Chicago Collegiate Nannies is happy to present this month's "Nanny of the Month!" Each month, we feature one of our very own CCN nannies and tell you a little about them. Below is our interview with Kerri H.! We were able to connect with Kerri recently about her experience as a nanny who transitioned from a teaching assistant to a nanny. After hearing from her, it's clear to see she has found a new love for the "one-on-one" connection it brings and looks forward to stepping out in this role! Take a moment to read up a little about Kerri’s experience as a Chicago nanny and how she has enjoyed her experience thus far and what amazing plans she has for her future! Congratulations, Kerri, and thank you so much for how well you represent Chicago Collegiate Nannies!
CCN: What is your favorite thing about being a nanny?
Kerri H.: My favorite thing about being a nanny would be the interactions I get on a daily basis with the kids. I was a teaching assistant and I felt that I wasn’t able to get a lot out of each child, so I love that right now I only have two kids and I can interact with both of them and get to know them. I like seeing how they interact with each other and being able to have the one-on-one [connection] with the kids. It’s more of a personal position than a teaching position, so I really enjoy the personal aspect to it.
CCN: Can you tell us your story about how you decided to become a nanny?
Kerri H.: I went to school and got my degree in Elementary Education and I was a teaching assistant in kindergarten for two years. In my second year in kindergarten I would bring the kids out to their family at the end of the day and many of the people picking them up were nannies. I was a little jealous because I had only summer nannied. So, I got to talking to a few nannies and I decided I wanted to do something that was more personal, one-on-one, with one family. I prefer working with small groups of kids. So, [after realizing I liked] getting to know families and loving my summer nanny positions, I was excited to not work with a big group of kids and instead with a small group.
CCN: What do you think has been the most rewarding thing you have learned throughout your current placement?
Kerri H.: The most rewarding thing I’ve learned is to be interactive. The boy [I nanny for] is actually going to be 5 tomorrow, he knows if I’m bored and I realize that if I’m excited and I’m interactive in something I bring to the table, he loves it…I think the most rewarding this is getting down on the floor, playing with both of them, being interactive, act excited and everything’s really working out that way as long as all three of us are involved.
CCN: What do you think has been beneficial about working with an agency like Chicago Collegiate Nannies?
Kerri H.: So, I had a nanny job before this (not through an agency), I decided it was time to move on. I had interviewed with nine families before and I felt like I was super awkward and not coached. So, once I met with Lydia, I felt like the coaching and support from her (I.e. here’s the family, here’s about them, etc.) and the call I did right afterwards (when meeting with the family). So, just really the support and having someone to back you up. I feel like there’s a “no shame” type of thing with Chicago Collegiate Nannies, and I just felt like the whole time I could call and say anything and always get some sort of advice from working with an agency. It’s been great!
CCN: What advice would you give to someone who is looking to become a professional nanny?
Kerri H.: I would say to do it. It’s rewarding and the idea that you feel very appreciated. Not just at the end of each day, but from the little parts from the kids, the hugs, the “I love yous”, the quick text from the parents, etc. I would also say that while being a nanny, to always have a Plan B. Everything sounds good in your head, even Pinterest projects, and when you try them, you have to be ready for the kids to absolutely hate it or it to go completely wrong. So being flexible and having a Plan B. It’s definitely extremely rewarding—I love it!
CCN: Do you have any plans and goals for yourself personally and professionally in the next five years?
Kerri H.: In the next five years, I do want to get my Master’s degree. And I would love to be back in the classroom, but through nannying, I’ve actually realized that I’m loving the small groups so I’ve thought about going back and being some sort of reading specialist teacher or something? Working in a small group and maybe something to be more helpful in a smaller setting rather than in the broad spectrum of the classroom.
CCN: What would you say has been the biggest lesson you have learned as a nanny?
Kerri H.: If I’m comparing all the positions I’ve had, communication is key. Being able to communicate with the parents, of course, no matter what is going on, you should always inform. And I think communication with the kids is huge too. If you’re not understanding them, the day could completely flip. Communication with all parties is so important.
CCN: Are there any other tips and tricks you would like to share?
Kerri H.: One thing I really benefitted from was being friends with other nannies. When you’re out and about, not to be shy. If a kid’s playing with your kid, try to spark up a conversation with their caregiver or their parent to bounce ideas off of each other.