Honesty is important in any relationship. While you may think you have a great connection with your nanny, there may be things about the role that bother them but which they are nervous to approach you about. You are, after all, their employer and likely their primary source of income.
If you put yourself in their shoes and be honest with yourself, you may realise you could be doing some things differently to make your connection even better.
Here are a few tips on dealing with your nanny’s concerns – before they arise.
You arrive home apologising for being late, blaming heavy traffic or a sudden deadline at work – for the third time in two weeks! While your nanny might seem ok waiting an extra 10, 20 or 45 minutes, they may also be hiding their frustration. After all, they have a life too, so it’s essential they be paid for extra time spent with your family.
It’s not fair on your nanny if running over time becomes a regular occurrence. There will always be one-offs, out-of-your-control situations that anyone can understand.
Our advice is to ensure that one-offs don’t become a habit, and if they do, it may be time to review your nanny’s contract.
Not feeling appreciated
Too often as parents we find ourselves focusing on things happening with caregivers that you’re not happy with. After all, nobody will ever parent our children like we can! Right?
It’s good to remind yourself on a regular basis of everything your nanny does well. How your children feel about them speaks volumes. Everyone knows how much time and effort it takes to look after kids and have things run smoothly. And everyone knows how good it feels to be appreciated.
If your nanny is doing a great job, don’t just let them know occasionally – let them know often. Anyone who feels appreciated and happy at work is going to do a better job.
Unless you and your nanny have agreed to a job description and remuneration that includes household chores, don’t expect them to remain positive if you keep asking them to do some ‘light housework’.
It’s reasonable to expect a nanny to perform duties that are directly related to looking after kids, like washing their dishes after meal times or putting the toys away after playtime. However it’s not a great idea to leave a list of chores for them to complete each day, like laundry, walking the dog, or cleaning the bathroom.
A nanny is a child carer, not a cleaner. If you want a nanny who cleans, it needs to be clearly articulated in the job description before you hire them. It’s also a good idea to make sure the agreement is documented in your contract so that there is no room for misunderstanding later.
You hired me for a reason
Interference in any job can be frustrating, and that goes for your nanny too. It can be hard to leave your children in the care of someone else, but it can be more disruptive for the children if the carer is not provided with sufficient freedom.
This is especially the case when you or another family member are present while the nanny is working. For example, if you work from home, or the children’s grandmother ‘popped in’ for a visit.
As an employer, you obviously need to monitor your nanny and know how your children are responding to their care to ensure it’s the right fit for your family. But you also need to be mindful that you hired a nanny to make it easier for your family. Let the nanny focus on caring for your kids while you focus on being fully present in the moment when they’re in your care.
Avoiding misunderstanding comes down to good communication and honesty (read about avoiding common problems with your nanny here). With that, hopefully you can avoid your nanny’s concerns – before they arise – and cultivate a fantastic nanny relationship, which is good for the whole family.