Your relationship with the nanny of your children is one of your most important professional relationships. After all, the nanny is who you leave your children and home to when you are at work.
For your children’s safety and your peace of mind, there needs to be clear communication about their responsibilities. But what do you do when problems arise? How do you prevent them from happening in the future?
Five Common Issues
These are some of the most common points of conflict for employers and nannies. Awareness of them can help avoid these complications from occurring.
1. Payment Disputes
Not paying your nanny on time or paying them less than the amount agreed upon can breed resentment. Carelessness about payment schedules and rates may send the message that you do not see their work value.
Resolve this by having employee schedules and logged work hours written down on paper. This will bring you to an understanding should disagreements about pay rates and deductions occur.
2. Scope of Responsibility
Taking care of the children when the parents are at work is a nanny’s main responsibility. Nannies are also often instructed to cook and clean up around the house before their employers come home.
Make sure that the responsibilities you are assigning to your nanny are ones that they signed up for. If you want to increase or decrease their work, discuss the terms with them, and adjust their compensation accordingly.
3. Disciplining Children
Look at your child’s nanny as your partner in discipline. Make sure you are on the same page regarding values you uphold and disciplinary methods for your child’s behavioral issues.
When you disagree with how the nanny has disciplined your child, do not confront them in front of the kids. This will create unnecessary confusion for your child and may even cause them to take sides. Instead, set your nanny aside and discuss better ways of addressing particular behaviors.
4. Lack of Communication
The need for some flexibility is a given in being a nanny. However, frequent schedule changes and sudden overtime would be stressful for any worker, including nannies.
Inform the nanny ahead of time if you will be coming home late. Daily briefings and having a logbook will make sure schedules are clear. It is also of utmost importance to compensate them for the extra hours they will spend caring for your children and your home.
5. Poor Performance
There may be instances where your nanny will not satisfy your expectations regarding the quality of their work. These kinds of situations are best addressed upfront.
Speak with them and make sure to focus on ways they can improve rather than making a comment on their character. For example, instead of saying, “You are not meticulous with your cleaning,” you can offer a solution. Say something similar to “Please arrange the kids’ clothes by this category.”
Tips for Communicating with the Nanny
There is a way to prevent these issues from cropping up. Clear communication prevents a variety of problems.
Have written agreements and guides.
The simplest way to make sure your conditions are clear is to have a written contract detailing their employment period, weekly schedule, compensation, benefits, and other necessary details. Be specific, but also be reasonable when drafting the contract.
You may use a family calendar to keep your nanny up to date on events and a logbook to track their work hours. Also, make sure that they have all of the information they need in case of emergencies.
Be clear about housework rules.
You may have rules and preferences about how to handle house chores like cooking and laundry. These have to be clearly communicated to prevent any unintentional mishaps on the part of the nanny.
A common cause for conflict in this area is in laundry work. Clothes like your knit sweaters and your baby’s cashmere leggings require gentler washing than others, so inform the nanny of these ahead. Notify them of special care needed on any items of clothing.
It will also help have a list of dietary restrictions, playtime and naptime rules, cleaning guidelines, and other preferences for their convenience.
Regularly assess their performance.
Mutual honesty is important to maintain a good relationship between nanny and employer. Have regular meetings to discuss your nanny’s performance—their commendable work and points for improvement. Allow them to voice their concerns and questions and be receptive to what they say.
These discussions will allow you to work together to take care of the children and keep the house in order. Remember: open communication keeps a relationship strong. Parent-nanny relationships are no exception.