A lot has changed in the childcare industry over the past year and a half. Parents started staying home, nannies and parents were forced to learn Zoom and how to assist with remote learning, public transportation wasn’t as reliable and stress levels spiked as new health rules were put in place by the CDC. The list of concerns goes on and on.
BFC is helping to navigate this new landscape and go over commonly asked questions from childcare providers. We’re also sharing tips on how to navigate the new social etiquette during changing times and providing insight into virtual and in-person interviews.
Normal Etiquette Expectations:
- Look the part; be clean, groomed and put-together, while keeping your appearance kid-friendly and comfortable (i.e., nothing low-cut, above the knees, torn, dirty or see-through).
- Don’t use inappropriate language or chew gum.
- When first meeting the parents, it’s respectful to address them by Mr. or Ms. “Last Name” until they ask you to call them by their first name. Introduce yourself with eye contact, a handshake and a smile!
- Follow the family rules (even when you don’t agree). If you have questions about this, ask our team and we’d be happy to help.
- Be aware of using the family’s things and what is permitted or off limits.
- When running late, always email/text that you are behind. Do not make it a habit, but we and families understand transportation can be delayed. Ask in advance if you need to leave early (a week’s notice is appropriate timing).
- If you get sick and you are a full or part time nanny, let the family know well in advance.
- ALWAYS text or e-mail the family once you get a notification from them. Long amounts of time concern the family. During work hours, you’ll want to get back within the hour if you are working with them, within 2-5 hours if you are not working that day and after hours at least 12-24 hours.
- Google Map the address beforehand so that you are on-time! Nothing is worse than being late to an appointment. If you are running late due to transportation issues, make sure you notify the family via e-mail or text, so they have a heads up.
- When you enter the family’s home; take off your shoes (if that is a house rule), wash your hands and introduce yourself (if it is your first appointment with them).
- DO NOT BE ON YOUR MOBILE DEVICE. We can’t stress this enough based on parent feedback. The sitter should not be on their phone, unless to contact the parent. That also means do not take videos, photos, or post on social media about the kids and/or family. If the children are asleep and you have downtime, it is fine to be on your mobile device. Make sure you use your own data, unless the family offers their wifi.
- Always clean up after the children and yourself; put dishes in the dishwasher, clean up toys (get the kids to help).
- Not offering to pay for Covid tests or PPE when the family requires them.
- Not covering missed days of work because of Covid.
- Unpaid vacation time because of a family’s change in plan, unless they communicated this ahead of time via your nanny contract or you both agreed upon the arrangement.
- No playdates/outside time or no breaks for 5-6 hours.
- Families asking you to change your clothes when you enter their home by offering to give you some of theirs.
- Families not offering to provide food during travel (i.e., hotel sitting on vacation).
New Pandemic Expectations to Be Prepared For:
- Requirement that you be vaccinated.
- Requirement that you watch the children more carefully at playgrounds/playdates.
- Requirement that you think of alternate activities for children. Many nannies are used to filling the days with community playgrounds, classes and play dates. Instead, you may be asked to just “take them for a walk” or go to the park and play in open spaces.
- Paying extra attention to hand washing.
- Encouraging small children at least 2-3 years old to always wear masks until children can get vaccinated.
- Wiping down surfaces that you feel were shared too much.
- Sharing information on your lifestyle and habits to feel safe hiring you.
Etiquette for Other Challenging Scenarios:
- Families are cramped in smaller spaces and one or both parents may be working from home. Be mindful of working around the other parents by being relatively quiet if they are on a call, taking the children to play in rooms as far away from the working parent as possible and limiting play to quieter activities if you know a parent is on an important call.
- Navigating virtual learning. Have the parent run through the process with you step by step. Take notes on passwords you need, steps you need to take, set alarms on your phone for meetings the kids have throughout the day, etc. This will take some time to adjust, and every school seems to do a different type of virtual learning. Give yourself a week to adjust.
- General family anxiety from a year of the pandemic. Be mindful of an anxious family. You can be a calming presence if you act confident in your abilities. Show that you are very cautious with masks/sanitizing to help the family feel at ease. The family may ask for your opinion on what you think is a safe or unsafe activity and it’s best to lean on the conservative side if you feel the parents are nervous about something.
- Vaccine-hesitant families. Most families in NYC are asking their nanny to get vaccinated. Some families do not require it. Family and nanny need to be on the same page. Over time, not being on the same page about the vaccine is going to end in a bad relationship for nanny/parents. If you do not feel comfortable getting the vaccine alert your employer. The agency will communicate if you are willing to get vaccinated or have already received it.
- Families feeling insecure about you using public transportation to get to work. We understand that pubic transportation is the way that most nannies in NYC get around. However, if you are in NYC (or elsewhere) and have access to a car, it may be best to use it. Do not feel afraid to talk about this with a family. Many families are THRILLED to pay for your gas or parking if it means you can stay off the subway. It never hurts to ask (nicely).
Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted on-demand babysitting, including full and part time nannies, baby nurses, temporary care, help with virtual learning, and more! Learn why BFC is the best childcare agency, with childcare providers available across the U.S. (on-demand service available in the tri-state area). Contact us today to hire!