As children grow up, they do not always see eye-to-eye with their parents. This is a normal process; as they begin to develop deeper intellectual and social skills, they naturally begin to question the primary authority figures in their lives. During this time period, many parents find themselves at a loss for what to do. If our kids don’t want to talk to us about what’s going on in their minds and lives—advice on friends or dating, help with homework, clothing choices, or any number of other worries that come with adolescence—then how can we ensure the people they’re turning to are positive role models with their best interests at heart?
Getting a nanny (or even a teen chaperone) can be a great solution to this problem! A nanny can serve as an additional role model for children, acting as a confidant or mentor for any issues kids might not feel comfortable bringing up to their parents. Because the nanny spends a great deal of time with the kids from day to day, she is able to develop strong emotional bonds with them. As kids grow and begin to accept more responsibility for their own needs, they’re more likely to view her as a friend than as a caregiver.
The difference between a good nanny and a great nanny, however, is that a great nanny works seamlessly as a bridge between the kids and the parents. This means she should know the line between protecting the child’s interests and betraying his or her trust. If a great nanny hears or sees anything that concerns her, she will waste no time in relaying that information to the parents so they can develop a plan to deal with the situation.
What qualities make a nanny a good role model?
- Positive attitude. Does your nanny show up to work each day smiling and full of energy? Is her cheerfulness contagious? If she gets stressed, does she stay upbeat? These are all signs of a person who has a positive outlook on life. Getting a nanny who is friendly, compassionate, and optimistic no matter the circumstance is a fantastic way to show your child how to find a silver lining in any cloud.
- It’s important to surround your children with people who value education. Spending time with people who truly love learning—and are able to spread that love—is a great way for kids to get excited about school and all the opportunities it provides.
- Healthy lifestyle. A nanny who leads a healthy lifestyle can serve as a fantastic role model for children who have a sweet tooth or dislike exercise. If you hire a nanny who knows the importance of self-care (both physical and emotional), you can feel certain that she will encourage your children to take care of themselves, whether it’s through exercising together, teaching them to cook healthy meals, or acting as a confidant when they’re feeling sad or stressed.
- Strong work ethic. Nannies with strong work ethics will arrive early, leave late, take initiative, and by all accounts go above and beyond the tasks listed in their contracts. They will be fully engaged with your children, all the time, and even have a variety of activities at their disposal to subtly teach them the value of hard work.
Remember, it’s completely normal for preteens and adolescents to start distancing themselves from their parents. It can be difficult to deal with—you’ll probably spend their teenage years reminiscing about their toddler years, when they were attached to your hip and wouldn’t even let you go to the bathroom alone—but ultimately it’s a necessary step on the road to independence and adulthood. The best thing you can do is encourage them to talk with you, and if they don’t want to, be sure to provide them with other positive adult role models to look up to.