Checklist: 10 questions every Student Nanny should ask the parents before they start…

Written by admin

Looking after other people’s children is a big responsibility, especially if you are working with a family for the first time. When you are learning something new it often helps to have lists and tips on hand to help make sure you have covered all the basics.  If you have some new nannying jobs coming up, it’s a good idea to start with a list of ten things you need to know from the parents before you start. To give you an example of what such a list might look like, here is our suggestion, covering everything from screen time to emergencies, washing newborn baby clothes to difficult sibling dynamics.



  • Daily routine


First things first: it’s important to know what the kids would be doing if their parents were in. Most families value routine so as someone coming in for a short period, it’s important to maintain this as much as possible. Try to get a list of homework to be done as well, in case the child you’re looking after isn’t quite sure what they need to do.



  • What to do if your child charges get cross/stressed/upset


Kids get in a tizz sometimes, we all know that. Make things easier by preparing for this in advance and asking the parents what they do in this situation and what the best techniques are to calm them down. Do they have a favourite toy or comforter that they like to cuddle? Is distraction the best tactic, in which case you can say, ‘I think I’ve just seen Batman!’ or would some quiet time reading a book with you work best?



  • Favourite things


This might be useful in an aforementioned moment of crisis, but it will also help you to connect with your kids. Ask mum or dad which toys or books their kids usually enjoy, who their favourite characters are, what craft activities they like, their favourite TV show, whether they prefer their bike or their scooter, etc. Then you can take these things into consideration when making any plans. Being interested and joining in with your child’s favourite activities is a sure fire way of being a hit!



  • Sibling dynamics


If you’re looking after a few different children it’s important to get a sense from the parents how things usually go: do they get on like a house on fire or are arguments likely to kick off, and if so about what? And what’s the best tactic to use to diffuse the situation? Knowledge is power!



  • What to do if things get messy


Any self-respecting nanny knows mess is likely to happen, so it’s worth being aware of the basics about getting cleaned up. Where are the cleaning materials kept? Should you try washing infant or older kids’ outfits if they get dirty or stained? If you are stuck there is also lots of useful information online, for example this article has some useful tips on washing newborn baby clothes and you can find tips on how to clean school uniforms here.



  • Emergency Contacts


This one is absolutely key. Never be left alone with kids unless you know exactly who to call in an emergency. Always have at least two contacts in case the first one is unavailable, and make sure your mobile is always charged if there isn’t a landline available.



  • First Aid Kit


Plasters, antiseptic cream, insect repellent – small things that make a big difference (most scratches or cuts immediately feel much better when a plaster is put on!). Ask the parents where they keep the first aid supplies in case of any little accidents.



  • What time parents will be home


This is vital for planning your day or evening with the children. Check with parents when they are likely to be back and what chance there is of them being late and if they can call or text you if they will be home later than arranged.



  • What food to give/not give


Lots of kids have allergies so it’s important to know what to keep away from your charges, but also just general preferences – sandwiches or cereal? Milk or juice? Are they allowed fizzy drinks? Will serving broccoli bring on World War III? Do they have pudding before or after they’ve done their homework? How strict should you be about them finishing what’s on their plates? Are they allowed chocolate or do they get to go to the sweet shop on the way home from school  (kids are cheeky monkeys and will often try it on and tell you that they allowed, when actually they are not so it’s best to check with parents first what the ground rules are!).



  • How much screen time is allowed


This is becoming increasingly important in most households. Parents will set screen time limits for TV, computers and tablets, and as a nanny it’s important to stick to them.


Looking after kids is challenging but so rewarding. As this list suggests, there’s a lot to think about, but when you get it right, build a great relationship with the kids and the parents, your charges will have a really great time and so will you!

Remember, you can always get in touch with the team at Student Nannies for some more support in order to be the most brilliant Student Nanny as you can be!