A children's representative is a new spin on the traditional nanny or au pair job, allowing international childcare professionals to provide a special experience for children who are on holiday with their families, going through a difficult time or experiencing a special milestone, such as a birthday or relocation to a new region. These reps bond with the kids under their care and can often play a special role in the life of a child.
A children's representative plays a significant role in a family setting. Most commonly, this position is popular in the United Kingdom and other areas of Europe; individuals in this field are known as "children's holiday representatives." This job is similar to that of a nanny, in that the individual is expected to care for and play with the child. The individual must be loving, easy-going and yet firm enough to adhere to proper rules and discipline when necessary, as a children's representative serves as a secondary parent for a specific time period.
The first type of children's representative is the above-mentioned holiday representative. These jobs are usually filled by young adults travelling overseas for a summer or Christmas holiday, or are family friends looking to work with kids.
A holiday representative's job duties may include meeting the family at the airport, helping them get settled into a hotel or rental, taking the children to special activities while parents are elsewhere and resolving any childcare problems that may arise. They need to be energetic, organised and able to communicate positively with both kids and adults.
Working as a special occasion children's rep for a holiday company is a great choice for many individuals because they are employed by a business rather than an individual family. This brings greater structure and fewer demands upon one's personal life as well as a supervisor to liaise and mediate should any conflicts arise. These reps are hired and provided by the businesses, rather than directly employed by the family.
A children's representative will work with the whole family to determine what is expected during the holiday, and thereafter will work almost exclusively with the children to complete these recreational goals. These can include organising a birthday party, going on a special excursion or even taking care of basic needs during a predominantly adult event such as reading bedtime stories or getting the children ready.
Men or women can work as a children's representative, although the caretaking aspects of the job usually draw more female applicants.
Sometimes being a children's rep involves more than playing, feeding and tucking in at night. Many children's representatives travel overseas not only to get a dose of fun and culture, but also to assist with moderate to severely disabled children whose parents need assistance during travel or a special family time. Reps with these jobs often need a distinct educational background, such as nursing or special needs education, and will likely receive a different pay scale and schedule than a standard children's representative.
Qualifications and experience
Many companies wishing to hire potential representatives are looking for a wide variety of skill sets. Overall, qualified candidates will have a degree or at least college credits in early childhood education. They may also have a specialisation in a certain age group, such as nursery nursing or special needs childcare.
Depending upon the location and company, the individual may need a special skill, such as skiing or snowboarding.
Children's reps are expected to be at least 18 years old; in some cases, an age of 21 or over is required. They need boundless energy and a willingness to oblige parents' requests.
These often include mundane jobs such as carrying baggage if the rep is working through a company that wishes to give parents a complete relaxation package, or scheduling flights if they work directly for a family who personally hires a representative to handle the details of the vacation that they are either too busy to coordinate independently or are unexperienced with.