Tracey Roberts – Interview with a professional nanny


Published on June 28, 2017

Full Name:  Tracey Roberts

Age: 42

Location: Paris


How did you decide to become a career nanny?  I didn’t proactively choose to become a nanny. I suppose the circumstances that I was living in forced me to look at different job opportunities. I had moved to Athens and as a native English speaker jobs where limited. I had a friend who knew a Greek family who where looking for the kids to enhance their English so it took off from there.

Have you completed any professional training to help with your career? I then undertook some courses over the years. A diploma in early childhood studies. And courses specialising in working with children where English is not the first language through creative play etc.

When you say you’ve served as an extension of the parent, what do you mean?  In most of my roles I have become the main adult carer as the majority of the families I have worked for have kept very long work hours. So I have taken on the role of role model and teacher, friend and have been the major source of love that my charges had.

What can you tell me about your salaries and packages?  I have earned anything from £1000 a week in Russia and Qatar to basic wages in other places. I have only twice lived in. Most of my roles are live out sole charge.

What should a family look for in a nanny?  A family should look at references from other families and most importantly make sure the nanny is on the same page when it comes to what how you expect your children to be brought up. As a nanny has a major influence in the upbringing of a child. And make sure you get on with them. I always say trust your instincts.

What’s the most difficult experience you’ve ever faced in your professional career and how did you overcome it?  I once worked for a family where the father was violently abuse to the mother. I tried to speak professionally with them but in the end I could not tolerate such behaviour and I had to leave. It broke my heart leaving the children and the mum in that situation.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced?  Most challenges come from the parents micromanaging me. I learn to have patience and explain to them that I am a professional and very experienced and they should trust me to do the job well.

How do you handle picky eaters?  I have luckily never had picky eaters just messy bad mannered ones. I used rewards and charts and have resorted to meals at a different table until they can comeback and eat nicely.

What do you do when children won’t go to bed?  The children only won’t to to bed when the parents are around and to be honest I leave it to them to deal with. When alone we have a great bedtime routine where we spend 2 hours winding down. Dinner, bath, stories. As most of my jobs are live out I don’t normally put the kids to bed.

What advice would you give candidates looking to become a nanny or develop to a high level of nanny work?  Get as much experience as you can. Stick with jobs for a number of years. I usually don’t jump jobs and stay for 2 or 3 years if possible. Choose the jobs that fit your lifestyle. I learnt the hard way that money isn’t everything. For the high payments they expect your life to be theirs. So I stick with jobs that suit me and give me a healthy work life balance. I will no longer do 60 hour weeks. And that is a lesson learnt from experience.

Lastly what are your dreams and hopes for the future?  I wish to move into teaching English as a foreign language as I am worried that as I get older this job will become more exhausting. But I have a few years left in me yet.

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