How to Pack the Perfect Nanny Bag
Whether you’re starting a full-time job as a nanny or are preparing for your first job as a casual babysitter, having a stocked nanny bag is indispensable. Don’t worry, though! As a nanny with several years of experience, I can help you put together the perfect nanny bag so you can take care of kids with confidence, and have fun doing it!
1. First Aid Kit
As a childcare provider, safety always comes first! Make sure you have a fully stocked first aid kit, ensuring that the medicines and items inside are not expired or damaged. I perform a monthly check to make sure everything in my kit is usable in the case of an emergency.
Remember, never give a child medicine without parental consent. If consent is given, keep the parent/guardian up to date with dosage time and amounts, and monitor the child’s condition closely.
2. Notebook and Pen
Taking notes is a critical part of being an effective nanny or babysitter. Keeping track of the child’s needs, preferences, and rules as laid out by the parents is important to keep both you and the children safe and comfortable. Emergency numbers, allergies, and any important medical information should also be recorded as soon as possible and kept in a place where it is easily accessible to you in the case of an emergency.
At the end of your visit, writing a report of the fun things you did with the kiddo to leave behind gives a professional touch, and it can inform the parents of anything you forgot to mention when leaving the home.
Taking notes sends the message that you take your job, and the safety and comfort of your employer's child, seriously.
3. Toys and Entertainment
The best nannies and babysitters are the ones that kids ask for again and again! To make your experience with the kids fun and memorable, bring some special toys or activities to do together. My favorite is model magic; a class pack with multiple individual packages can be found rather cheaply on the internet. The kids get to sculpt something unique with you, then keep it when it dries to remember your time together.
Other ideas for nanny bag toys and activities include coloring books and crayons, origami paper and instructions for older charges, and sensory toys like slow-rising squishes or kinetic sand. I particularly like bringing unique toys that the children may not have at home to keep my time with them novel and engaging.
4. Self-Care Supplies
It’s important to take care of yourself on the job, especially when childcare assignments run late into the night. Be sure to bring water, snacks, and appropriate entertainment for when the children fall asleep. Remember to be mindful of allergies when packing these things, and never pack anything with peanuts or other allergens which may be harmful to your charges. I usually bring art supplies for myself so I can doodle while I wait for the parents to arrive, protein bars to make sure I stay full and energized, and a can of caffeinated soft drink (or two!).
If you're having fun on the job, your charges will have more fun, too! Try sharing one of your interests with the kids; I always bring along a few cool rocks from my geology collection to show to older children.
If you have these essential supplies in your nanny bag, you will do a fantastic job of keeping your charges safe and entertained. Feel free to get creative with your nanny bag! If you’re a fan of music, bringing along musical instruments that the kids can play such as harmonicas or bongos can be an enriching experience for you both. If you are working with children who have sensory issues, consider bringing toys that will make them feel more at ease, such as fidget toys and calming sensory jars.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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© 2020 Jaime Fitzgerald