Why Nannies Shouldn’t Settle: Empowering Nannies to Speak Up and Take Action.
It’s not easy to stand up for yourself. It’s difficult to hold your boundaries and to speak up when a line is crossed. Yet, if you refuse to advocate for yourself in this line of work, you may quickly find yourself overworked, burnt out, and taken advantage of.
You may find yourself doing tasks you never agreed to without additional compensation. You may realize one day that somehow you’ve become both a professional nanny and housekeeper. Maybe the end of the day keeps getting pushed later and later until you suddenly realize you’re working extra time each day that you’re not getting compensated for.
It may be the family you work for doesn’t hear you. You feel they don’t respect what you say or listen to your concerns. They don’t value your perspective and feelings, and you feel disregarded. Or perhaps they don’t trust your expertise and are always second-guessing your decisions and methods.
Whatever the situation is, it’s time for you to take the reins and learn how to take action and speak up. At Hello, Nanny! we firmly believe in empowering nannies so they can perform their job at their best. Here are seven ways you can choose to be empowered by advocating for yourself.
1. Establish clear boundaries.
During an interview, it’s tempting to nod and smile and agree with what’s being said. Unfortunately, doing so will result in misunderstandings and unclear work expectations later on. Be sure to set the precedent from the get-go by clearly communicating your expectations and limitations regarding working hours, responsibilities, and additional tasks.
If a family mentions they’d really like a nanny that does X and you don’t do X, don’t just bypass it, assuming it will be addressed later. Be clear and upfront by stating you don’t perform that particular duty. Both parties will either come to a compromise or you may realize you aren’t the right fit. Both results are better than proceeding into an ill-fitting work environment.
If you’d like some backup during interviews and support in creating boundaries, consider working with a nanny placement agency. We work with you to establish clear boundaries so you can be confident in the choices you’re making.
2. Negotiate fair compensation.
Research the average pay rates for nannies in your area and negotiate a fair wage with the family you work for. Remember to consider factors such as experience, qualifications, and responsibilities when discussing compensation.
For example, a nanny who does additional household tasks may charge more than a nanny who only cares for children. Often, a night nanny comes with higher compensation. Professional nannies with extensive training and certifications might charge more.
An agency like Hello, Nanny! ensures you’re matched with a family willing to pay a fair wage.
3. Set a contract.
As a professional, experienced nanny, setting a contract is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself. While a contract benefits your employer as well, it protects you from job creep, being underpaid, and missing out on industry-standard benefits.
Creating a formal contract before beginning any work is crucial. Your contract should clearly outline the terms and conditions of your employment. It should include details such as your:
- Working hours
- Benefits and perks
As a professional nanny, you are an employee and should be receiving a W2 from your employer. Do not accept any position from a family that is trying to issue you a Form-1099. In addition, no professional nanny should be working in a position without industry standard benefits. While many families know this, some are unaware and may not be willing to include them in the contract.
It is your responsibility to understand and be up to date on all industry standard benefits and to advocate for yourself regarding them. Benefits such as sick days, personal time off, overtime, guaranteed hours, paid holidays, and several others should be considered and included in your formal contract.
If speaking up for yourself regarding standard benefits makes you uncomfortable, consider working with a placement agency. We stand behind you, advocating for you and ensuring you receive every benefit you deserve as a hard-working caretaker.
4. Continue professional development.
As an experienced nanny, you’ve worked hard to get to where you’re at. You’ve studied, put in the hours, taken the tests, and gotten the certifications to be who you are today. However, no matter how experienced you are, the work doesn’t stop.
Continue your professional development by staying up-to-date with industry standards and best practices. You can do this by attending workshops, conferences, and online courses. Not only does this enhance your skills and confidence, but it encourages families to trust in your skills and have confidence in you, as well. This makes it less likely for families to take advantage of your expertise.
5. Join Professional Networks.
Connect with other experienced nannies through professional organizations such as the International Nanny Association, U.S. Nanny Association, nanny groups, and nanny agencies. You can also connect through online platforms like parenting groups, job sites, social media, and meetup sites. Nanny training courses and certification programs are other great ways to meet other professional nannies and form connections.
Connecting with other nannies provides you with a support system, resources, and advice from others who have experienced similar situations. While online support can be invaluable, try to make connections with other professional nannies in your area. Creating face-to-face relationships can help to strengthen your skills as a nanny.
6. Keep communication open.
Communication is one of the most important aspects of a successful working relationship, especially between a nanny and a family. Maintain open and honest communication with the family you work for. Address any concerns or issues promptly and professionally. Regular check-ins and feedback sessions help build a positive working relationship based on mutual respect.
This goes both ways, as you must be willing to hear issues or concerns from the family, as well, and adapt accordingly.
As it pertains to tracking hours worked, communication is especially crucial. At Hello, Nanny! we encourage all nannies to consider utilizing a payroll service like Home Work Solutions as a way of avoiding any discrepancies in pay, or hours worked.
6. Learn how to say “No”.
Saying “No” is something every experienced nanny should learn. Learning how to say “No” confidently is a skill that comes with practice. Yet, we encourage you to be able to say it without feeling guilty or like you have to offer an explanation. “No” is a full sentence and you are not entitled to give anything else.
“No, I cannot work later today.”
“No, I am not available on Saturday.”
“No, I am not open to performing that added duty.”
Learning this skill is paramount to how a family perceives you and how you perceive yourself. The more you practice saying “No”, the easier it will become and the more confidence you’ll have in yourself.
Hello, Nanny! helps advocate for and empower nannies.
Remember, empowerment comes from knowing your worth, setting boundaries, and advocating for yourself. You must be your own advocate. Unless you choose to work with an agency.
Working with a professional nanny placement agency means you have someone in your corner to support and empower you. An agency’s job is to protect you and find the best position for you. They ensure you’re treated fairly, offered a competitive wage, and provided industry-standard benefits. A placement agency helps you weed out worthwhile families so you avoid working in a disagreeable and unsatisfactory environment.
Hello, Nanny! is passionate about advocating and supporting both families and nannies. It is our role to educate and inform families and to ensure harmonious and equitable partnerships. We only work with families who are educated and required to uphold industry standards so nannies don’t have to worry. Whether you choose to do it alone or work with us, we hope you stand up for yourself, know your worth, and above all, don’t settle.