Bringing a Nanny into Your Family: Starting on the Right Foot
First impressions are important, especially when you’ll be spending lots of time with someone. At the beginning of your nanny’s employment, you have the opportunity to lay a good foundation that will support a healthy long-term relationship and make your household run as efficiently as possible.
Before You Hire Your Nanny
Before you even begin interviewing for the nanny position, it’s important that you take time to prepare yourself, your kids, and even the candidates for the next steps. The following suggestions can help you set the stage for a good relationship that truly benefits everyone.
Have a Family Discussion
When you first start considering the idea of hiring a nanny for your home, sit down with your family (partner, children, other caregivers, etc.) and have an earnest conversation about what everyone’s thoughts and expectations are. Brainstorm a list of household tasks you’d like them to handle, talk about working hours, and ask the children what they would like to see in a nanny.
You should also talk to your family about what will change, what will stay the same, and what they’re expected to do. Talk to your kids about what you expect from them when they are with the nanny, such as being well behaved and listening carefully. Make sure they are also aware of the boundaries and that they should let you know if those boundaries aren’t being respected.
Thoroughly Screen and Background Check All Candidates
Before you set up any interviews with applicants, take the time to look into each of them a bit more closely. Naturally, a person who mentions previous experience as a nanny or childcare professional is likely a better candidate than someone who has never worked with kids before. Even when you’ve separated out the best candidates based on their qualifications, however, there may still be hidden red flags.
When it comes to finding someone you can trust with your home and children, a full background check is an unfortunate necessity. While most applicants will probably be trustworthy, it’s crucial that you check their records for any criminal history or other concerning issues. If you’re not able to afford the background checks yourself, you might choose to work with a staffing agency that can screen candidates for you.
Discuss Any “Deal Breakers” Right Away at the Interview
If there’s anything you absolutely must have or refuse to accept, let the candidate know about it during their interview. Likewise, be sure to ask candidates if they have any deal breakers of their own. This will quickly help you weed out anyone who’s not a good fit, as well as help illustrate each person’s values and concerns.
To avoid dismissing candidates too quickly, make sure your deal breakers aren’t just strong preferences. If you need a nanny who knows sign language because one of your children is deaf, not being at least willing to learn ASL might be a deal breaker. If you really want your nanny to share your religious beliefs, that may be more of a strong preference.
Making a Good Start with Your New Nanny
Once you’ve chosen and hired the right person, you and your family can begin building a good working relationship with them. The following are tips you can use to start off on the right foot and have the best possible experience with your new nanny.
Respect Your Nanny’s Personal Life
Even if you’re hiring a live-in nanny to stay with you full time, they still have their own personal life and individual needs. If they request time off from work or have personal obligations to fulfill, be respectful of that. If they’re a part-time nanny working on a degree and attending classes in the evenings, be supportive of their goals and open to being flexible with their hours.
If your nanny doesn’t live with you, be mindful of the fact that they have their own life and loved ones outside of your home. Make an effort to ask about their family, friends, and hobbies. Get to know them better as a person, and you’ll both come away with a bond that bolsters your working relationship.
Have Clear Communication from Day One
Good communication is key to success in just about any area of life. When it comes to your nanny, it’s important that you clearly communicate any information regarding your family’s schedule, daily work tasks, children’s activities, etc. You should also be able to talk honestly and openly about employment-related issues like pay and hours. As things change, update your nanny in a timely manner.
At the very least, it’s a good idea to have a single central hub for family information. Have a primary calendar where you can write down upcoming appointments and obligations for your nanny (and other family members) to reference. You might also have a bulletin board or another dedicated place where you can write important reminders or notes.
Set Appropriate Boundaries
Make sure you set clear well-defined boundaries with regard to what your nanny can and can’t do in your home and with your children. For example, think about how you want them to handle things like discipline and travel boundaries. If the kids misbehave, is the nanny allowed to put them in time out? Where is your nanny allowed to go with your children, and for how long? Hash out these specifics early on to avoid problems and arguments later.
Be Consistent and Fair When It Comes to Pay
You are your nanny’s employer, which is why it’s your responsibility to make sure they are paid sufficiently, properly, and on time. If paychecks are sporadic or you fail to pay your nanny the agreed amount, you not only leave a bad taste in their mouth, but you also damage your reputation as an employer. Make sure they’re always paid reliably and in full.
You should also be fair with regard to pay and any benefits you decide to offer. If you begin to introduce new duties or increase your expectations, you should also increase their pay and/or benefits accordingly.
Show Your Appreciation
One of the best ways to make a good impression and support a good relationship with your nanny is to express gratitude freely and regularly. Make sure you congratulate them for a job well done or for tackling an especially difficult task. It’s also a good idea to practice being grateful in general and show appreciation for both the quality of their work and who they are as a person.
Gratitude is something that benefits both the giver and the receiver. When you thank your nanny, they get important feedback that tells them they are doing a good job and that they are valued by you and your family. The more you show gratitude, the more you’ll see just how much you have to be thankful for. It also sets a great example for your kids, who can also learn to be more grateful.
Looking for a Nanny? Start Out Strong with Help from Staffing at Tiffanie’s
All good relationships start with compatibility. At Staffing at Tiffanie’s, we’ll connect with great nanny candidates right away, saving you the struggle of searching job sites and wading through unqualified responses. We also pre-screen and background check all of our candidates for you, giving you the peace of mind that you can trust them around your family.