A nanny can be more than a person who helps out with your children. Words used by our clients to describe how they see their nanny include: ‘‘member of the family’, ‘invaluable support’ and godsend’. However keeping the relationship between you and your nanny both harmonious and professional requires a little work. It’s all to easy to slip into believing your nanny is really a member of the family. Just one who gets paid. But her role in your family life is both complex and demanding. Establishing a warm but professional relationship from the beginning is the best way to ensure things go well in future.
Define roles – and document changes
You might believe an experienced nanny can just step into your family like Mary Poppins. But it’s important to let your nanny know exactly what duties you expect her to undertake and outline how you want things to be done so there aren’t any misunderstandings. Equally, if something changes, adjust your nanny’s role so that everybody understands new responsibilities and adjusts accordingly.
Expect a honeymoon period to end
Your nanny will be trying to make a good impression and so will you! There will be a period in which nobody leaves towels on the floor or uses up all the milk without buying more. But that honeymoon will end, and your household will return to normal. During the ‘honeymoon’ you might find it difficult to point out where your nanny does something you don’t like or that you’d like done differently. But it’s really vital to ensure there’s clear communication from day one.
Support your nanny’s discipline measures
Far too many parents undermine their nanny without realising it. Disrupting bedtime because you’ve come home late from work. Allowing children to abandon homework in favour of having a romp in the living room. Individually such actions are fine but if they become a pattern your children will get used to coming to you whenever they want to get away with something. Instead, it’s good to talk to your nanny in advance about changes to routine. Therefore your children know it’s a deviation from the norm and that you and your nanny are in agreement about such changes.
Support the nanny/child bond
Hard as it may be, it’s your job to encourage a strong nanny/child relationship. A relationship of trust between nanny and parents is the best way to give you children the opportunity to bond with their nanny so they can feel trust and support.
As far as we know, there are no classes to help parents adjust to a nanny. Perhaps there should be! However, there is a definite advantage to investing in training your nanny and increasing her skills and experience. Even the most professional nanny will welcome the opportunity to upgrade her skills. What she learns will immediately be a benefit to your family.
Keep your personal issues out of the relationship
It’s so tempting to share your marital or wider family problems with your nanny. But it’s important to try not to do this – it puts her in an impossible position when she has to deal with the very people you’ve criticised. Equally, it’s good if your nanny can keep her personal life to herself. Because being involved in her issues can cause you necessary stress and concern.
Check out one of our older blogs for our Elite Nanny Company Guide to Nanny Share