Kowalah Stories - Helen
Here at Kowalah we take great pride in connecting fun and safe sitters with brilliant families - and we love sharing your experiences with the wider Kowalah community. Helen has been working on the Kowalah platform for the last year before she heads off to London to start her career in Management Consulting.
Here are her experiences and advice for other Kowalah sitters.
Why do you enjoy working on Kowalah?
Kowalah has been the perfect money earning opportunity since graduating from University this year - primarily because of its flexible nature. I was able to go away for a few weeks over the summer and still come back and work with the same families. It is very rare to find a job that is so accommodating and the Kowalah team are very understanding about their Kowalahs having other commitments. Overall, this has really improved my experience working as a Kowalah and would definitely recommend it as a worthwhile part-time work opportunity. I also love getting to know so many amazing families in the area!!
What are the families like that you have worked with on Kowalah?
The families are all amazing and have all made me feel so welcome in their homes. I understand that letting someone look after your children can be a daunting experience but all of the mums have made me feel extremely welcome. What's more, all of the children I have nannied for have been so polite and helpful, especially if I haven't been to their home before. As an ex-Hatheropian [a local school] it has been amazing to go back to the school whilst looking after some of Kowalah's clients and to see how much it has changed since I have been there too!
What happens at a typical booking?
If the job is a daytime nanny job then I will usually pick the children up from school and take them home for tea and to complete homework. If it is my first time at the house then the children love showing me their houses and all their toys in their bedroom so will play with them there for an hour or two before bed. If it is a nighttime booking, I usually meet some of the elder children and read them a story or two before bed. All of the children I have looked after have had no problems when it comes to bedtime which makes it even easier!
Why do you choose to accept or decline a booking?
Usually I will only decline a booking if I have another commitment, for example another Kowalah booking or I am away for the weekend/abroad. Sometimes I will decline a booking if it is too far away for just a few hours work but this is rarely the case. I will accept a booking especially if I have looked after the children before as it can make it easier knowing the children before a booking.
How do you introduce yourself to a new family?
I ensure that I call a booking before starting somewhere new to introduce myself - and if I have babysat for them before I will always text a few days before and say how much I am looking forward to seeing them again. All the families are so nice so usually ask lots of questions when I arrive about what I have been doing since graduating. I find it helps if for example, a family knows of another family that I have babysat for before. Especially for the younger children because I can talk about people that they may know, which I think makes them feel much more comfortable around me. I also have the benefit of having gone to Hatherop so I can tell them all about that-and name some of the teachers that are the same!
Do you prefer daytime or evening bookings, and why?
Daytime bookings can be more tiring as the demands of you as a nanny are higher, for example cooking them tea or playing games with them for the whole day. So in this respect evening bookings could be perceived as easier as the children are often in bed. But I love spending time with the children of the families I work with so it makes no difference to me really!
What are your future plans?
I am starting a job in London in January in Management Consultancy. If I had the time, and as Kowalah moves into London, then I would love to do the odd job. However, between now and January Kowalah has facilitated a lot of my upcoming travel costs to Australia!
Do you have any advice for a new Kowalah sitter starting for the first time?
Just to be smiley, approachable, flexible and ready to take on any of their in-booking requests (like picking the children up something for tea etc.) I have found that if you get on with a family particularly well then they are more likely to hire you again - which is good for Kowalah and also yourself!