Hi all happy Wednesday! This post is going to go a little differently than my other ones. It is designed to help BOTH nannies and parents/bosses figure out a way to have a good, healthy relationship. So please share this with any nannies you know or parents you know that have nannies!
I’ve seen a lot of posts on nanny forums recently about nannies having bad relationships with their bosses, nannies feeling used, or nannies feeling that their time is not valued. Given that I thought it might be a good time to send out some advice on how to prevent or make those things better. The key is COMMUNICATION. That is the basis for every good, healthy relationship and especially a relationship between a nanny and parent.
I have always been very communicative with my bosses. I think it helps make the job easier for me, and it helps reassure the parents that I know what I am doing and am confident. After reflecting on what I think has been the most helpful aspects of communication in my relationships with my bosses I came up with this list to share with you all! Nannies, I hope some of these ideas help you, or encourage you to have this conversation about good communication with your boss. Also, parents/bosses remember that healthy communication between a boss and their nanny is a two way street. Make sure you are open to communication and feedback from your nanny. Now let’s get at the little details!
Honesty is key from the get go. No relationship between a nanny and parent will work without honesty from both parties.
- Nannies: Start being honest from your first meeting. Be honest about what you are willing and not willing to do as a nanny. If you feel strongly against doing maid type work, tell you boss that from day one. I know it may be a deal breaker for a job, but if you lie and say you are okay with doing the laundry and dishes, when you aren’t, down the line this could cause problems. Be honest about your schedule and flexibility. If you need to be done everyday at exactly what time the parents say they will be home, tell them that. Explain to them that you have to get your kids from school at 5:30 so you need to leave at 5, or that you have night class at 7, so you need to leave in time for that everyday. They should respect those commitments. Also be honest with them when it has been a crappy day at work. It may not feel good to tell them how rude or disrespectful their child was to you that day, but they should, and probably, want to hear that so they can talk to their child about that. I had a difficult child one summer and I had to tell the mom I couldn’t work for them any longer if he continued to treat me the way he did. It was one of the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but that honesty with her prompted her to have a discussion with her child about respect. It ended up not working out in the end, but what I learned from that is even when it’s hard to be honest with the parents that is when you really need to be.
- Parents: Start by being honest from your first discussion with the potential nanny. I know you may need someone right away so the tendency is to make you sound as likable as ever, but make sure everything is honest. If you know you need a nanny who is flexible because your job is demanding then say that. Do not mislead your potential nanny, because that will cause issues down the line. When it comes to your interview ask them everything you want that you think will help you make your decision. Also answer all of your potential nanny’s questions honestly. If she asks you if she will be expected to clean up the house, answer with exactly what you want her to do and see what she says. Make sure you tell your potential nanny everything you are going to expect of them from the start, and if you see yourself adding expectations in after you see how everything goes.
Contracts may help facilitate a way of communication.
- This is an especially important thing for full time nanny positions. I am not an expert on nanny contracts and am not going to act like I am one 🙂 This is a good article to take a look at when preparing your contract. It gives 20 helpful ideas of what the contract should cover. The one thing I do know though is to physically print the contract out and keep it with you. The nanny and the parent should both have a physical copy to able to refer to. And DO refer to it. If part of your contract is being broken by either party, bring that up to them along with showing them the contract again. This may seem super formal, but it is an effective way for both parties to feel protected and in control.
Have an open dialogue.
- Make sure you both feel comfortable talking to the other if things come up. Life is messy. Things happen out of our control, and that is okay. Nannies, if you need to take some time off because of personal reasons be upfront with your boss. Explain as much as you feel you need to them, and also be open to there response. Compromise is key here. If you are requesting something outside of the realm of the contract you have to be willing to compromise. The same goes for parent/bosses, compromising sometimes is necessary. If you need to cut their hours for a few weeks for whatever reason, tell them right away. Hear what they think about that and go from there.
Some small things that may help make communication easier for all…
- Monthly Meetings
- These can be to asses how things are going for both parties. Nannies you can say what is working well and what isn’t, and parents you can do the same.
- As you get more comfortable with each other and gain more of routine maybe make them bimonthly or every 6 months.
- Don’t Let Little Annoyances Pile Up
- This is true for both nannies and parents. If something is bothering you about some aspect tell the other person before it becomes something bigger than it needs to.
- Nanny Notes!
- I know there are a lot of templates for these out there but I created a new one for all of you. I tried to make it user friendly and printer ink friendly (ink can add up in cost big time!)
- Nannies try filling these out each day to keep the parent informed. I have found that parents love them.
- Parents offer to print them out for the nanny (help them save money) and then you can stay in the loop.
- Nanny note link!
My last piece of advice: If all else fails and there is no way to achieve good communication with your nanny or your boss, quit. It sounds harsh, but don’t stay in an environment that isn’t good for you. It will only get worse for you and they family you are with.
© The Nanny Guide, 2015