush teeth in the downstairs bathroom and it’s straight out the door to school. The older ones are responsible for their own school stuff, just because they’re really rich doesn’t mean they can’t start taking responsibility for themselves. The driver takes us to school and then to whatever activity the little ones are doing. The days are actually really busy because they do a lot but it’s never just me so some days I’ll pick up both the older ones from school and plan something for everyone but twice a week the oldest has something after school so the driver goes back later and I stay with the other three. It’s tough to organise going to play with friends because of the security. Sometimes I feel a bit awkward saying that my charge will be accompanied by a bodyguard! When we got home we have to fit in homework and music practice and so on. My bosses definitely expect to see results from what they pay for so the children work hard. I don’t have to worry about dinner because either the housekeeper prepares it or we have something from the freezer. I try to have everyone in bed by 8.30 because it’s only when they’re down that it’s my time! We have a duty bedroom in the main house where we stay but if it’s changeover night then the other nanny will arrive about 6 and I can go to the place we share, or go out!

What has been your best experience?

The Royal Nanny: There have been loads but staying on a private island was probably the best.

The High-Profile Nanny: Just my boss saying thanks for keeping the kids safe and letting them have a normal childhood. It made me feel like I was doing my job right.

The Super-Wealthy Nanny: It was when the family just arrived in London and my charges had no toys. The mother drove us to Hamleys and told me to buy anything I wanted for them. I don’t know who was more excited – my charges or me!

What has been the worst experience?

The Royal Nanny: Accompanying my employers and the children to a major event and being caught up in a security breach. It was terrifying. I honestly thought someone was coming after the family I work for.

The High-Profile Nanny: The first time there was a big news story involving my boss – I was convinced everyone I spoke to was a journalist waiting for me to say something stupid.

The Super-Wealthy Nanny: Getting lost in one of their houses. I was only going to the kitchen to get some bottled water and I was gone for 20 minutes when I thought I’d be 3, tops. I came back to find my boss in the playroom looking really puzzled by why I’d been gone so long. I tried to explain what had happened and she just made me feel like a worm. I didn’t leave my charges alone – there was someone else there – but neither of us knew the house and I thought I knew where I was going, except I didn’t! I still don’t really get what I did that was so wrong because I think I’ve messed up worse other times but that time it was the reaction that made it really bad.

What was the biggest change for you?

The Royal Nanny: It was the formality and learning all the rules. There are rules about who you can and can’t speak to if they don’t speak to you first, what you have to call them, whether you’re expected to curtsey in public and so on and then you have to remember what you have to teach the children because the rules are different for them. There are even hierarchies in the household servants and between the other nannies, which is a bit crazy.

The High-Profile Nanny: Having to be really, really careful about media attention.

The Super-Wealthy Nanny: Working in a team with another nanny. Luckily we really get along, but when I started they just had me during the week and a weekend nanny who came daily so it wasn’t too different to a normal job, except instead of the parents letting my charges watch too much TV it was the other nanny! Then it changed so we work 4 days on and have 3 off, and sometimes we work 7 days straight, or on holiday it’s usually half days. It all gets a bit complicated because it’s our responsibility to work it out and make sure there’s always someone there. But when we first started with this system we weren’t communicating well so stuff for school got forgotten or one would arrange a play date for the other’s day and not say anything.

Do you really travel by private jet, stay in 5* hotels and get a designer handbag as a bonus?

The Royal Nanny: We have sort of travelled by private jet and if we stay anywhere that isn’t family or friends then it’s 5* but I’ve never had a designer handbag bonus.

The High-Profile Nanny: No, not at all! I work for a totally normally family where one of my bosses just happens to have a job that’s in the papers a lot. I would love a designer handbag…

The Super-Wealthy Nanny: Yes, we do. I got a gorgeous handbag for my birthday last year. I’m such a cliché!

What piece of advice would you give anyone who wants your job?

The Royal Nanny: Put time into acquiring skills and qualifications that will make you fit in with their lifestyle and simultaneously allow you to deliver top quality care. Most nannies I meet have some kind of teaching experience, especially for older children, because a big part of the role is preparing the children for school, or possibly even educating them at home.

The High-Profile Nanny: Develop a really thick skin. People will say all sorts of things about you and your employers because they’re in the public eye and it can be hurtful to hear or read it, especially when it isn’t true. You have to put it out of your mind because the children come first.

The Super-Wealthy Nanny: Don’t let the way they flash their cash make you feel embarrassed. It can seem really over the top at first, and I suppose it is, but you’ll be hanging out with other people who find it normal so you’ll stick out more if you look uncomfortable.

*no confidentiality agreements were broken or harmed in any way in the production of this post

Respect

2022 May 31

Ask most nannies what they want in a job and they’ll tell you that what really makes a difference is respect. But what is respecting your nanny when all is said and done? We’ve come up with R.E.S.P.E.C.T. to help you respect your nanny.

Rights
Nannies have the same employment rights as anyone else and they don’t appreciate employers trying to cut corners. They are entitled to National Minimum Wage if live out, 5.6 weeks paid holiday per year, statutory sick, maternity, paternity and adoption pay, time off for ante-natal appointments, a contract, redundancy pay, notice of the end of employment and a whole lot more.

