When you hire a new nanny, you should plan for a period of adjustment for the entire family. Parents and children need to form a relationship with their nanny and build trust, while your new nanny needs to do the same AND train for a new job. The transition takes time and patience because it can stir up a lot of nerves.
No matter how young or old the kids are, they’ll have some worry when they’re left with a nanny they don’t know very well. (Parents will too, of course!) For kids who aren’t used to being cared for by anyone other than their parents or those who are experiencing an increase in separation anxiety (most common for kids ages 6 months to 3 years), the worry increases and may not go away easily on its own.
That’s why it’s so important for parents and caregivers to help put kids at ease and to create a positive experience from the start. To help, we’re sharing must-follow tips to help children adjust to a new nanny:
Have a nanny pep talk
The first step is to talk to your children about the role their new nanny is going to play in their lives. You’ll want to explain how the nanny will be helping at home and on the go, review any changes to their schedule, plus share a few fun facts about your new nanny to get them excited. But keep in mind that less can be more with little kids who may not fully comprehend the meaning of all of the changes.
It’s also important to time your conversation right. Some kids may get more anxious when they know about a pending change too far in advance, so consider your child’s age and tendencies before you share the news that a new nanny is starting. Once you do share the news, be sure to give your kids an opportunity to ask questions, whether that’s at the end of your chat or hours or days later when all of the info has started to sink in. And remember, kids often take cues from their parents, so showing your confidence will help kids feel more comfortable.
Allow for transition time
Patience and planning are key here since it may take kids a few visits to get comfortable interacting directly with the new nanny, nevermind following their direction. Schedule a short meet and greet with your new nanny as a first introduction. Then, gradually increase the length of visits while decreasing your presence as much as possible.
Parents will also need to use this time to train the new nanny on the family’s rules and routines. Remember to offer your nanny support and reassurance along the way. Your nanny will appreciate it and your kids will start to build trust in their nanny as they observe the process.
In addition to going over the household basics as you onboard your nanny, parents should set aside special time for nannies and kids to focus on bonding. Your nanny may want to suggest a few icebreaker ideas, but parents should feel free to weigh in on how they’ll be received by kids since they know them best. Together, you can plan fun activities that help everyone get to know each other and get more comfortable.
Keep with routines and schedules
Kids thrive on consistency and it can help make kids feel more secure when there’s a change. Stick to regular meal times, nap times, and any other recurring times so kids know what to expect and when. Your nanny may want to make shifts or tweaks, but in the beginning it’s important to provide a sense of stability by slipping right into what’s already been established.
Listen and reassure your child
Both parents and nannies should actively listen to the kids during this transition period so they have ample opportunities to voice any concerns. From there, a little reassurance goes a long way. Praising your child for positive behavior can also help boost their confidence and ease any anxiety.