If you follow any of the ever-popular parenting boards or groups on social media sites, you’ve likely encountered more than one mother venting about her nanny. There seems to be a rise in the ideology that nannies must inherently be all-knowing, psychic, and micromanaged all at the same time. While in most cases this is simply a (major) miscommunication, rest assured there are easy steps to take to ensure the nanny/parent relationship is harmonious for all.
Nannies: moms aren’t all over-privileged tyrants. In most cases, moms are just tired, frazzled, and stressed out – with probably a hint of guilt thrown in for hiring a nanny in the first place.
Moms: nannies are not mind-readers. They are not all out to steal your husbands either. Nor do they like being micromanaged to the point of a mental breakdown (would you like that kind of work environment?).
The biggest “trick” to ensuring a healthy working relationship for everyone involved? COMMUNICATION.
Talk to each other in great detail both before the commitment begins and during the employment contract as well. It’s the ONLY way you’ll both be on the same page throughout the position, and it will iron out any misconceptions before they can even occur.
That being said, there are a few other tips and tricks you can use to keep your relationship in tip-top shape.
Here are the Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Your Nanny:
1. Lay Out the Roles and Responsibilities from the Start
This goes without saying, but there needs to be a clear-cut set of instructions, rules, and/or guidelines that give details on what’s expected of everyone in the family (not just the nanny). Behaviors and discipline efforts need to be addressed up front, and schedules and routines should be outlined, as well as anything in the home that is “off limits” for activities or entrance.
You can’t expect your nanny to know you planned to dress your kids in that outfit on Sunday if you didn’t tell her on Monday not to use it. Nannies aren’t psychic.
2. Don’t Micromanage – Just Don’t
As hard as it may be to hand over the reins to someone else when it comes to your children, you MUST trust your nanny to do her job. If you’re micromanaging every little thing, it doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence in the person who is in charge of looking after your kiddos, now does it?
It’s more likely to cause a mental breakdown, or at the very least, a highly stressful work environment. Just don’t do it. You hired them to do the job, so trust that you did your job in screening them first.
3. Don’t Be Stingy with the Benefits
If you start to look at your nanny in a way that you’d like to be viewed by your employer, it makes it easier to understand how important it is to appreciate them. Also, let’s be honest here, watching kids all day is a stressful job in itself and one that deserves a bit of gratitude.
Splurging on little gifts like spa days or extra paid days off occasionally can help them know you appreciate the job they do, as well as refresh them for their next day with your kids.
4. Help with Organization
Running a household is tricky and confusing business – you know this because it’s your home. If you want to keep it running smoothly, help your nanny stay on track with some easy organization tricks. Keeping a chalkboard, whiteboard, or calendar of events in a visible area where notes and important dates can be shared for all to see makes it easier for everyone to stay on the same page.
If you’re all on the same page, there’s less chance of a mishap or missed appointment (or soccer practice).
5. Be Understanding but Speak Up
It’s highly important to be as understanding as humanly possible with your nanny. Things come up, situations happen, and mistakes are sometimes made, too – they are human just like everyone else. If something happens, try to keep your cool and only complain about it if it’s truly an issue.
That being said, if there IS an issue, address it directly with your nanny (nicely) to let them know that it isn’t acceptable behavior. Never, and we repeat, never, is it professional or ethical to “vent” about your nanny to others online – especially if you have not discussed the matter with the nanny directly to correct the issue.
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Jamie is a married mother of four – two girls and two boys – ages 3 to 22. With 19 years between her oldest and youngest, she writes to keep her sanity in check with a healthy dose of therapeutic humor injected for good measure. She is a children’s book author and full-time mommy blogger for her site, Momma Juice and regularly guest blogs for other sites.