We know that securing your first childcare job is hugely exciting, but it can also evoke feelings of uncertainty or nervousness. After all, looking after a child is a lot of responsibility, and even the most confident of us can feel a bit daunted about when working in a new environment. That’s why it’s super important that you feel ready and prepared for your first job.
- What will you need me to do?
Understanding expectations before a sit takes palace is the best way to make sure it runs smoothly, and we recommend finding out what parents need you to in advance. For example, some parents might want help with bedtime or bathtime, or other parents might just need you to play with their kids for a few hours. Every parent is different when it comes to childcare, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Do I need to prepare any meals?
Some parents may expect you to make meals or give a child snacks. It’s a good idea to check this in advance, and ask questions about what you should give the child if they say they’re hungry.
- Do the children have any allergies?
It’s really important that you check if children have allergies, especially if you are giving them food. If children have severe allergies, they may have an epi-pen or a specific plan for an emergency. It’s worth checking to help you be best prepared.
- Are there any medical conditions you need to be aware of?
Although similar to number three, it’s also worth asking if a child has any conditions you need to know about. Many parents will notify a childcare provider of this without you having to ask, but it’s always a good idea to ask so that you aren’t caught off guard.
- Where can I find a first aid kit?
There’s nothing worse than when a child has a cut or a graze and you can’t find the plasters! It’s worthwhile asking where you can find any first aid supplies for minor ailments whilst parents are in the home, rather than having a scramble when you need it most. It also shows parents you are responsible and prepared.
- Are there any chores you need me to do?
Some sitters may be happy to help with light housework related to a child or be comfortable doing tasks such as ironing or cleaning. We would recommend discussing with parents in advance to avoid any confusion. That said, we would always recommend tidying up any mess you make during the sit as a courtesy to parents.
- Do you have any pets?
You may want to check if a family has any pets before you enter a home, rather than waiting until you get there. If you have any allergies or are uncomfortable around animals, it’s much better to make it clear in advance, than be caught out when you arrive.
- Who pays for the taxi?
When sitters are going home late at night, they may be unable to take public transport. For some parents, it is fairly standard practice to ensure a sitter gets home safely, either by driving them or paying for a taxi. We would encourage you discuss this ahead of time and make any expectations clear.
- Are the children allowed to use phones and tablets?
Some parents may have quite strict rules about using screens, and about what their children can and can’t access. It’s better to discuss with parents in advance and not confuse a child if there is a change in any routines.
- Do you have any questions for me?
Remember that parents are humans too and they may also have questions for you that they’re nervous to answer. Inviting them to ask any questions shows that you are conscientious, professional and trustworthy.
Need a bit more advice? Read some tips from a lovely sitter.