Do you ever wish for a Mary Poppins-esque magic bag of tricks? Even on the toughest day, your job as a nanny means you are expected to keep both kids and parents happy and your own life running smoothly. And that's not easy.
Here are some places you can turn to for help and a little refresher on everything from nanny training to kid-friendly activities.
Professional Training Opportunities
Being a nanny is like any other career -- frequent training and education only improves your skills and the quality of care you provide. Care.com provides lots of helpful articles and resources for nannies, but sometimes you need a little human interaction. Look into training opportunities near you. National Nanny Training Day is a national event that takes place around the country. Coordinated by Nanny Biz Reviews, it provides training and socializing opportunities for all in-home caregivers.
If you can't make the event, check out nanny training courses at local colleges, adult education programs or workers' organizations for workshops, or look for nanny schools accredited by the American Council of Nanny Schools. Nanny organizations like the International Nanny Association (INA) also help nannies with all aspects of career development.
Apps to Keep in Touch
Keep parents updated with all the great things you're doing with their kids -- without texting them all day long or putting their kids on social media. Care.com has a free app called Karoo that helps nannies keep in touch with parents. You can share videos of the park, a snack time report and even photos of a funny painting session. Parents enjoy the instant communication and the ability to bring relatives and friends into the private network and share Karoo milestones.
For more fun app ideas, see these 7 Great -- and Free -- Apps for Nannies.
Nanny Play Dates
Kids have play dates, so why can't nannies? Sometimes the best way to learn new ideas is to meet other nannies and break out of the familiar park and story hour routine. Look for Facebook groups devoted to nannies in your area or online nanny forums (like dcurbanmom.com) that can direct you to local outings or dinners with other nannies. Find nanny get-togethers around the world through Meetup.com. Or start your own. Get the word out with other local nannies and schedule a time to meet once a week or once a month. You can chat about your jobs or just relax with people who know what it's like to chase toddlers for a living.
Offering the gold standard of training classes, the American Red Cross helps you keep your lifesaving skills up-to-date. As a nanny, this training is an essential job skill because you never know when you might need to help someone. Sign up every year to refresh your first aid, water safety and CPR (both adult and pediatric) knowledge and techniques. The training gives you and the family you work for peace of mind knowing that you know what to do in an emergency. Good CPR and first aid classes can also be found in local hospitals, colleges, libraries, public safety centers or even through a community education listing.
Nanny job finding sites like Care.com can help you find the job you want in record time. Post a professional profile, keep your eye on job opportunities and you have a great chance at finding a job that is a perfect match. Browse the site for career advice, child care tips and even potty training strategies. Keep your profile current by updating it frequently and looking for job opportunities.
Was your play date canceled or did it suddenly start to rain? Whatever happened, you and your charges are now stuck in the house with nothing to do. Check out Kaboose, Spoonful or Care.com for some last-minute games, crafts and printables that will keep all of you having fun and doing something new. Introduce never-tried-before indoor and outdoor games that are entertaining and will help everyone pass the time. These sites are a nanny's secret weapon!
Julia Quinn-Szcesuil is an award-winning freelance writer and a mom to two girls. She lives in Massachusetts and writes for local and national publications.