It’s pretty easy to establish boundaries and rules for the nanny when mom works out of the house, but it’s a whole different ball game when she works remotely, from home, or manages her own business from the house, has a home office, etc.
The boundaries become even more important so that the children know who the boss is during work hours. Equally important, the childcare giver should not feel like she’s being watched by mom and should be given the space to take charge and interact with the kids. Conversely, the nanny should respect that mom is around and try to find a way to ‘run the show’ how the parent wishes. Everyone needs to be flexible and to work together.
Here are a few guidelines that will help everyone work well together.
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Have a weekly or biweekly meeting to discuss how things are going.
Don’t have this meeting in front of the kids though!
Avoid interrupting conversation between the nanny and children when they are engaged.
The nanny may be helping with homework, talking with the kids about their days about activities or social interactions that may have occurred. The dynamics change when a parent enters the room for a quick hug or kiss or to ‘take charge’ of the situation, which can in turn alter the relationship between the nanny and the kids.
Mom should not intercede.
Even when a child is crying, having a tantrum, or having some sort of problem at school, let the nanny handle this as though the parent were working out of the house. Set boundaries on how to be updated at the end of a work day; Nanny and kids can fill mom in later and then, mom can decide if she needs to change whatever strategy nanny has put into place or problem solve.
Also important when navigating mommy/nanny boundaries inside the home, is routine.
The nanny and parent should set up a routine for the children as far as meal time, nap time, bathing, bedtime and social activities. If a parent needs to step out of the office, try to do it when the kids are otherwise engaged. It’s difficult for little ones when mom goes in and out from the office to the kitchen etc. Keeping a small mini fridge with snacks and drinks in the work area may help.
The day should operate as if mom commuted to a job outside the home.
Say a quick good by each day and then head to the ‘office.’ A sign on the office door such as “Please Do Not Disturb” serves as an indication to the nanny and child that the mom is hard at work and shouldn’t be disturbed with knocks on the door. If the nanny really needs to speak with work-at-home a parent, reaching out via cellphone, rather than knocking on the door, helps to maintain the boundaries of work vs. home. If nanny respects the boundaries, so will the kids.
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Have a separate work line.
Last, but not least, setting up a separate office line will really aid in lessening any confusion kids and caregiver have. Kids and nanny should only answer the house phone – and mom, the office phone. Everyone is separate, and in their own routines.
While it can be tricky maneuvering between work and home when you work out of the house and have a nanny for your little ones, it can be done successfully and smoothly as long as everyone respects each other’s work spaces.
Mom lets the nanny do her job, and the nanny follows mom’s directions. It could be the best of both worlds for everyone, having the people who care most about the kids all in one place!
Nicole Levinson founded Nanny Solutions with a different approach to domestic staffing; A great fit for the whole family. A great match everyone means who seamless fit for the nanny into the family culture.
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