As this is a job that requires a lot of confidentiality we would recommend the following is done to keep yourself safe and protected and professional.
It is worth having a separate phone to your personal phone for business purposes in case the clients contact you during hours you aren’t working or if you are in with another family when they call. You can use your own mobile phone number but just be aware that anything can contact you on it and it will be hard to differentiate between work calls and personal calls during work hours or afterwards.
We would ask you to possibly change your name on social media so the family cant request to be your friend or find you, this is again up to you but it becomes hard to draw the line between friends and customers and payments. A lot of teacher and support workers do this now, where they might just change to the first name only or make up a surname different from their own, to keep their identity safe.
We also suggest you don’t give anyone your personal address, there is no real reason for them to know where you live or visit you at your home, as you are always working from their home environment not your own.
Never lend the family money as there is no guarantee they will return it, and as it is a paid service you are offering there is no reason you would need to do this. Payment method for your work is on your terms but we urge you to agree before work commences what the hours and payment are and ask for the money upfront before you do the work, as you don’t want to work for a week or month and not receive your payment. You also need to make a diary of hours worked and what you have done and how many hours, as once you start getting close to a family they might start blurring the lines between friendly favours and actual paid work and this is understandable but not acceptable from a business point of view so be clear about this from the start.
If the family invites you to a birthday party or social gathering it is up to you if you attend but I would be very careful to bring your family or children along as this starts to cross the line into friends and could end up not paid work so think carefully before this happens, always be professional.
Always be aware of when a relationship is moving from professional into friendship and decide how you will proceed if the family is happy for you to still attend paid work then that is ok, but if the lines become blurry, make sure they understand you are a professional doing your job and if you do any additional favours that that is your choice to do so not because they have asked you to do it for free. There might be a time when you decide it is no longer work and more a friendship at which point you might decide to stop charging and go-round as a friend when you are not at work and this is your choice.
It’s A JOB!
When we work so closely and involved in someone’s lives it’s hard to know the boundaries but we must always try to remember we are there to support but not take over and it is a paid job, not a charity you are part of.
You can set your own hours of work to suit your life and shouldn’t be easily swayed to do extra if you are uncomfortable with it or it interferes with your own commitments/family life.
You need to be aware it can sap all your energy and emotions depending on what you are working with, so bear this in mind and take holidays where appropriate to help you recharge. Understand that might be uncomfortable or even upsetting when a family no longer needs you or stops contact suddenly, this is part of the job but it is also your job to seek emotional help and support yourself and recognising when things are getting too much and impacting on your own life.
Sometimes when things become overwhelming we need to decide why sometimes it might be a family need a referral for more professional support and advice you just can’t offer, this doesn’t mean you need to stop working with them, or you can if you feel that is the right thing to do but it is also not your sole responsibility to take it all on yourself if you think they need a lot more additional support.
When its time to say bye to a family you can often feel it coming so its best to be as open and honest with a family that you feel they are doing good now and can manage without you and want to have the opportunity to say bye to the children, some families might even have a little party to celebrate how far you have all come, or you might want to celebrate them for their achievements, or might simply be knowing its the last visit and remain professional but making sure you have support afterwards if it has been a good attachment family that you have come to care for very much. Sometimes it takes time to move on and that’s ok, you are allowed to feel these emotions, we are always here to support you in this journey/career.
We all might struggle with this in life if we are caring people but learning the art of saying NO is a big one and hard for so many people. However we need to know our boundaries and know when we are not comfortable to say no, otherwise, there are some families (not many) who might think because they are paying you you will do anything for them, all hours of the day, and demand instant acknowledgement or visits. If this doesn’t work for you it is important in the consultation to be firm with this, explain how flexible you can be and what work you are prepared to do and also simply what you do not wish to do. If there was ever an instance where a family was becoming demanding and you were not comfortable, you are within your own rights to say you are sorry you don’t offer that service and can no longer meet their needs they will need to find alternative arrangements that can.
REMEMBER YOUR ROLE
During this line of work, you will no doubt be around older children from time to time and may even be left with baby for a short period of time in their home, or you might offer to walk the baby around outside in the pram for a little while. However, we are not a babysitting service, in order to be a baby sitter or childcare you need to be Ofsted registered.
Our services are aimed to help and support families not be left alone with children for prolonged periods of time, even if you are doing overnight work, the parents or mum should be in the same hour and available should you need her fr something, it is not permitted for you to be in your own house overnight with a baby or be in another person house overnight with their baby on your own. While the parent going out for a few hours and you being alone for a few hours with a baby is acceptable, you are not a babysitting service, always make that clear to parents from the start.