Wondering if a nanny is the best choice for your family? Hiring a nanny can be a great thing for your family and can help alleviate some of the responsibilities and stress you have as a working parent. A good nanny will have your children’s best interest in mind and taking good care of them will be their primary concern. Here is some important information on what a nanny does as well as tips on how you can foster a great nanny/parent relationship.
Nannies will take care of your children while you’re away. They will play with your kids, feed them, help them with toileting, and will comfort them when they need it. The bottom line: a nanny will step in to provide similar things that you would provide if you were there. Nannies may also do housework like wash dishes, do the laundry, straighten the children’s rooms or play areas, and more. A nanny’s specific duties will vary from family to family and the job description will need to be something that you discuss in detail with your nanny before you hire her.
Common tasks that a nanny should expect to handle include:
- Children's laundry;
- Keeping children's bedrooms and play areas straightened up;
- Preparing children's meals;
- Bottle cleaning and/or bottle preparation;
- Washing dishes/wipe down kitchen after children's meals;
- Load/unload the diswasher; and
- Toy sterilization.
Less common tasks that some nannies will agree to do:
- General vacuuming, dusting, mopping; generally only when working with older children who are in school all day;
- Household linen laundry;
- Household dishes - particularly a sink full after the weekend;
- Family evening meal preparation; and
- Errands, grocery shopping.
A nanny will almost never agree to:
- Parent's personal laundry;
- Yard or pool maintenance; and
- Deep cleaning bathrooms, showers, parent's bedrooms.
Make sure all duties are discussed and agreed to in advance. Experts agree, a written work agreement that spells out duties, compensation and benefits is priceless, as all parties have a point of reference to refer to when there is conflict.
How should you foster a positive, longer term employment relationship with your nanny? Here are some tips.
Tip #1: Make sure communication is open
Always keep the lines of communication open with your nanny. This will foster healthy discussions and make sure that your nanny feels comfortable addressing issues or asking questions that may come up during her employment.
Tip #2: Don’t put unhealthy expectations on your nanny
Hiring a nanny to be with your kids each day is a big decision. When you’re looking for the right person, try to remember that no nanny will be exactly like you. You likely won’t be able to find your exact clone, so don’t expect your nanny to be exactly like you. While it’s common to look for a nanny that has similar traits and values, be sure that you remember that she is a different person that may bring different things to the table. Talk about any differences that may be a challenge right at the beginning of employment. In addition, make a point to prioritize your expectations and communicate them clearly to make sure that they align with the nanny’s job duties and her willingness to complete the tasks at hand.
Tip # 3: Keep your emotions in check
Many parents have conflicted emotions when they leave their child with a nanny. Guilt and jealousy will torpedo a relationship with your nanny. Replace guilt with the knowledge that you were selective and chose a nanny who you believe will be an excellent caregiver. Replace jealously by acknowledging that your child now has another adult who will love and care for him. More love and care for a child is always a good thing!
Finding the right nanny to take care of your children requires patience and research. But, with the right preparation, you can find the perfect fit for your family.