Nannies and Play Dates
Not all families agree on the merits of having their nannies schedule play dates with their children. The controversy falls along the lines of socializing the children versus nannies with attention divided between their own charges and the children and nannies of other families.
Most families will agree that to socialize children properly, children must be able to play with and relate to other children. Play dates are a wonderful way of accomplishing that goal.
It is true that a nanny’s attention can be diverted from her own charges as she watches the children of other families or interacts with other nannies involved in the play date. However, many things throughout a nanny’s day can distract her. The goal is not to eliminate distractions but instead to ensure that your nanny is handling distractions according to your expectations. Do you wish for the nannies of the other children to be present for all play dates or do you prefer that the nannies of the families involved take turns watching the children? If other nannies are absent during a play date, ensure that your nanny is capable of and comfortable with handling the larger group of children. If other nannies are present during a play date, ensure that your nanny knows your expectations about the degree of supervision she should exhibit over the play date as opposed to the time she spends networking with the other nannies.
And speaking of networking with other nannies, just as stay-at-home moms need a little adult interaction every once in a while, so do nannies. Play dates can be a wonderful way of providing that networking opportunity for your nanny while simultaneously socializing your children.
In sum, we at Nannies4hire.com endorse the practice of nannies setting up periodic play dates for their children. This activity, as with all activities, requires that the employer-family set forth the expectations regarding the activity (what activities and locations are acceptable for play dates) and establish boundaries (what degree of child supervision is appropriate) consistent with those expectations. Once both the family and the nanny have a shared understanding of expectations and boundaries, periodic play dates can be beneficial for everyone involved.