Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Yes Nanny...

In the fun world of parenting, at one time or another, parents will leave their children with a babysitter or nanny.  This can create a mutually beneficial relationship that can enrich both parties lives.  However, there are some things that need to be considered before embarking on such an adventure!

For the parents:

  • What goes on in the family, stays in the family- children need to be taught that they are not to share private information with their babysitter (i.e. My mom yelled at my dad today).
  • Rules need to remain the same- whether you as the parent are there, or the nanny/babysitter is present, rules should not change.  
  • Communicate- always ask your child what happened during their day and be sure to find out (tactfully) if the nanny/babysitter is treating your children appropriately.
  • Make sure you set boundaries and remember that the nanny/babysitter is an employee.  It's difficult when you have someone tending to the needs of your child, not to involve them in your life- you don't need to be cold, but boundaries (not going into the master bedroom, not taking or borrowing personal property)  need to be established from the beginning.
For the nanny/babysitter:
  • Do unto others- It can be difficult to put yourself in the parent's (your boss's) place, but try.  If you wouldn't want someone yelling at your child, don't treat their children that way (that's never acceptable to begin with).
  • Be honest- at one time or another, we've all used the best language possible on our resumes to make ourselves sound appealing, but it's quite another thing to be dishonest.  Make sure you're telling the truth to your employer and if there has been a falsehood already told, you need to come clean.
  • Respect rules and boundaries- it can be difficult when working in a home environment to remember that you're still at work.  Talking on the phone, running personal errands, and checking social networking sites while being paid may not be a good use of work time.  If you are bored, or lack work, you can ask your employer what they would like you to do during down time.  
These tips help to ensure that both parties will have a fruitful and long-lasting relationship and helps everyone feel more comfortable, which is what etiquette is all about!


VintageMuse said...

Thank you for this post. I was a nanny for 4 years. Two of those years with the same family. It can be difficult to find a great family-nanny match, but when you do a wonderful relationship can be built. So often, one or both parties have unrealistic expectations. From parents, be fair to your babysitter, establish rules clearly( reminding every now again if necessary), provide doorways for open communication, and be consistent with the children. Care givers, remember the parent wants to be with their child. It does not matter if you would raise your children differently, abide by the parents wishes as much as possible. If you are asked to watch terrors with no discipline-find a different family. Thanks!

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Linda said...

Thanks for the informative post. I have been an Au pair for 2 years and then nanny for three years and have lots of experience in parents/nanny/children relationship. I agree that every single rule needs to be discussed ahead of time, before hiring a nanny. I was very lucky to live and work with wonderful families and they have become my families as well. I am still in touch with them.

bee said...

It's plain that this post is written from the perspective of a parent, not a nanny as it is much more mindful of the nanny's responsibilities and glosses over the multiple ways in which parents may engage in discourteous and exploitative treatment of nannies. For example, you might add:

For parents:

Make sure you don't expect your nanny to be a cook/housecleaner/gardener/personal assistant in addition to caring for your children UNLESS this has been expressly and mutually agreed upon and that they are compensated appropriately for engaging in these additional responsibilities.

Furthermore, many nannies are underpaid, and are vulnerable to exploitation because they might be new immigrants and/or young women. Ensure you are paying your nanny a fair wage for the important work they are doing.

Respect the importance of their role and treat them with the respect and consideration they deserve.

Janine said...

Bee- Thank you for your opinion/comment- and while I agree with you that this was written from a parent's perspective, I have nannied for families as well. I feel that what you have written fits more into a "Job description/application" category more than a moral issue- and as far as wages, CEO's are working at hourly and sometimes not much better than minimum wage paying jobs to pay the bills in this economy so "under paid" is all relative.