Communication Between Parents and Nanny Is Essential
According to The New York Times, a clear communication of expectations is important in the workplace . . . no matter where that workplace is.
Many working parents with nannies are supervisors at their jobs. As supervisors, they know that they need to specify expectations for their employees . . . and when those expectations are not met, they know that they need to provide clear and consistent redirection (and progressive discipline, where appropriate).
However, for many parents, those workplace skills are difficult to apply when the workplace is their home. The parents may not feel that they have the time to communicate “every last little detail” to the nanny. They may feel guilt, intimidation, or jealousy for having the nanny care for their children: these emotions may provide a barrier to open communication between the parents and the nanny. They may fear that the nanny may be upset by having her behavior redirected, and she may take it out on the children or she may resign. Or, they may feel awkward about redirecting the behavior of someone that they feel is more a member of the family than an employee.
Nannies4hire.com advocates these tips in ensuring good communication between parents and nanny:
- Parents: During the nanny interviews, provide all candidates with a written job description so that it is clear from the outset what job duties are to be performed by the nanny.
- Parents: At the time of hire, provide the new nanny with an employment contract and a copy of the job description that she first viewed during her interview. Require that the new nanny signs both the employment contract and the job description as a condition of employment.
- Parents: Communicate expectations explicitly. Don’t expect facial expressions, body language, or other subtleties to create clear communication
- Parents: Provide details. For example, if you want the dishwasher loaded in a certain way, specify what that way is.
- Parents: If performing the job task is mandatory, don’t “soften” the directive by making it sound optional. For example, if you want your nanny to be responsible for the children’s laundry, don’t tell them to do it “if you have time”.
- Parents: Your nanny is your employee. You may love her as if she were a member of your family, but she is an employee and is deserving of the same courtesies that you show your employees in your workplace. Those courtesies include an adequate flow of information.
- Parents and Nanny: Communicate in writing where possible. For example, many families and nannies use a daily log book in which both parties record information (parental instructions and nanny observations) to keep each other apprised.
- Parents and Nanny: Meet once weekly at a designated day and time to review the past week’s activities and discuss the coming week’s activities. Children should not be present for these meetings. While any warranted redirection should be provided to the nanny as soon as the parents observe the behavior that elicits the redirection, weekly meetings are wonderful ways for both parties to follow up, ask questions, or share concerns.
- Nanny: If you are unclear about what is expected of you, ask. You may think that you will appear unintelligent or that you may annoy the parents, but your questions will likely be appreciated because they will prevent problems in the future.
By following these simple tips, parents and nannies can ensure that they are communicating well for the benefit of the children in their care.