Congratulations! You have recently selected your perfect nanny! For many families, this person will become an integral part of your support team. We know that the journey in finding your ideal match can be very challenging for some. Now that you have found your ideal nanny, we want to help you keep her/him for as long as possible!
It may seem straightforward at first and something that should just naturally evolve but building a healthy relationship with your nanny doesn’t always come easy to all matches. Generally speaking, most things that become issues within the relationship can be avoided, many of which evolve and compound over time. Here we will address 5 things you can do from the beginning to build a healthy long-term working relationship with your Nanny.
Tip 1 – Be Appreciative
This is one of those areas where a little goes a long way. I can say for certain; we don’t get complaints from nannies or have nannies resign from a position for being told how much they are appreciated or thanked regularly for tasks/chores they do. It NEVER hurts to communicate to your nanny how much you appreciate all that they do and most do a lot to help make your lives easier and more productive! This can be for their normal tasks or anything extra they may have done, regardless of whether you asked them to do it.
Here are a few examples:
- Your nanny has completed all her tasks for the day. Her shift is about to end and he/she is headed out for the day. “Thank you for all of your help today. We really appreciate it! See you tomorrow.” Super simple.
- Your nanny completed a few additional tasks/chores for you throughout the day, with or without being asked. “Thank you, Claire, for unloading the dishwasher and taking out the trash. It was so nice to not have to do those things today. Thank you!” Being specific in acknowledging the additional tasks is important. It shows that you have noticed they went above and beyond their normal duties.
Bottom Line – Telling your nanny she is a rock star will help her feel like she is an integral part of your team. In the long run, she will feel more valued and appreciated, which often leads to them really going above and beyond. When people in your life do a good job and provide a service that is hard to replace, TELL THEM HOW MUCH YOU APPRECIATE THEM AND PAY THEM WELL. There will be no reason for them to look for work elsewhere and they will want to be helpful in the future.
Tip 2 – Be Respectful
Often, this is about respecting their time and agreed upon duties. We will address more on the duties in the next section. When it comes to respecting your nanny’s time, just remember that they have lives and things/appointments to do outside of when they are caring for your child(ren) and supporting your household. Most of the time, nannies are MORE than happy to accommodate an occasional later shift end time or beginning their shift earlier than normal. However, challenges can arise when a family just expects that they will stay late or arrive earlier and little to no notice has been given to the nanny. This is not respectful and often makes nannies feel underappreciated.
Bottom Line – Don’t just assume your nanny will be available for extra hours. Let her know in advance, as much as possible, of any possible changes that may be needed. Finally, ask her (don’t tell her) if she is available for the extra hours and willing to help.
“Maggie, I just realized that I double booked myself with a meeting on Thursday. Are you possibly free to stay 1 hour later that day?”
Tip 3 – Write Expectations Down
This one is HUGE! So many challenges arise when there are no clear expectations when entering a working relationship. A fully executed working agreement/contract with your nanny will prevent most, if not all, potential issues. Everything from pay, benefits, vacation time, illnesses and job duties should be detailed out and agreed to by both parties. If job duties change from what is in the original agreement, an amendment should be made in writing outlining the new/additional duties as well as any compensation adjustments to the nanny’s pay.
Tip 4 – Avoid “Job Creep”
This tip goes along with the first three: be appreciative, be respectful and writing expectations down.
Simply put, job creep is when more and more duties are placed upon your nanny slowly over time.
Here is a common scenario. You’ve asked your nanny to help with a task as a “one time thing”. For example, you are planning to have houseguests over and ask if your nanny could tidy up certain areas of the house. Most nannies would be more than willing to help because they know it is a one-time thing. However, many parents can think that because the nanny was so willing to help, the extra task wasn’t a big deal.
Another scenario happens when a nanny will go above and beyond and help with extra little tasks without being asked. They see something needs to be done and just take care of it for you. They may have had a few extra minutes on their hands, but never originally never intended to do this task on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, what often happens in both scenarios is that parents may intentionally not do this task themselves in the future because it seemed so easy for the nanny to do. It then may become another task for the nanny to do, adding to her already growing list. The growing list of responsibilities can make your nanny feel overwhelmed and can take time away from what she/he truly loves to do – care for and play with your children!
Bottom Line – Job creep can lead to your nanny feeling underappreciated and resentful. Nannies leave positions for this reason. Try to fully outline the duties and expectations prior to her/his hire. If your nanny agrees to additional tasks, revisit her pay along with adding any additional duties to her work contract. It is fair, respectful and everyone will be on the same page.
Tip 5 – Check In & Communicate
Have regularly scheduled checking in sessions with your nanny. These can be times when you address possible additional duties or just times when you check in to see how they are doing.
It’s very helpful to be proactive in asking things like:
Family – “is there anything we can get for you to help you do your job better”.
Family – “Is there anything you would like?”
Family – “Is there anything we can do for you?”
You may be surprised at what your nanny says.
Nanny – “Well Mr. and Mrs. Smith, I would love to help you keep x,y & z more tidy. Would it be possible to order a few organizers?” Or,
Nanny – “I was wondering if we could get an activity pass to the zoo or do music classes on Tuesdays at the Y? I think Claire would really enjoy that”.
Nanny – “If you can put Tommy’s laundry in the utility room before he goes to bed at night, I can get that started first thing when I arrive in the morning.”
Nanny – “I noticed an interesting behavior today at the playground. I was wondering if there was a good time all of us could chat about it. I just want to make sure we are all on the same page about how to handle it, if it should happen again.
Bottom Line – Keeping the line of communication open with your nanny will ultimately help your entire household run smoother as a result. Remember, most nannies really WANT to be helpful, and lessen your everyday tasks. They also love and enjoy caring for kids. Whatever feels good to you, just check in. It can be on a more formal, scheduled basis or consistently throughout the week.
Building a mutual relationship of trust and respect with you nanny takes time, just like all good relationships do. This relationship will likely be one of the most important in your lives. Your nanny is caring for your most precious gifts, your children!! If you value this relationship highly and come from a genuine place of respect and follow the tips above, everyone in your household will benefit and be much happier!
If you are struggling to find your perfect nanny, you are not alone! With the continued pandemic, there is a supply and demand challenge many families are encountering. Please contact us. We would love to help and may already be working with your perfect nanny!