Establishing strong communication protocols with your nanny is the first step to a positive and long-lasting nanny-family relationship. Because nannies care for a family’s greatest treasures—the children—and work in the home, some parents do not feel as comfortable communicating directly with them as they would an employee in a corporate environment.
If you’re struggling to open the lines of communication with your nanny, don’t worry. Our experts have compiled a list of five easy steps to start your relationship with your nanny on the right foot!
- Start with a fair and clearly outlined contract. This contract should outline your expectations for your nanny, including her job description, salary, hours, travel expectations, and any other duties or responsibilities you would like to assign to him or her.
- Plan your preferred communication methods (daily chat face-to-face, via text, in a nanny log, etc.), and set these in writing. For example, if you plan to leave your nanny a written to-do list each morning, be sure she knows exactly where it will be every day. If you expect her to write in a nanny log, outline that beforehand and explain exactly the types of notes you want her to include.
- Schedule routine check-ins and reviews. Make honest, respectful communication a priority from the very start of the relationship. You might schedule a casual, weekly meeting with your nanny just to touch base. It’s important to keep it casual and regular, so you both know to expect it and feel comfortable using that time to raise any concerns or issues.
- Ask questions if you have them, and discuss concerns when they arise. If there is something your nanny is doing wrong or not to your liking, such as organizing toys or scheduling playdates, be sure to speak directly with her about it. Parents might feel awkward about asking their nanny to take on more responsibilities or alter her behavior for a number of reasons; perhaps she has become a member of the family, or they do not want to overload her and affect her performance with their children. However, not speaking up about your concerns is the easiest way to sour a good nanny-family relationship.
- Follow the Golden Rule. Be sure to see the other party as a person, not simply an employee or employer. Treat your nanny the way you would want to be treated: with respect and empathy. Nannies care for children, which is a job that takes a great deal of love, compassion, and emotional energy. Thus, the relationship that forms between a nanny and her employers is a unique one. It’s important to maintain professional boundaries—your nanny need not be your life confidant—but remember that it’s perfectly normal for your relationship to be more emotionally intimate than it would with a subordinate at work.
If there’s one thing to keep in mind when speaking with your nanny, it’s this: the nanny must be provided with the information they need to do their job well. Any pertinent information involving the child should be shared. Do not expect the nanny to read your mind. If you don’t tell your nanny when something is upsetting you, there is nothing either of you can do to remedy the situation. Like any good long-term relationship, the nanny-family relationship begins with clear communication and grows from there. Ideally, your nanny will be an important person in not just your child’s life, but yours as well—for years to come!