Preparing for a new nanny job
What information do I need to have?
While it’s good practice for nannies to have certain information in writing there are no obligations, unless your nanny insurance states otherwise. Common requirements there are a signed contract, which proves you are permitted to be in charge of the child, and permission to administer over the counter or prescription medication. Other information should be in their red book, which should at least be stored somewhere you can access it, but do keep a record in your purse of their full names, dates of birth and important medical information just in case something happens when out and about.
It’s sensible to have a list of contacts, including obviously your employer’s personal and business phone numbers, your charges’ doctor and dentist, any school or nursery details, another family member or friend who can be contacted in case of emergency where you can get hold of the parents and useful contacts should anything go wrong in the house if they have a regular plumber or electrician. It’s also a good idea to know where the contact details for the utility companies are kept in case of any issues.
You’ll need to have keys and codes for the house and any alarms, as well as information on how to lock up properly – whether there are any windows which are usually left open that you might not see or any special precautions. Make sure you know where the water and gas mains are and how to cut them off, and where the fusebox is located too. Although it’s unlikely you’ll ever need to use that information you should store it for future reference, perhaps in the nanny diary.
Is there anything I need to bring?
If your employers haven’t already organised you tax and National Insurance payments they’ll need some information from you. If you’ve just left a job then you should have a P45 to give them, which provides all the information they need. If it’s your first job, you’ve lost your P45 or you’re taking on an additional job then you’ll need to complete a Starter Checklist that can be downloaded from HMRC’s website. If they’re using a payroll agency this should all be sorted out for them but they’ll still need those documents to pass on.
They may also need your OFSTED registration number if using vouchers, and of course your bank details so they can pay you on time!
If they haven’ t already taken a copy of your ID which proves your right to work in the country they should do this at the same time.
What about the children and their routine?
Hopefully you’ll have discussed at interview any specific additional needs the children have, as well as their general personalities, likes and dislikes. As you go through the handover period you’ll have a chance to see the routines and ask questions. If you’re going to be thrown in at the deep end ask the parents to write down a rough outline of the day and some suggestions for favourite foods and activities as well as any special routines around nap time or bath time. However as a nanny you’ll do things slightly differently or you might have new ideas so don’t worry about being a carbon copy of your boss or the previous nanny as long as you stay within the framework.
What is there to do around here?
If you’ve never worked in the local area before you’ll certainly soon discover the best places to go, but ask your boss for directions to any favourite parks or playgrounds, somewhere you can feed the ducks and a couple of toddler groups. You’ll probably be slotting into a fairly established routine with a couple of activities outside the house, so just make sure you know where they are, and in more specific terms than ‘the church hall’ if there’s more than one church within a mile of the house. The best plan is probably to photocopy or print off a map of the area and have your boss mark on everything you need.
Making nanny friends will also help and you can find local nannies on our message board.
“How does this work????”
One of the most frustrating things can be to go through the handover and realise you can’t work the kettle/dishwasher/hoover. Although most are fairly self-evident there’s almost guaranteed to be one appliance in every nanny job that trips you up, so while you’ve got your boss around take a crash course in handling anything you’re likely to need. There’s nothing more embarrassing than having to phone up because you can’t get water in the kettle (says the nanny who’s done it).
My brain is in information overload
This is where the nanny diary is your best friend. Your boss can fill in a lot of it before you ever get there, or you can fill it in together over the first couple of days. If you have a question you can write it down and hopefully get an answer in the morning. It’s also a great way to reassure your boss that the day is going smoothly by noting down what your charges have eaten, done or said, but remember it’s a tool to aid communication and should never replace actually talking to your boss!