Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Practical Advice for a New Nanny

INA Essay Submission 

Practical Advice for a New Nanny : by Amy Marie

I have been a nanny for about four years, so in a way I am still a new nanny, but I have learned quite a bit in those four years and am looking forward to continuing my career and growing as a professional nanny. When I think back to when I was looking for my first nanny job, I made a lot of mistakes professionally.  If I could offer advice to a new nanny just starting out, it would be practical advice. I would say get a contract, get as much training as you can, and pay your taxes.
A contract sets you apart from a “babysitter” and helps you and your new employers come to the same page about every detail of your position. A contract should include your hours, rate of pay, and a list of your exact responsibilities. It should also include emergency procedures, rules on driving, television, etc.  Some nannies have paid time off, insurance payments, a minimum pay, or extras, such as your employers covering some of all of your expenses for attending the INA conference.  Anything that you agree to verbally should be in the contract.
When you are just starting out, you may not have much experience. I learned that if you don’t have years of experience, you can often make up for it in training. Taking different childcare related classes not only teaches important skills that you will need for work as a nanny, but it shows potential employers that you are putting forth an effort to be the best that you can be. All nannies should be CPR and First aid certified for infants and children. Other courses you can take are water safety, parenting classes, and Early Childhood Education classes from a local college. It’s also a good idea to take the INA skills exam. It will give you a chance to test your knowledge, and it is a way for you to show parents that you are educated in the health and safety of children.
It is extremely important to pay your taxes. Yes, it means smaller paychecks, but there are many benefits to getting paid the legal way. The IRS can audit you and the family, and you will both be hit with back taxes and penalties. Paying taxes also enables you to prove income, so when you are applying for a car loan, or an apartment, you will have paystubs and W-2s to provide. Lastly, paying your taxes makes you eligible for unemployment if you are laid off. All nanny positions eventually come to an end, and having unemployment as a safety net until you can find your next long term position is incredibly valuable. You can figure out the taxes on your own, but many nannies, including myself, use a payroll service, which makes the process easy and less stressful for you and your employers.
Most importantly, congratulations on your wonderful career choice and good luck!

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