You’ve finally found a nanny that fits your family, but now how do you continue to nurture and grow that relationship? I often have parents come to me with this exact question. You may know how to create a positive working relationship at the office, but a nanny/parent relationship is quite different. You are inviting them into your home and inviting them into family life.
A positive relationship starts before the nanny is even hired with trust. It’s hard to qualify trust, it really goes back to old-fashioned intuition. Spend time with your nanny before they’re hired and see how he/she interacts with your children. Encourage feedback from your children; as you know, kids always “tell it like it is.” On top of that, thoroughly check references, be assured that your nanny comes from a good place.
From the first day, make sure you are on the same page. Be honest and open with your nanny from the start, set expectations correctly. Even the smallest things that you may think sound silly. I once worked with a family that wanted to be the ones to give their children candy and treats so that they had those special happy moments with them; let your nanny know those types of things ahead of time before a mistake happens and the relationship gets muddled. Some parents want to be best friends with their nannies, while others would be prefer a more structured working relationship. There is no right or wrong to the type of relationship you cultivate, as long as you let your nanny know what you expect and make boundaries clear.
The old saying, “treat others how you wish to be treated,” stands true in a parent/nanny relationship. I once had a nanny who I had placed call me up because the family she was working for was constantly late coming home and not letting her know until 15 minutes before hand. If you say you’re going to be home by 6pm, be home at 6pm. Flexibility is always desirable, but being consistently late without notice could lead to resentment and frustration.
Create clear and open lines of communication. Communicate clearly to your nanny and ask the same of them. Set a time weekly, or monthly to sit down with your nanny and have a chat! Keep the tone positive and encouraging, even if providing constructive criticism.
Lastly, but most importantly, remember the role of someone caring for your children, your pride and joy, is one of the most important jobs there is. Treat your nanny with respect and let them know how much you value and appreciate what they do for your family. I’ve heard the saying, “a paycheck should be appreciation enough,” but remember we’re talking about people here. Your nanny is putting her heart and soul into your children; it’s amazing how having an attitude of gratitude can go so far.
Deb Crisford is the founder and director of Crisford & Co., a boutique nanny placement service with an in-house wellness team. She brings over 15 years of experience to families in NYC. Prior to opening Crisford & Co., Deb co-owned and operated a top New York City nanny service for seven years. In addition, Deb is a trained yoga practitioner (specializing in pre- and post-natal) and a DONA trained doula. crisfordandco.com