Travelling Overseas? Why Not Work as a Nanny?

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Backpackers and travellers who fly overseas often try to find work as bartenders and fruit pickers, among other short term positions. But one that is really growing in popularity is the role of the ‘nanny’.

Global changes over the last decade have seen significant increases in the number of working parents. So whether you’re travelling through Tokyo, Sydney or London, nannies are in demand and children need looking after.

A foreign nanny that provides childcare in exchange for rent and board is referred to as an ‘Au Pair’. It’s a common arrangement and one that is recognised in many countries (though most commonly in the US, UK, Oceania, and Western Europe). If you’re good with children and want to travel the world, working as a nanny is a perfect marriage. It’s a great way to experience new cultures while making a reliable income (and often doing so rent-free!).

Before gaining employment as an au pair, you may have to provide evidence of past experience and credentials. And depending on the country regulations (or the requirements of your employer) you might need to have some form of accreditation or working with children check. Understand the legalities ahead of time and ensure you undertake the correct education so you don’t get caught out in the future.

Your duties as a nanny

Becoming a nanny for an overseas family is a great opportunity to go abroad at a low cost. But you must understand that while nanny work can be a fun-filled affair, it is also a responsibility that requires discipline and responsibility.

Nannying is a great mix of free time and work that requires a sensible outlook. Most of the time nanny services are required throughout the day (so nights should be free) but, depending on the family you’re employed by, work hours may vary.

You might, for example, only have to supervise the children on weekdays after school ‘til their parents return home. Conversely, it might be a 9-5 commitment for pre-school-age children. It’s important that you know your hours before committing to the role, and that both parties (yourself and your host family) are fully aware of what day-to-day responsibilities you’re to do at the very start of your employment.

General nanny duties include:

  • Caring for children – This might include (depending on the age of the child) feeding them, getting them dressed, general supervision, taking them out, and getting them ready for bed.
  • Protecting the safety of your host family’s children and supervising them diligently.
  • Potential host family might ask that you take the kids to activities, school, and other places (having an international driver’s license is beneficial).
  • Quite often, an Au Pair will be expected to shoulder some of the housework in return for their stay. This might include laundry, cleaning, or similar household tasks.
  • In some specific circumstances, you might be asked to help tutor the children or at least help with homework.

Working for your host family

Just like any job interview, finding someone willing to let you work as an au pair will comprise of various screening processes. Depending on the nature of your stay, you might have to clearly map out what you intend on doing and how long you plan on staying so that your employers clearly understand the commitment you’re making.

Establish the fact that you’re also there on holiday. Mention this early, so that you avoid any conflict down the line.

For example, if you’re planning to go over to the United Kingdom because you like the nightlife scene, you might want to look for a host family that requires you around during the day.

Here are some of the key considerations you may have to take into account:

  • What are their schedules, and how do they align with mine?
  • How many children are to be looked after?
  • How much work is expected of you, overall?
  • How big is the house, and what exact duties will you be responsible for?
  • Are you expected to do any housework?

Ultimately, a healthy balance of work, travel, and fun should be maintained. If you’re going to need some free time to fit all your plans in, make sure you’re not snowed down with work.

At the same time, plan your finances and budgets so that you realistically manage everything without too much exertion on your part. You might be forced to make sacrifices in either your trip or on the amount of work you’re signing up for in order to get the best of both worlds.

Finding a host family

There are plenty of organisations dedicated to pairing nannies and families together. Just do a simple Google search and you should find a whole list of global organisations.

Some of these are simple listing services, while others will actively pair hosts and nannies that they think to suit each other. Have a look around for yourself — there’s no correct way to get in touch with someone — but make sure that both the site and your host provide sufficient documentation and information so that you’re sure who it is you’ll be working for.

And before you leave, complete a professional nannying course with ICI as a stepping stone to your rewarding career overseas as an au pair.

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