Getting started with a new nanny is an exciting time for your family. This is an important position that requires some research and structure to make sure everything runs smoothly on a daily basis.
While the interview can do most of the work for you in regards to finding the perfect candidate (check out some interview tips), there will be some important aspects you will want to consider and deploy to help maintain a positive long-term relationship.
General Communication Tips
As with everything, communication is key. The nanny position operates intimately with your family’s inner workings. This creates a different kind of relationship than most are used to.
In order to avoid any missteps in the macro, or in the nuances of the daily operations, here are some quick communication tips to keep everything running smoothly.
Expectations Road Map
While the closing phases of the interview process will have included your expectations, be sure this is included (in detail) in your work agreement.
Then starting on day 1, adhere to this structure. It will be fine to leave reminder lists for the daily agreed-upon tasks to ensure proper execution. This will be more important at the beginning as everyone is getting used to the routines set in place.
Be sure the house rules are clearly stated. This is best written down and posted somewhere in a common area. This is mainly focused on the children.
Items such as:
- TV Time
- Internet Time
- Educational Activities
- Activities Not Permitted
Be Quick on the Draw
But, be nice. This tip is all about squashing any misunderstandings as soon as they appear. This will reduce the chances of tensions building while allowing for productive ways to find solutions.
When you get home from work, your nanny is probably also ready to head home (unless you have some other schedule in place). In this, while you may want to get a rundown of how the day went, and the nanny may be just as ready to provide it – streamlining this sharing of information can lead to greater happiness for all involved.
You may want to set up two forms of updates.
One is a daily list that can be written by the nanny sharing how the day went, concerns, and questions – in which you can reply in writing and have ready for the morning transition. This is aside from serious concerns that should be addressed immediately.
The second type is an actual sitdown discussion, lasting just 10-15 minutes, once per week. The nanny would be on the clock for this, it is up to you to decide the best process for implementation. This update meeting should focus on bigger picture items and general overviews. Even when all is well and perfect, this consistent communication will aid in further smooth sailing.
Both Sides Have Input
No one should run the entire conversation. You will definitely have important items to discuss, but so will the nanny who has spent time with your kids. It is important that everyone have a chance to speak on the subjects at hand – equally. Listening is an important part of communication.
Conversations with your nanny should maintain a direct purpose. With a conscious effort to communicate a direct concern, while avoiding confrontational language, resolutions will be achieved quickly and cordially.
Nobody likes to be pecked at about every little thing – however, this can be a natural outcome when someone is inside your home. It’s important to remember that everyone has an individual approach to things. The nanny may be adhering strictly to the rules and expectations as they define them. If you find that this is not what you expected, it is best to have that macro conversation to help clarify things. The weekly meeting (unless an immediate resolution is required) is a great time to do this.
While Working From Home
Working from home is becoming more and more the norm. Working at home with kids adds some extra stressors in this kind of structure (see some work from home tips).
In this, hiring a nanny to help throughout the day is also becoming more commonplace. Here are some tips to help maintain continuity between your work, family, and nanny life.
You may already have a work schedule, and your nanny is also on one – the next group that needs to understand this schedule is the children. Working from home may allow the child to think that you’re available anytime they wish. It is best to make sure they know when work time is, as well as when mommy and daddy time is.
Home Office Rules
This is where you will want to combine that work schedule with some other important items. Work is “Do Not Disturb” time, this should be clear to both the kids and the nanny. Of course, emergencies should be immediately addressed. Other items may include noise levels, phone use, internet use, or any similar work-related item that may intermingle with the daily workings of the rest of the house.
You’re working, but you hear that ruckus.. a tantrum (or something similar). Let it go, maintain work focus. These are things that would take place whether you are there or not, this is what the nanny is here to help resolve.
As parents, we also know what a serious situation sounds like with our kids. So, if you hear that familiar tone of “something isn’t right”, feel free to investigate in order to help resolve the situation or put yourself at ease.
The Feedback Loop
Keep that communication line open, in a structured way (as mentioned above in the Updates section). When working from home, any concerns you may have in regards should be openly discussed as well.
Working From Home and Homeschool
If you are in this dynamic: working from home, homeschooling, and a nanny – there is far more to coordinate and communicate. While more involved, a structured daily schedule needs to be really thought out and adhered to by all involved.