Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Be Nice to your Nanny

Being a nanny is a full time job. An important one at that. And it's something I've been doing off and on for ten years. I've been fortunate enough to work for some amazing families, make some bonds with them and form everlasting ties. I've also had the opposite experience, where it felt as though I was as completely expendable.

It seems to me that the relationship between nanny and family is different in every situation. I do feel that it's important to treat your nanny like a regular employee—and this includes financial or emotional rewards. This sometimes falls into a "gray area" especially when the person you've hired to care for your children is a close friend or family member. Yet, no matter what the outside relationship, professionalism is incredibly important, on both ends. 

A nanny who does her job well should be rewarded for her hard work, as any good employee should be. Being paid additionally for late hours or extra days. Also, a bonus during the holiday season is fairly standard. This helps nannies to feel appreciated and as though all of their hard work has been acknowledged. It is important to verbally thank your nanny for the job they are doing, and letting them know that they are a valued member of your household. It really does make a difference!

Above all else, realize that your nanny should be treated with respect. It is important to remember that your nanny is simply someone who is trying to do their best at the job they have chosen.
Your nanny didn't choose to become a nanny because of its esteem or prestige. She's likely caring for your children because she genuinely loves children and is very happy to care for them.
Maybe your nanny isn't Maria von Trapp or Mary Poppins. Still, she is the person who is with your child(ren) and family through much of your/their daily lives. She finger paints with gusto, kisses scraped knees, wipes noses, dries tears and reads bedtime stories. She can treat a diaper rash, push a swing, help with homework, and she knows how to cut the crusts off of a PB&J sandwich just the way your little one likes it.  
Whether or not we (nannies) are parents, we can appreciate and empathize with how difficult it must be to leave your little ones to go to work and leave them with someone who isn't their Mommy, which is why we do the very best we can to love and nurture your children in your absence. 

The way to keep your nanny happy?

*Lay everything out on the table in the beginning (wages, expectations, specific duties, etc.)
*If you have a problem or situation with your nanny, simply sit down and address it directly. 
*Don't take advantage of an overly accommodating nanny.
*Respect your nanny's schedule and keep to the hours agreed upon, unless discussed in advance.
*Ask how her weekend was. Or her boyfriend. Or dog. Take an interest, the way that she does.          You don't have to be best buds, but it's nice to know that your employer cares about your life outside of work.
*Keep the lines of communication open.
*Tell your nanny that she IS appreciated and that her hard work doesn't go unnoticed.

All in All, it is important to realize that the better you treat your nanny and work with them to fit into your home, the longer they will want to work for you and take care of your children.

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