And How to Successfully Nanny When Parents Are Home.
Whether it’s a result of COVID-19 or due to preference, there’s no doubt more and more people are working from home these days. And while this is convenient in so many ways — no commute, pajama pants, your favorite coffee mug, lunch in your own home — it is also an inconvenience for work-from-home parents.
Navigating working from home with a baby or older kids is a challenge if you don’t have a good plan in place. Quality child care is paramount to your success as a work-from-home parent.
If you’ve chosen to work from home with a nanny, then you’ve come to the right place. Working from home with a nanny can present a host of issues you and your nanny may have not thought of before. As a nanny, it can be a struggle to take care of children when your employer is a work-from-home parent.
Keeping your children at home with a caretaker is certainly a different ballgame than sending them off to daycare, but we have some tips to help parents and nannies stay unified and on the same team.
1. Create a routine.
Routines are safe and reliable, and children thrive on them. Nannying when parents are home is a challenging task, but creating a consistent routine is really helpful. Often, parents already have routines with their children. They have specific times they get up each morning and eat breakfast, take their naps, and eat lunch. They may play outside in the morning and read books in the afternoon.
Parents and nannies should work together to create a routine that works best for everyone. To make working from home with a nanny successful, a previous routine may need some tweaking. As the parent, if you always take calls at a certain time in the day and need peace and quiet, consider having your nanny take the kids outside, to the library, or to a playdate at that time each day.
Including certain times in the routine to see your children each day is a good idea, too. This way, everyone knows what to expect.
2. Set boundaries and establish guidelines.
As a work-from-home parent, it’s easy for the lines to get blurred on responsibilities and boundaries. However, setting boundaries is extremely important for both parents and nannies.
Nannying when parents are home is a difficult task when parents don’t respect the guidelines in place. There must be clear guidelines defining what’s expected of the parents and the nanny. As a work-from-home parent,
Do you need quiet to do your job?
Do you have set hours each day?
Do you need the kids to stay out of your office?
Do you want the kids running to you every time they get hurt or to show you their newest creation?
Your preferences must be clearly outlined.
As a nanny, there must be boundaries, as well. In order to do their job effectively, your nanny has to know you’re not going to pop in unexpectedly every few minutes. While some children are excited to see their parents, others may have a meltdown every time they see you. This interrupts the flow of the day and makes your nanny’s job much harder.
Your nanny must know what to expect from you.
Do they need to keep the kids in a certain part of the house?
Will they receive a text from you before you come to see the kids?
Should they text you if a child is inconsolable?
Are you going to join them for lunch each day?
Guidelines that work for the parents and nanny must be discussed beforehand. It’s also a good idea to include them in a work agreement.
If in the hiring phase for a nanny, you should discuss what’s expected during the interview. Some nannies may not be comfortable in a situation with work-from-home parents.
3. Designate a working area.
Nannying when parents are home goes a lot smoother when parents work in a designated, private area.
Imagine working at the kitchen table while your nanny tends to your children. You’re trying to focus and your kids are being noisy. Your nanny feels the stress of trying to keep them quiet, and feels pressure to come up with all sorts of activities to keep them occupied and out of your way.
It’s even worse if you’re working from home with a baby. Every time they see you, they cry and reach for you. Your nanny has to console them over and over again, and try to keep them distracted and away from you.
Can you see how difficult this scenario is for your nanny?
Having a private space for your work is imperative for everyone involved. If you don’t have an office space in your home, maybe you can work in a bedroom or the basement. Wherever your “office” is, make sure it’s a place where the door can be shut and your children don’t have free access to it.
4. Trust and respect your nanny to do their job.
As a work-from-home parent, you end up hearing everything happening in your home. You hear if your child isn’t listening, if they fall and get hurt, or if your kids are fighting and won’t calm down. It’s tempting to want to intervene.
Yet, you’ve hired a nanny for a reason. And as a professional, your nanny knows how to do their job. They can handle any of the above scenarios. When you choose to intervene, you’re undermining the authority you’ve given to your nanny. You aren’t allowing them to perform the duties you’ve hired them for.
Not only is this disrespectful and frustrating for your nanny, but it’s also doing a disservice to your children. Every time you step in, your kids see that your nanny isn’t an authority. It also makes it harder for your nanny to bond with your children.
Even though you hear your baby fall and bump their head, resist the urge to run and comfort them. If you don’t allow your nanny to console them, they won’t ever form the bond with your nanny that is imperative to a successful working relationship.
Respect your nanny’s role and trust them to do the job they’ve been hired to do. You’ll avoid putting extra stress and frustration on your nanny, and they will appreciate you holding to this boundary.
5. Communicate consistently.
Parents and nannies need to be in consistent communication about how things are going. Nannies need the opportunity to discuss what may not be working, and parents need the chance to calm any fears or anxiety.
Nannies and parents can make a plan to meet weekly or monthly to discuss the arrangement. During this chat, your nanny may need to address the number of times you’re popping in unannounced. You might need to mention how noisy the kids are during your work day.
Your nanny needs to feel like they can come to you about anything. They need to know that if there’s an issue, you’re open to hearing about it.
Nannying when parents are home can be a tough job. And trying to work from home with kids can be a feat. But when parents and nannies work together to create a smooth, consistent routine with open communication, it’s not all bad.
And Hello, Nanny! can help, too. If you’re a work-from-home parent, and you’d like assistance finding the perfect nanny for your family, we’ve got you! Whether you’re starting the hiring process from scratch, or want input for creating a detailed work agreement, reach out to us. We’d love to hear from you!