Setting Expectations for Your New Nanny
You are preparing to hire a new nanny. What expectations should you reasonably have for your nanny? How should you communicate those expectations to your nanny? How should you implement and reinforce your expectations?
Reasonable expectations for your new nanny include: regular, punctual work attendance; a positive, cooperative, caring attitude every day; good judgment; good communications skills; role modeling for the behaviors you want your children to exhibit; a willingness to adapt or flex to your schedule and preferences; interest in your children and the activities that they enjoy; and ultimately, the provision of safe, loving childcare for your children. You may also reasonably expect your new nanny to be responsible for preparing your children’s meals and snacks; picking up after your children and cleaning up any messes that they make; doing your children’s laundry; transporting your children to their various activities and appointments; running errands with and for your children; and performing other tasks that may directly or indirectly benefit your children.
Communicating expectations should begin early and be expressed as precisely as possible. During your nanny interviews, provide your nanny candidates with a job description or other listing of your expectations regarding the position. At the time of hire, have your new nanny sign a nanny contract which specifies, among other things, your expectations. During your nanny’s first days of employment, train your nanny on what you want her to do and how you want her to do it.
Implementing and reinforcing your expectations is a matter of communication as well. Throughout your nanny’s employment, observe your nanny’s work performance. Praise her when she performs to your expectations and re-train/redirect her when she does not perform to your expectations. If your nanny repeatedly or significantly fails to perform to your expectations, it may become necessary to initiate progressive discipline. Many families provide one verbal warning to nannies who have done wrong, one written warning, and then dismissal. However, if your nanny’s errant behavior is exposing your children to serious risk of imminent harm, dismissal on first occurrence may be appropriate.
By setting reasonable expectations for your new nanny, communicating them early and precisely, training her well, and following up appropriately, you will be ensuring that you are taking the right steps to facilitate a satisfactory working relationship for both you and your nanny.