INA Weekly Brief

Not The Babysitter: How To Develop Your Professional Career In Child Care

September 4, 2017
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Nannying has continuously evolved and changed over the years to meet the needs of children, their families, and the caretakers. As new research emerges and the child care community identifies a gap in how we can provide exceptional care, we can always count on the industry leaders, agencies, and child-focused experts to jump in and create a way to meet these needs. Here are some of the most widely recognized areas of specialization in child care, defined and developed by the industries top providers. We strongly recommend the thorough and insightful courses that can be found for child care providers who aim to sharpen their skills, learn the latest AAP guidelines, and even specialize in the many competitive fields within professional child care. Now here are some of the exciting specialized roles that are developing for child care experts.

Nanny / House Manager

There has been a recent rise in the number of families that are searching for an experienced, detail-oriented nanny who is also comfortable managing aspects of the household outside of child care. With increasingly busier, working parents, having domestic staff that can be flexible, multi-tasking masters is something that agencies are noting a much greater demand for. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a woman named Lauren Brown has worked voraciously to build her own business providing nannies and ‘nanagers’ – her trademarked term for nannies that also manage the daily tasks of running the household. Lauren began by offering this service personally, and “she cares for and educates children while cooking, cleaning, washing dogs, attending appointments, filing and doing pretty much anything else the families she works with ask her to do”. As her small agency grew, she realized that many families were requesting this combination in their caretakers, so she began offering nanager placements for busy families.

Newborn Care Specialist

Newborn Care Specialists work very independently, typically at night between 10 pm and 6 am, tending to all-things-baby so that the family can rest up and enjoy their busy waking-hours with their new baby. Many nannies start working with their charges at 3-5 months of age, so few people in the nanny community actually have that 2 day-old-baby experience, and in taking a thorough course on the subject, you’ll be shocked to see how much there is to learn. Like a nanny, an NCS works hard to support the personal values of the family, educates + empowers the parents, and teaches the parents what they’re doing with the baby when there’s crossover time. The difference is that as an NCS, you’d typically work with a family for a short, more specific period of time while the baby is an infant with the goal that the parents and additional caretakers (nannies coming on board around 3-5 months), feel confident to take over by the time you’re done working with the family. As a result of the immense help that this provides for the family, you may notice that as an NCS you’re sometimes working for many high-level executives and high-profile families because this skilled position of NCS allows for them to maintain their careers seamlessly while having newborns in the house. As an NCS you do everything from supporting a breastfeeding mother at night to swaddling, bathing, sleep training, and you’d be trained to recognize reflux, allergies, and know exactly how to help. You become the baby’s advocate when the baby is their most vulnerable, and in an often very busy environment.

Night Nanny

This helpful position is just like a traditional nanny, except you’re working overnight with the children, operating under the direction of the parent’s specific instructions. Sometimes this role is mistaken for someone with more experience such as an infant care specialist, or even a doula, but this role is normally filled by a loving nanny with less specialized training. This role does not typically require extensive training specifically working with children or newborns, but if the family is experienced with general child care and just need an extra hand overnight, this is a perfect addition to their family.

Labor Doula

This beautiful position educates and supports a pregnant mother before and during labor with everything from massage, to diet, meal prep, and intensive physical and emotional support during the birth of the infant. Extensive training is required to become a labor doula, and this role is often considered a priceless accompaniment and support to many mothers.

Postpartum Doula

This important role helps the postpartum family in the first few weeks from birth utilizing in-home education, teaching everyone basic baby care, though attending predominantly to the care of the mother and general household assistance, with some meal prep and cooking specifically for the healing mother.

Bereavement / End of Life Doula

This difficult and hugely important position gently walk parents through stillbirth or the loss of a child. Not for the faint of heart, but this is such a special way to support people through one of the most difficult moments they may experience. According to the Stillbirthday Death + Bereavement  Doula website, when you complete most bereavement doula certification programs you would simultaneously become certified as a traditional birth doula. You would be prepared to provide support to families experiencing any birth outcome and provide support for birth in any trimester. You would also be certified as a traditional doula who has extensive knowledge in subjects pertaining to pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and of course bereavement. You would be vital in making birth and bereavement support training accessible and inviting to medical and birth professionals, while also making birth and bereavement support training accessible to mothers who simply want to support their peers. We encourage anyone interested in obtaining their doula certification to seek out the best program accessible to them, reach out to the highly-respected caretakers in your area for their best recommendations.

*One important note to make is that doula’s typically do not offer much in the way of sleep guidance or newborn care treatment. Directly after giving birth, the family may be in need of more support in the way of an NCS and/or traditional nanny.

Traditional Nanny

This is the fabulous role that we all adore and love! As nannies, we typically work primarily days, and you’re usually expecting to be happily engaged for 1-3 years with the family that often becomes like your family. Maintaining your role as a traditional nanny may be the right fit for you, but keep in mind that there are so many opportunities to expand your career as well. Nannies have the opportunity to impact their charges lives in such influential and meaningful ways. Many nannies are the key mentors, cheerleaders, teachers, and comrades that their nanny kids will most cherish throughout their childhood.

The makeup and structure of every nanny family is different. Some nannies prefer to work with younger children only while others love helping to mentor teens. There are nannies who have developed skills and experience working with multiples, divorced families, or children who have special needs. While most nannies do not work only in these areas, building your understanding of these nanny niches can help you when you are searching for a job.  

Now that you know a bit more about the individual specializations that your career in child care can take, what direction will you take? With incredible national and regional events like National Nanny Training Day, Nannypalooza, Nanny Jamboree, the National Association for the Education of Young Children conference,  and the All-Star Nanny Conference held in the Pacific Northwest – child care professionals have multiple opportunities to challenge themselves and learn more about the latest and greatest ways to support, nurture and care for their charges.
Here at INA we offer nanny training through our INA Conference as well as the Nanny Basic Skills Exam, and  Nanny Credential Exam, along with our Nanny Mentor Program, and Nanny Support Groups list. The more that each of us in the industry invests in furthering our education, the more that the children we serve will benefit and grow to become the most confident, kind, and happy kids that they can be.