This post was written by Julia Knapp, one of the founders of chARTer Nannies and the Head of Wardrobe on the Yo Gabba Gabba show. Julia travels with Yo Gabba Gabba and Thomas the Train on the road. During the off season, she works as the regular travel nanny for the band Mates of State and studies Reiki.
As one of the co-founders of chARTer nannies and a long time nanny myself, I’ve had the opportunity to work with all different types of families. I’ve found the one common and consistent need with each has been a solid, open line of communication between the parents and myself. Whenever any issues arise with our nannies the problem more often than not roots back to communication. It may be hard to find the time to sit and talk but in my experience it is always well worth the effort. Communication is KEY! Here are 5 points that will help keep you, the nanny and the kids happy!
1. Establish preferred method of communication. First and for most, start off your relationship by establishing your preferred method of communication. If an issue arises how would you like the nanny to approach you? Via text, email or in person? Possibly set a time once a week for a check-in with each other. How’s it going? What could you each do better? How are the children doing? ChARTer nannies has a form we offer to our clients and nannies that encourages them to sit together and talk over all the points that could be potentially awkward to bring up initially. An example from this form is as follows: “ If there is an issue, would you like the nanny to bring it up right away or would you like to communicate this in writing or at a specific time?” This can be crucial in maintaining a positive and open relationship as sometimes the hardest part of communicating is the initial approach in bringing up an issue.
2. Be approachable. It is easy for both of you to communicate positive experiences with the child/children but sometimes it is necessary to bring up topics that aren’t so easy, like pay, schedule, time off, or things that you’d like to see change. Be open to each one another’s needs. Even when you know you’ve found the perfect nanny for your family it is natural for a parent to have feelings of guilt or even feel “left out” when someone else is caring for your child/children and having important life experiences with them. If feelings of defensiveness creep in, try to find the source of those feelings and know that the nanny is there to support and help you and your family.
3. Listen. Put yourself in each others shoes. Listening to the other person’s point of view is just as important as getting your own needs expressed.
4. No amount of information is ever too much. I appreciate when a parent goes out of their way to give me detailed instructions. It leaves a smaller window for questioning how I should approach each situation with the child, knowing I’m doing exactly what the parent would do.
5. Expectations. Be upfront about your expectations of the nanny. If there are tasks you’d like the nanny to take charge over, like cleaning, stocking the diaper bag, laundry, etc… be specific in talking these over. I’ve encountered experiences where a parent has been frustrated because a nanny wasn’t instinctively taking on a job that the parent felt fell under the title of nanny. The nanny didn’t know the parent felt this way until it was brought to her attention and the nanny was more than happy to help out with the job.
So just remember that communication is truly the key to keeping life moving along smoothly between your family and the nanny. And be confident knowing that although the nanny will never replace you as the parent, you’ve chose the best person to care for your children!
How did you find care for your baby? Did you go with a nanny or a daycare provider?