Thank you Joey Lauren for participating in our Meet a Member
How long have you been working as a nanny?
I have just entered my fifth year as a nanny!
How did you get started as a nanny?
Originally I wanted to be a primary school art teacher… I worked hard in high school, however doing so many art subjects this make my score too low to get into a local uni for teaching. My next option was to study childcare and go from there. However after working in childcare for two years I was desperate to find something different to do, still working with children, so I found a great nanny position… and here we are, over four years later!
Do you have any training that has helped you in your nanny career?
I have my Diploma in Children’s Services, which has helped me greatly. I learnt all about children’s development, nutrition, age appropriate activities and so. I also grew up in a large family and have been babysitting since I was 12 for neighbours and friends; this gave me a lot of valuable experience and guidance along the way. I still remember the first nappy I changed… my cousin who is now a teenager and taller then me!
What type of experiences have you had working as a nanny?
I’ve worked a number of different type jobs, both privately and through agencies. My first one was with two pre-school age children, I did the usual after school routine plus cook them dinner and get them ready for bed. In the school holidays I would have them full time, doing very long days and we would do all kinds of activities. I would run errands for the family too, plus take the kids to doctors, specialists and dentist appointments, piano and soccer lessons.
I’ve also had mothers help roles. One in particular with three little ladies, including a newborn with silent reflux. The mum nicknamed me the bassinet because I was one of the few who could get her to sleep easily and keep her asleep. She’s almost two now and kicking goals!
I’ve also travelled with some of my families, overseas and interstate. Having sole and shared care of the children whilst away.
One of my current families has young twins; one has a disability and some medical issues. Each day can be a challenge but they’re an absolute joy to care for, constantly making me laugh and smile. I’ve learnt a lot in this job. Previously I had cared for children with a disability but not on a permanent basis like now.
I’ve also had before school care positions, overnight and daytime proxy parent roles, and worked at large functions and weddings too with the children. I think all up I would’ve worked for over 40 families, someone off others for a few years!
What age groups of children have you worked with?
All ages, six weeks through to teenagers.
What changes have you seen happen in the nanny profession over your career?
It’s spoken about so much more now and isn’t just for ‘rich’ people. I’m finding there’s far more families opting to have a nanny a couple of days a week then solely in childcare too. More people are starting to accept it as a career and actually asking questions about the industry too.
What keeps you in the nanny profession?
I adore children; it’s as simple as that. They have so much to teach us as well as learn from us. The thought of working in child care again makes cringe. I never enjoyed it, it was just a job. Now with the two families I currently work for, plus other families in the past, I feel like they’re an extension of my own family. You rarely get that connection working in a child care centre.
You recently moved to another state – have you noticed any difference as a nanny between the two states?
So I moved up to Ipswich originally, from Melbourne, now I’m in Brisbane.
There’s definitely a higher demand for nannies in Melbourne over Brisbane/Ipswich areas. I have found more live in nanny (not au pair) positions in Brisbane, which could just be the timing of me searching for roles though.
I also was told by one mother that Brisbane families just won’t pay ‘the Melbourne pay per hour’, whilst this is somewhat true, I haven’t had any issues with getting the rate I ask for. There aren’t as many full time roles in Brisbane compared to Melbourne either.
Brisbane is still taking its ‘baby steps’ in nanny world compared to Melbourne. I have found there are more women who have been in the industry for a far greater amount of time in Melbourne compared to Brisbane too.
How can we inspire more young people to become career nannies?
Encourage them not to give up. It may be hard to find a great position in the beginning, many of us have been through hard times but that it’s so rewarding when you do find a wonderful family to work for. And offer them support… none of us who are career nannies would be where we are today without support and our nanny community.
What tips would you offer to a young person considering a career as a nanny on how to break into the nanny profession?
Don’t expect top dollar to start with, but still make sure it’s a legal wage! I so often see young nannies expecting the same rate that nannies who have had years of experience or have a qualification are earning.
Start small, aim big. I started nannying when I was still studying. They were weird hours but they worked and I began to gain great experience. Like any job you need to start somewhere, don’t be afraid to ask questions either.
What tips would you suggest to help an inexperienced nanny starting out?
Find ways to gain experience! Volunteer in child care centres, get to know your neighbours if they have children and offer to babysit during the day or hang out on weekends with the kids. Even studying childcare will help too. Many families do look for a nanny with childcare or teaching qualifications now, but there are also many families who are quite happy taking on a nanny with little to no experience.
Get your first aid, WWCC/Blue Card and a police check, it will help show parents you’re serious about finding a great position and give you some practical first aid knowledge too!
The nanny profession can be isolating. How would you recommend new nannies meet other nannies?
If you’re at the park play centres, school pick-ups, get chatting to the ladies around you… chances are one will be a nanny! I found the Melbourne Nanny group through a nanny, who filled in for me for a few days.
If you’re already in the state nanny groups, participate in the conversations in the group, and actually go to meetups either with or without the kids. Don’t be scared to put the call out either to see if anyone wants to meet up!
Some of my best friends are nannies I met in these groups… first they started out as ‘nanny friends’, but rarely a day goes by where I don’t talk to them- about everything!
Do you keep in touch with your nanny families?
I’ve kept in touch with some of them. It gets tricky because of living interstate from my old families! But when I’m in Melbourne, and have the time I do my best to see them. I was in Melbourne in June and caught up with the kids I finished nannying almost two years ago, the nanny that took over from me and I have kept in contact also. Every now and then I get updated photos of other kids too from my old bosses. My little reflux newborn is a spitting image of the oldest sister now!
Do you specialise in a particular nanny area such as behaviour? infants? Etc.
Many nannies don’t like or prefer not to have a parent home, I’ve worked a few mothers help roles or where the parent works from home and have really enjoyed them. I was able to build up wonderful relationships with the mum and there were never any times where I felt uncomfortable. Both my current roles I spend a lot of time with both families.
This isn’t a particular area but I do prefer more challenging and busy positions too. I’m not one to sit around at work and just chill, I prefer to be busy either folding laundry or running errands, running around at the park, painting or baking. My role with the twins, there is rarely a dull moment. Between them and their sister, they keep me on my toes and I love it. With my other family too, we cram so much fun into one day… I go home exhausted but so happy!
Currently I am looking into PDs and courses to further my knowledge in disabilities and support work. Through my role with the twins this has given me more experience in an area I would like to continue my learning for future roles.
Do you recommend professional development for nannies and have you participated in any in the last 12 months?
Absolutely, there is always something new to learn or extend your current knowledge. Just last month I did a training session on Child Protection. I plan on doing more in the coming months to build up my knowledge in different areas.
What is your favourite thing about being a nanny?
The relationships you form with not just the children but parents and even extended family members. Every week when I leave my Friday family mister four tells me its seven more sleeps until he’ll see me again and mum boss gives me a hug goodbye too. It’s such a wonderful feeling to find a family that you just fit in so well with.
Also knowing that you are making a difference in the children and family as whole’s life.