10 Telltale Signs You Might be a Bad Nanny

Working as a private childcare provider can be one of the most rewarding, fulfilling and exciting careers out there. Just like any other line of work, however, it does require someone whose temperament and personality is well-suited to working with and caring for children. While it isn’t necessarily a reflection on your character, these 10 signs could indicate that your nanny skills and habits have some room for improvement.

  1. Punctuality is a Problem – Unexpected traffic jams or personal emergencies happen to everyone at some point or another. Still, if you find yourself fumbling for excuses as you show up to work late for the second day in a row, you need to reevaluate your schedule. Remember that your employers can’t leave for their own jobs until you arrive; with your lack of punctuality, you’re negatively affecting their performance and, by extension, your own job security.
  2. Your Patience With Your Charges is Non-Existent – Even the most adorable and affectionate little ones can be infuriating from time to time. That being said, a significant lack of patience with your charges could be an indicator that the problem lies more with your ability to tolerate typical childhood behavior than their own level of discipline.
  3. You Want to Supervise, Not Participate – As a nanny, your job is to stay engaged and involved with kids throughout the day. If you’d rather act in a supervisory capacity than get your hands dirty, you aren’t likely to be a favorite with the kids under your care.
  4. You Bend or Break House Rules – The rules of your employers are, whether you agree with them or not, law. Unless those rules can be actively harmful to your charges or are illegal, you must understand that your job is to follow them. By ignoring or outright defying house rules you are showing that you may not be the most respectful employee.
  5. You Flirt – The stereotype of the overly-affectionate nanny who makes eyes at an employer is one that professional nannies have to fight diligently to overcome. By acting a bit too friendly with an employer you’re not only reinforcing a negative stereotype for other nannies, but also putting your own job in jeopardy.
  6. The Paycheck is the Priority – Everyone works because money is necessary for survival in today’s society. If you’re only in it for the money, however, you may need to reevaluate your priorities as a private childcare provider. In order to be a truly valuable worker and treasured part of the family, you have to love your charges as much as you love your salary.
  7. You Badmouth Your Bosses – Social networking makes it all too easy to vent about the antics of your employers in a public venue, a move that’s almost as irresponsible as it is unprofessional. If you rarely have anything nice to say about the people who sign your paycheck, it’s a good sign that you should consider moving on to greener pastures.
  8. You Give in to Kids’ Every Demand – Caring for kids is more than sandcastles and finger painting; it’s hard work. You can’t give in to every demand a child makes just to avoid a temper tantrum, just like you can’t let every transgression slide because you’re not interested in dealing with it. Good nannies know that instilling the values and life skills that children will need as they grow up is their main focus, not avoiding meltdowns and pandering to every whim.
  9. You Bring Your Personal Life to Work – Keeping your professional and private lives separate can be a delicate balancing act, but it’s something that is entirely necessary. When you bring your personal problems or habits to work with you, it will almost certainly be an issue that affects your employers’ perception of you.
  10. Accidents Happen a Little Too Frequently – Caring for children requires your undivided attention at all times, as kids can get themselves into dangerous situations as a result of their natural curiosity. When the kids you watch are getting into painful scrapes a bit too often, it is a surefire sign that supervision is a bit lacking. Making sure that your charges stay safe and aren’t unattended during play time is the most important part of your job; if you’re slacking in that area, it can make your employers question their decision to hire you.

If these signs seem uncomfortably familiar, it doesn’t mean that you have no choice but to pursue another career path. With a bit of focus and determination, you can make the concerted effort to improve your skills and work habits to become the nanny you want to be.

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