13th Sep 2012
10 Special Skills Parents Look for in Nannies
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Every nanny should be able to provide great childcare for the children she watches, and many parents look for nannies who are blessed with that innate ability. In addition to the basic skills required to do so, parents also often look for nannies that also have certain special skills that can bring something extra to the job. This is part of the “magic” of the nanny and family match: finding a caregiver that offers exactly what the parents need. Some commonly requested specialty skills include:

  1. Swimming. Swimming is a skill all nannies should have. Kids love the water and many parents enroll their children in swimming lessons starting at a young age. A nanny’s day, especially in the summer months, often includes taking the kids to the pool, the lake, or the beach. Knowing how to swim is not only a critical safety issue, it’s also important to be able to actively engage with the children while swimming and playing in the water. Water fun with kids is definitely not a spectator sport.
  2. Speaking a foreign language. Some parents want a nanny who speaks a foreign language because they want their adopted child to have the opportunity to speak her native language on a regular basis. Other parents travel internationally with their children and find it helpful for the nanny to be able to easily communicate with the locals. Other parents just want their children to have the competitive edge a second or third language brings. Whatever the reason, a nanny that speaks a foreign language is always in demand.
  3. Being able to cook tasty, healthy meals. With today’s busy schedules most parents have a hard time finding the time to cook real meals during the week. A nanny with cooking skills is a huge help to those families. Working parents love coming home from a long day at the office and having dinner waiting for them, and when the nanny can cook it gives the family a stress-free way to connect and promotes healthy eating habits to boot.
  4. Playing a musical instrument. Many nanny employers value performing arts and want their children to learn how to play an instrument. A nanny who knows how to play the piano, violin, or other instrument can teach a child the basics or help them get the most out of formal lessons. That knowledge and love of music often lasts a lifetime for the child.
  5. Being a talented athlete. Childhood obesity is making headlines these days, and parents are trying to find ways to keep their kids active and in shape. Sports, either through a school team or an individual interest, can help combat obesity, and a nanny that can play alongside her charge is very popular. Caregivers that can introduce new sports to a child or help her improve her current skills are even more in demand.
  6. Having advanced knowledge of a subject and being able to provide tutoring. Academic success is at the top of every parent’s wish list. Having a nanny that can give one-on-one help tailored to a child’s particular needs and learning style can make the difference between school success and failure. A nanny who tutors can also help children develop effective study skills that will help them for years to come.
  7. Familiarity with the family’s neighborhood. Being familiar with the kid’s landscape in an area can make everyone’s life easier. A nanny that already knows the best parks, the most sought after pediatricians, and the best toddler music classes is a valuable resource to her employers. This is true especially in a large city where it’s often hard to pinpoint the best activities in a sea of choices.
  8. Understanding how to effectively sleep train a baby. While there’s not one method that works for every family, a skilled nanny can present parents with many different strategies and design a plan that fits their needs. This can help sleep-deprived parents get some much needed rest and help the baby get on a workable sleep schedule.
  9. Creative talent. Children love to express themselves through art. A nanny who has a bag of arts and crafts and can incorporate creative projects into the daily schedule will be valued.
  10. Defensive driving. Parents often worry about the nanny driving their children around. Will they be safe? Is getting out of the house worth the risk? Learning defensive driving is one way nannies can help their employers feel more comfortable because it’s a skill that directly helps to protect and keep their charges out of harm’s way.

Every nanny has unique skills and talents she brings to the job that helps and supports the family she works for in special ways. This is what makes nanny care such a personalized type of childcare.

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