7 practical tips to have great rapport with your nanny
Often, the relationship between a nanny and family isn’t thought about too seriously. Many times, it’s treated as any other professional business relationship. A nanny/parent relationship is actually very important for the success of a long-term placement.
Think about other meaningful relationships in your life — how hard do you work to keep those in good standing? Chances are, you put serious effort into your relationship with your husband, wife, or partner every single day. You understand that to live in harmony and happiness, there’s daily hard work to be done.
Without intentional effort, your relationship will slowly crumble apart. The same is true for your relationship with your nanny. After the initial tip-toeing newness wears off, there is a tendency for aggravations, disagreements, and pushed boundaries to come up.
So how do you avoid that scenario? How do you have a healthy relationship with your nanny? How do you and your nanny work together in such a way that everyone feels respected and satisfied on a daily basis?
Maintaining a healthy relationship with your nanny takes intention.
Having worked with hundreds of families and nannies throughout the years, we have some insider tips here at Hello, Nanny! we’d like to share below.
Have frequent communication
Communicating with your nanny is one of the most important things you can do to keep your relationship healthy. Whether you have weekly sit-downs or schedule a chat when something is up, being able to comfortably converse about anything is vital.
You need to be able to talk to your nanny anytime there is an issue without it being an awkward exchange. The same is true for a nanny. They need to feel like they can come to you when a situation arises.
Communication goes further than simply discussing hard topics, though. You and your nanny should feel comfortable chatting — building a relationship in the same way friends would.
Provide clear expectations
Be sure to make your expectations clear from day one. If there are specific jobs you’d like your nanny to handle, make sure that’s something discussed upfront. Don’t assume your nanny is going to always fold the laundry or make your meals. If that’s what you’d like, it needs to be talked about in the initial job requirements.
When working with a placement agency like Hello, Nanny!, we ensure all expectations from both sides are discussed before a job begins. We like to avoid any surprises, confusion, or opportunity for tension, so we help families and nannies customize a working agreement that fits both of their preferences.
This makes expectations clear from the beginning, and it ensures each party understands what will be happening from the start.
Respect their job
Why did you hire a nanny? Presumably, you have children and you need someone to take care of them while you can’t. Someone you trust, someone you are confident in.
So you found your nanny. Now that you’ve hired them, a big part of a nanny/parent relationship is respecting the work they do. You hired them because you do trust them with your children’s lives. So allow them to nanny your children in the way they see best.
Of course, this doesn’t mean your nanny shouldn’t respect your parenting preferences or any opinions/suggestions you may have, but it does mean you shouldn’t be hovering over their shoulder constantly.
You’ve hired a trained professional to do a job, and the best thing you can do is sit back and allow them to do it. This gives your nanny confidence and trust in you.
Be a unified front
You must be a unified front with your nanny, the same way you and your partner present a unified front to your kids. Your nanny is an authority that spends a significant amount of time with your children.
Your kids must see that you are in agreement with your nanny. Imagine your nanny is dealing with a situation where one of your children is acting up. Instead of trusting your nanny to handle it, you decide to step in and do it your way.
What you’ve just shown to your children and nanny is your nanny’s authority doesn’t matter. This causes your nanny to feel disrespected.
If you disagree with how your nanny has handled something, that’s ok. If you can, allow them to finish handling it first, and then discuss it with them later in private. Give your nanny the respect of not undermining their authority with your children.
And when you do disagree with the way something was handled, approach it in a respectful manner with your nanny.
Your nanny works so hard for your family. They work long days keeping your children safe, happy, and entertained and your home in order when you can’t.
Be sure to let them know you see it and appreciate it. Showing appreciation doesn’t have to be extravagant. It can be a simple thank you. Simply recognizing, “I see how hard you’re working to do XYZ, and I appreciate it.” goes a very long way.
Small gifts or other tokens of appreciation are nice too. You can buy them a cup of coffee, treat them to lunch out, or give them a gift card for something they’d enjoy. Show your nanny they’re a valuable part of your home. Sincerity will go a long way.
Avoid job creep
What’s job creep, you may ask? Job creep is when you end up completing tasks that are outside your role or the agreed scope of the job. This is something that happens very commonly in the nanny industry.
In general, nannies want to be helpful and do a lot around your home. Unfortunately, there are often blurred boundaries when it comes to your nanny’s responsibilities. Maybe it wasn’t discussed initially, but one day you decide to ask your nanny to start having the dishwasher unloaded every day before you come home.
Or maybe they stayed an extra 15 minutes one evening so you could finish up your work, and now you’ve started taking advantage of that and expect it every night. Maybe your nanny had an extra few minutes to deep-clean your bathroom one day. Now you’ve lumped that in with their duties.
Avoid job creep at all costs. If it wasn’t discussed as part of the job, don’t expect your nanny to do it. If a nanny does go above and beyond by deep-cleaning your bathroom, be sure to thank them profusely without any expectation of them doing it again.
Make an effort
Above all, make an effort with your nanny. Make an effort to get to know them, to understand how they tick, and to build a relationship with them. Make an effort to talk to them — ask them about their day, how their cat is, and how you can help.
Show them you care about them by keeping their favorite snacks around, gifting them a pair of slippers for around your home, or buying them a book for their downtime.
A great nanny/parent relationship hinges on both parties making an effort. Both sides must be willing to talk openly with one another, show respect to each other, and have boundaries. Effort has to be made to keep the relationship strong, the same as any other relationship in your life.
Need help finding the perfect nanny?
We understand how hard it can be to find that perfect fit for your family. Having the wrong nanny for your family makes having a great relationship difficult. Hello, Nanny! helps nannies and families find the right fit so they can work together for years to come.
If you would like assistance finding the right nanny for your home or could use some help defining boundaries and job roles, you’ve come to the right place. Hello, Nanny! would love to help you out. You can fill out this form, or contact us here.