How to Make a Good First Impression as a Babysitter or Nanny

Updated on May 7, 2020
Jaime Fitzgerald profile image

Jaime is an experienced childcare provider with more than 3 years of on the job as a sitter, pre-k teacher, and household manager.

First Impressions Are Everything

When a client hires you as a babysitter, you are asking them to trust you with the most precious thing in the world: their child. Unfortunately, you typically only have a small window to make the impression that you are trustworthy and responsible before the parents leave the home. It is critical to make a great first impression so parents can feel that their child is in good hands and can relax on their night out. Relaxed parents mean repeat business.

Source

1. Arrive 5 Minutes Early

Being late to a job makes a bad first impression, making it appear that you can’t manage time appropriately. By making sure you are 5 minutes early, you can put the parents’ minds at ease that their charges will be well-cared for by a responsible sitter. Punctuality is also extremely important in the babysitting industry, as your clients likely have a scheduled obligation such as a party, performance, or family event to go to.

Hand hygiene prevents the spread of illness, which is vitally important when caring for younger children with less-developed immune systems
Hand hygiene prevents the spread of illness, which is vitally important when caring for younger children with less-developed immune systems | Source

2. Ask to Wash Your Hands Right Away

Especially if you are working with infants, home-to-home hygiene is crucial. When a parent sees that you are being fastidious about hygiene to avoid spreading illness to their family, they can see that you are the type of sitter to go the extra mile to be considerate.

Who to Hire?

I was hired for a nanny placement once because of one thing that I did differently from other nannies. The secret? I was the only one who washed my hands!

3. Ask Questions

Asking questions shows that you understand and respect the responsibility of caring for someone else's child. Some questions that I usually ask can be found below.

Health And Safety
Rules
Preferences
Does your child have any allergies?
Are any places in the house off-limits?
What does your child like to eat for meals and snacks?
Does your child require any medications or have any special needs?
Are there any activities that aren't allowed today?
What are your child's favorite activities?
In the event of an emergency, are you okay with me providing the care which I am certified to give? (CPR or First Aid)
Can we go outside?
What is your child's bedtime routine?
These questions are not one-size-fits all. For example, if you are taking care of an infant you would want to ask about milk, diapers, burping, and sleeping routines. For older children, only a few questions may be necessary.

Remember, only provide care that you are certified to provide. If you are not certified to perform CPR on children, do not attempt it. Call 911 instead.

Active listening and note-taking will help parents see that you take your duties seriously
Active listening and note-taking will help parents see that you take your duties seriously | Source

4. Take Notes

Actively listening and taking notes while the parents tell you about their child’s schedule is an important part of being a good caretaker. Write down what the children will eat, what time they will go to bed, and any other details that you need to make the assignment go smoothly. Taking notes is a good failsafe against forgetfulness, I know I’m guilty of getting bedtimes wrong if I don’t write them down. Particularly with infant care, scheduling is extremely important and an overlong nap or missed feeding time can make you look like a neglectful or irresponsible sitter.

Keeping your phone tucked away during an assignment shows that the child is your number one priority
Keeping your phone tucked away during an assignment shows that the child is your number one priority | Source

5. Keep Your Phone out of Sight

I always keep my phone out of sight except to confirm that I have the parent’s contact information correct during the initial client interview. My recommendation is to keep your phone in your pocket but not to take it out at all during the assignment if possible.

A Good First Impression Is a Wonderful Business Tool

Making a good first impression on your clients will ensure that they want you to come back to look after their children again and again. Because childcare is such a personally involved profession, word of mouth is the best advertisement. If you conduct yourself professionally and do your job with enthusiasm, you can count on getting call backs!

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