Having a nanny join your beautiful family can be a rewarding experience for everyone involved, especially the children! Ultimately, though, it is a professional relationship that you are developing with a nanny, and sometimes things won’t work out as planned. It’s a good idea to understand some of the common problems faced when employing a nanny, and how to deal with them.
Understand what could go wrong and how best to prepare yourself and your family is important. If you are hiring a nanny, communication is key. So we’ve listed below a few common problems faced when hiring and managing a nanny, and advice on how to overcome them.
Setting clear expectations #
Terms of engagement are really important when you hire someone to look after your children. It’s essential for both parties to start from a position of mutual respect and ensure clear expectations are agreed to and enforced.
One common problem that parents face when hiring a nanny is how situations are handled when children are unruly and misbehaving. We all have different styles of caring for children, and your way of responding to your children may be different to the way your nanny responds.
The first step in avoiding this issue is to bring it up at the interview stage. Ask the nanny how they respond to unruly behaviour. Explain how you do it and see if they are happy to follow your lead. You should run through some specific examples to demonstrate exactly what you mean. If you don’t discuss things properly first, there are bound to be issues.
It’s important to not only set clear expectations, but also agree to what happens if those expectations aren’t met. Once this is done, write everything down and have both sides sign the agreement. This is very important, so that if your nanny responds to an issue differently from the way you’ve agreed, you can refer to the written agreement. This may help you both understand why it’s been misunderstood or is not being implemented.
If your agreement clearly states state how the nanny is expected to respond when different issues arise, and he or she continues to not abide by the agreement, it could be time to end the arrangement.
Maintaining a schedule #
A well-managed schedule can be a parent’s best friend. Every family has a schedule whether it’s written down or not, and there’s nothing worse than when your schedule breaks down!
Having a nanny fit into your schedule is very important, but there will likely be a few teething problems at the start of every engagement while you all get used to the new routine. With enough time and patience, though, a nanny can make things so much easier for you.
Make sure you run through your schedule with the nanny before they start work. Be clear on the details, and make sure everything is written down (with copies made!). You will likely need to be more hands-on in the first few weeks of an engagement to make sure things run smoothly.
Make sure you have frequent informal reviews to understand how the nanny and your family are coping. Be sure to re-evaluate the schedule to ensure expectations are fair and reasonable.
Time is money; money is time #
As a nanny fits into your family’s routine and you both become comfortable, remember that this is a professional arrangement based on clear expectations. Life gets in the way, though, and sometimes you will need to go outside your terms of agreement. For example, you may need to work late or the nanny gets caught in traffic. Make sure that your arrangement is flexible for these one-off events and that the nanny’s pay is properly accounted for.
If these one-off events become habits, you should revisit the arrangement.
Remember, communication is key #
Problems will inevitably arise. But like any relationship, the more you talk through them, the better you can deal with problems when they happen.
Once communication breaks down on either side, the problems become bigger and more difficult to handle. Your family will ultimately be affected. So remember to always promote honest, open, and frequent conversations.
Bringing a nanny into your family is a journey. So starting the journey with strong communication is the best strategy for a wonderful and rewarding engagement.