Earnings
While nannies of course love looking after children it is their job, and they expect to be paid the correct amount, on time. If you’re not sure how much to pay your nanny and how much goes to the tax-man, think about engaging a professional payroll company to manage it for you. They’ll produce the payslips too, which help your nanny keep track of their earnings.

Space
Live in nannies especially need their space respected. Their room should be for their use only, not extra storage for you or an additional guest room when they’re away. But respecting space isn’t just about physical space – it’s also about not contacting your nanny outside work hours unless it’s an emergency and allowing them to have a personal life that you don’t know about.

Professionalism
Nannies rarely give advice unless its asked for but they may make suggestions on ways to manage behaviour or translations. Respecting your nanny’s professional knowledge and experience makes for a happy relationship. Professional nannies are also capable of getting on with the job and don’t need micro-managing. Respect your nanny’s daily routines and timescales as long as everything is accomplished.

Expenses
No-one likes being out of pocket for work and nannies are no exception. If a nanny has paid for something out of their own pocket then the respectful thing to do is pay them back promptly.

Choices (decisions)
When parents don’t respect and back-up the choices a nanny makes, children learn they don’t have to respect the nanny either. If nanny said no biscuit then respect the choice they made, even if it’s not what you would have said. If you do disagree with a choice your nanny has made, be respectful and approach them about it in private.

Time
Respecting your nanny’s hours is one of the simplest things you can do to show respect. Allow them to start work on time a be home for them to finish on time. Their finish time is the time they should be able to walk out the door, not the time you get home and start a run-down of the day.

Image © Photographer: Freds | Agency: Dreamstime.com

Flying With Small Children: An In-Flight Survival Guide

2022 May 30
by nannyjob

A recent short trip abroad is all it takes to remind me of how difficult it can be travelling with little ones! The last thing any family or nanny wants is to have attention drawn to a restless toddler or crying baby, but as we all know we’re generally on a knife’s edge between a calm flight and a stressful one with small children.

If you’re a nanny and have to travel with babies or young children in your care, we have put together a survival guide to ensure that you don’t become the person in charge of ‘that annoying child on the row in front’, and possibly even have an enjoyable flight!

  • Prepare beforehand – when the flights are booked, if possible make sure that you request the front row of seats, so that you have more leg room. The child has more room to move around on the flight, and will not be annoying anyone in front by pulling on the backs of seats.
  • Nap time – if you have a child in your care who is good at taking regular naps, try to ensure that flights are booked and taken at nap times, so that the child is more likely to want to sleep on board.
  • Choose toys wisely – in other words, use your common sense on this one and don’t take large toys that will take up too much room, or small toys with lots of fiddly bits that will end up getting lost. A few simple toys which pack lightly and tightly are best, and a small comfort blanket instead of large items.
  • Concentration spans – a very helpful Nannyjob Facebook fan informed us that children have 1 minute of concentration per year of their age, so if the 3 year old in your care is finding the window shutter more interesting than her Barbie after 5 minutes, don’t expect her to be any different, and go with her concentration, don’t force it.
  • Be self sufficient – prepare yourself before the flight so that you aren’t going to be relying on airline staff to help you entertain or calm the children. They are busy enough and it isn’t in their remit, so don’t get stressed if the cabin crew overlook your crying toddler whilst serving your in flight meal – they just have a job to do.
  • Travel light – we’ve all seen those families who seem to be carting everything and the kitchen sink on board, and are more stressed before take off just from lifting and carrying than actually having little ones with them. Only take essentials for both you and the children, and to make these essentials light ones!
  • Distraction works! – Let’s face it – spending hours on end in one place is going to get a bit tedious for the most well behaved little one, so remember that for those hours it really is down to you to become the key source of distraction! If you sense a toddler becoming irritable and bored, get your creative hat on, become the circus, and think of a totally new thing to sing, play or do! You’ll be amazed what new games come out of a flight!
  • Don’t apologise – children cry, children get frustrated and bored – it is not your fault, it’s what happens! If you see that smug couple with no children on the row behind tutting at this, then totally ignore them and stay strong.
  • Be aware of ear pressure – This can be a really big deal. As someone who has suffered from ear pressure pain on flights since childhood, I totally empathise with the crying children I hear on flights when coming in to land. The only thing that works for me is a certain well known brand of sinus pressure pain and nasal congestion relief, which literally wipes the pain and pressure away like magic, and has started doing it’s own range of children’s products.

Do you agree with our ideas? Why not share your experiences on our Facebook wall?

Taking Care of Yourself: Tips for Child Carers

2022 May 26

The job of a child carer is a demanding one; mentally, emotionally and physically. We love our jobs, working with children is exceptionally rewarding, but if we’re not careful, we can suffer from stress, burnout and exhaustion.

We’ve put together some top tips to help keep you healthy and in tip-top shape to ensure that you and your charges receive the best care!

read more…

Balancing your summer nanny budget

2022 May 25
by nannyjob

The summer holidays can be a long time, and days out, crafts and cheeky ice creams from the ice cream van soon mount up!

Your term time kitty may not go very far in the holidays so introduce your charges to the idea of budgeting and find a balance of free, low cost and splashing out activities. Developing money sense is important from a young age, and children sometimes love the challenge of finding free or bargain activities to do. It also introduces the concept of making a choice, or several choices, based on a limitation.

read more…