5 Difficult Conversations to Have With Your Nanny
When it's time for tough love, here is advice on handling these talks between employer and nanny.
Your nanny can be your right-hand, your child's best friend and sometimes your confidante. The relationship you have with your caregiver can be as intense as the one you have with your spouse. That's why it's so important to keep the lines of communication open.
"It's just like any long term relationship where two people are dependent on each other," says Dr. Robi Ludwig, a nationally-known psychotherapist. Here is expert advice on the best way to have a five difficult conversations with your nanny.
You Didn't Like Something She Did on the Job
It wasn't a rule that she broke, but today's lunch was at McDonald's. Or, she gave your child a time out for something you feel wasn't worthwhile. Maybe she even did something accidental that resulted in a bigger, potentially dangerous, concern.
It's your responsibility to communicate the house rules and what is acceptable on the job.
"Parents need to treat this as an employee/employer relationship," says Carolyn Stolov, family life expert at Care.com.
If you don't have a work agreement and job description in place, this is the time to create one. Also, set up a weekly chat with her and bring up important topics during this time. Prioritize the most difficult conversations, and make sure to bring up positive things you've noticed your caregiver doing, so the talk doesn't get too negative.
Base when to address the situation on how serious it is. "If your child has been given the wrong medicine, bring it up right away," says Stolov. "Try to have the conversation without the child close by so it can be handled privately. Explain the situation, and work with your nanny to make sure it doesn't happen again." One way to have a system in place is to create a log book, so you have a point of reference for the future.
For issues less serious, like if the child was given an unwarranted time out, use this as a stepping-stone to implement a discipline strategy. Behavioral challenges are always tough but they can be more easily managed as a united front. Get tips on How a Nanny Should Discipline Your Kids »
She Takes the Kids on Outings or Personal Errands Without Informing You
Set up longer more formal communications meetings with your nanny, also away from the children, at least once a month. Parents should bring agenda items to the meetings, and use the time to talk about these concerns. Face-to-face time is important because it can help bridge the communication's gap, says Dr. Ludwig. "Whenever you're a boss, it can be intimidating for an employee." She suggests using "I" messages such as "I noticed you went to run a personal errand with Sam. I'd prefer that you do that on your personal time." Also, make sure you approach the meetings as an opportunity to praise your nanny for things she is doing well.
You Need to Cut Back Her Hours
"If you want to keep the nanny, the best way is to try and help her find other work to make up for the lost compensation," says Stolov. Make sure she understands that the change is not because of her performance. Try to share care with another family. Sometimes parents of school-age children want to keep the nanny supporting the family, so they come up with other responsibilities such as housekeeping, laundry or grocery shopping.
She Asks For a Raise -- And You Can't Afford It Or Feel It's Unwarranted
Salary compensation should be part of the job description, and annual salary increases should be based on both cost of living and performance, says Stolov. Before you even hire a nanny you should create a performance review template that rates her in categories such child care, work habits and housekeeping responsibilities. "If you're having regular monthly meetings, then your nanny should know how she's meeting/failing to meet expectations. If at the one year mark, she's not getting a raise, and it's a surprise, then the parent is not doing their job right." For example, if the highest salary increase they can receive is 3% on performance, you need to explain to your nanny how she can achieve this goal.
Dr. Ludwig adds that if the nanny is not working out you need to be honest with yourself. "Know yourself, know what you want and what works for your family." Be realistic about what you're asking of your nanny and also what you can afford. Your nanny has to live off the salary you dictate and it isn't fair if you can't pay her what she deserves.
She Is Breaking the House Rules
Parents need to take a step back and create a work agreement or nanny contract (detailing hours and compensation), a job description and house rules, says Stolov. If you don't already have one, the job description should have very specific notes on what you expect the nanny to do and at what time. The house rules should detail whether it's okay for the nanny to have guests over, watch TV or text on the job. It should be read by both parties -- and signed.
Stolov suggests you frame the conversation around your concerns for the children, such as "I want you to focus on the children when you're watching them, and not be distracted by texting." If you can't have a personal meeting, at least keep a communications log, where you keep track of emails and other important material, says Stolov. Remember, communication is the most important part of any relationship.
Hire Pediatric Nurses, Pre-School or Special Needs Teachers at $11.30/h incl. health care.
Come see for yourself why KinderCare is the place where thinking thrives and friendships flourish.
Get a Cash Offer Good for 30 Days! Free Shipping + Fast Payment. Lock in a Risk-Free Offer Today!
The world’s most experienced and largest intercultural live-in child care program.
Since 1988, EurAupair has been devoted to assisting families with their child care needs.
Insure your non-refundable camp fees with cancellation insurance from A+ Program Protection.
Affordable full time live-in child care for all your kids @ $340/wk. Search for your Au Pair today!
Care.com HomePaySM handles your household payroll and taxes without work, worry or risk.