Monthly Archives: April 2010

How to Keep Your Nanny Happy

Nannies who feel overworked and unappreciated usually don’t last. It is important to have consistent and reliable childcare as constant change can be very stressful and difficult for your family-especially your children. Because of this, it is often worthwhile to make an effort to address any reasonable concerns your nanny may have and make an attempt to find solutions. In most cases common problems that occur have a relatively easy solution.
Interfering Parents. Nannies sometimes encounter a situation in which a parent interferes with their relationship with the children when it comes to disciple. This is especially evident if the mother or father works at home or does not work. This can cause a great deal of frustration for the nanny and confusion for the children. Sometimes the children start to question and challenge the nanny’s authority.
It is important to tell your children that when they are with their nanny she is in charge. If your children come running to you because they don’t like the way she is dealing with a discipline issue the children need to know that you support the decisions their nanny is making. Before she begins the position it is important to discuss your discipline philosophy so she clearly understands what works for your children and what is important to you. In fact your discipline philosophy should be a topic of discussion in the job interview.

Being underpaid.: This is one of the main reasons a nanny will start to look for employment elsewhere. Unfortunately they are often not confident enough to bring up their concerns regarding this matter. It is important to pay your nanny based on the market rate, their experience and education and the job description. If this does not happen she may feel under valued from the start and may be influenced by peer and family to look for other employment. It is also important to give your nanny pay raises, pay appropriately for over time and give bonuses to let them know you appreciate a job well done. •

Too Much Housework Sometimes employers will ask their nanny to do a great deal of housework. First off, it is important to remember that a nanny is not a housekeeper. She will engage in light housekeeping duties –like general tidy up, laundry, sweeping and simple meal prep. If you want to hire someone to do your housekeeping and take care of your children you can hire a nanny housekeeper. It is important to remember that even a nanny housekeeper cannot and should not be expected to do heavy housework if she has young children to care for and there is no time to do the housekeeping safely. If your children are older and in school, or if you have one child who sleeps a lot, there is time for housework. If you are a mom or dad at home and you will be taking care of the children for scheduled periods then housekeeping expectations are acceptable. In the nanny interview make sure the applicant has an opportunity to discuss what they are willing and not willing to do when it comes to homework. Tell her what your expectation are and when you would like this work to be done. Once your nanny or nanny housekeeper has started, make sure you have a clear job description and stick to it. We often receive complaints from nannies who say they are asked to do more and more housekeeping tasks that where not originally agreed upon.

No free time or privacy: When you have a live-in nanny, she will be living in your home but she will need her own time and privacy. It is important that you do not assume she is available to work beyond her work hours with little or no notice and without additional pay. Make sure you tell your children that your nanny’s living area is her private space and they should not be entering it unless they are invited. Your nanny needs her time off to rest and relax so she can come to work feeling refreshed and enthusiastic.

Communication Breakdown: It is extremely important to have open and honest two way communication with your nanny. If this does not occur small issues can become problematic very quickly. Make sure you are very clear with your nanny about what you expect with regard to this issue. Encourage them to come to you if they have a problem or concern. It is a good idea to keep a nanny journal. This allows both you and your nanny to communicate clearly and avoid sticky notes and forgotten verbal instruction. It is also important to have regular follow-up meetings with your nanny (when the children are not around.) These should happen daily and /or weekly in the first three months of employment. At the three month point it is a good idea to do a formal review. You can download a performance evaluation from our website. The evaluation focuses on areas the nanny is excelling and areas where some improvement is required. Keep the tone of this review positive and allow your nanny ample opportunity to give feedback and discuss their concerns.