I know – you may be thinking, we’ve read all this before. And sure, there’ve been articles galore about hiring and managing the relationship you’re your nanny. Heck, I’ve written a few of them myself! But, it’s always been from the perspective of the parent. If we’re really keen on making things work mutually – wouldn’t you like to know the nanny’s perspective?
I hope that’s what we’ve done here. Sharon – a wonderful career nanny who’s been caring for children (including three of her own) for a few decades – graciously agreed to share her point of view in the article below.
Here’s a nanny’s perspective on how to make the relationship work to complement that. Enjoy the read and give us some feedback!
In the grand scheme of things, hiring a nanny is probably the most important hire you’ll ever make. We put so much effort in HR policies and nurturing relationships with employees at work – wouldn’t you like to make sure you’re doing the best you can for the employee who means the most to your family?
Here are some things I’d recommend parents consider in the process of hiring and managing the relationship with your nanny:
Find the right person and cherish them.
When going through your search process, think carefully about the qualities and skillset most important to you. Some nannies are career-qualified professionals and others are seeking a part-time job outside of their day job or study commitments. Both could be the right person for you - it all depends on whether you have a good fit or not. Once the choice has been made, your nanny needs to feel appreciated and respected in the relationship. It can be as simple as asking for an opinion on how they’d handle a certain situation vs. laying down the law on all and sundry. A happy nanny equals a happy child.
Trust that you have chosen well.
Having someone in your home can feel pretty uncomfortable at first. Let’s face it, there are all sorts of personal and precious things that you may feel vulnerable about, and it’s not only your beautiful children. You should try to focus on the bigger picture. If you have a nanny with the right experience and certification, and they are someone that you have a good feeling about, then relax and trust that all will be well. Leaving someone in your home then worrying about it creates negative energy that is transferred , it will affect everyone − including your little ones.
Communication is key to working as a team.
As busy as life gets, a daily discussion should be slotted into your day for a variety of reasons - most important of which is to get to know one another as individuals. When you take the time to connect on a deeper level, lots of positive things can happen. First, the nanny will start to see you as a person not just as a paycheck. You, on the other hand, may begin to value her abilities. This opens up our hearts and minds to working together as a team towards the same goal – raising your child as best you can. Your nanny comes to appreciate your parenting style and begin adapting that into her own, and vice versa. The openness also enables you both to start having frank and honest discussions about things that might impact your child or your working relationship. An easy way to do this is with a daily communication book with notes from mum or dad on baby’s mood, food and activities, continued during the day by nanny on the same topics, keeps everyone up to speed.
Try not to turn your nanny into a cleaner
I know it’s tempting to get things done at home; there is always something to do and the list never ends. Assuming that your nanny can start doing the cleaning as well as caring for your child may be presumptuous and counter-productive. Certainly, in the beginning you are entitled to request the things that you want done and it’s up to the nanny to let you know if she feels comfortable performing those tasks. If she doesn’t, then you may not have a fit or may just need to find a cleaner who can do it in a focused way. Taking care of your child is always the first priority for your nanny. And, if you create a relationship with her, she will want to help you whenever you can – whether you’ve asked her to or not.
When things go wrong
Sometimes, life gets in the way of smooth sailing - accidents happen, things get turned upside down and people get upset. What’s important is how we deal with each other so that there is an avenue to move forward. Even parents have accidents or make mistakes, so trying not to blame or judge is a good start.
The issue may also be one of trust. Should that be the case, then that might be a deal breaker. It’s important to put yourself in your nanny’s shoes and ask yourself if this can be resolved with more communication and understanding to get to root of things amicably.
If your nanny feels as though they are being attacked − even subtly - it’s rarely a point to start successful honest or reflective discussions. You may find that a situation that could have been handled better leaves you all mad and upset instead of feeling closer to a resolution between the both of you.
If your children are happy and the relationship was strong before the incident, it’s a good thing to look at how you can work together on moving forward before throwing the baby out with the bath water – so to speak.
This is by no means the golden rule book for nanny relationship management – but perhaps, a different perspective. But, I do hope that my experience has provided me a depth of knowledge that you’d benefit from. And I sincerely hope you do.
Mei Koon is from Meet A Sitter. For further information about Meet A Sitter and how we can help you find a babysitter or nanny through our boutique service, visit: http://www.meetasitter.com.au