You may have seen a wonderful nanny on the job, playing cheerfully with the children, lovingly correcting them when necessary, or totally wrapped up in a conversation with an inquisitive little learner. It’s likely the employer is just as happy with the nanny’s job performance. Here are the top 5 signs your nanny is a keeper, and ways that you can add to the positive experience.
Your nanny is a keeper if he or she . . .
1) Fits right in as family.
This nanny has a natural connection to your family as a whole. It may not be instantaneous! But over time, this caregiver becomes one of the tribe and can sense the environment in the home. He or she will know how to connect with your children in a warm and authoritative manner. Your children will likely “test” and push boundaries with this nanny more because they feel so comfortable with his or her presence.
How can I add to this? Insist that the nanny is respected as a professional, and cared for like a family member by all members of your family. And go the extra mile for him or her: remember their birthday, buy them lunch, have your children make a picture on the weekend, or purchase a little something that will really let your caregiver know you are appreciative of them.
2) Keeps your children engaged and thriving.
Have you noticed your children more focused, doing better in school, successfully completing tasks and routines without reminders, and just generally happy? It’s likely because of all the reinforcement your nanny provides in your absence throughout the week. This takes a special skill, and it comes with experience with a variety of ages.
How do I recognize this? A simple sentence is always nice for a nanny to hear, such as, “Hey, we just wanted you to know that we have seen the children become more cooperative, responsible, and they are always happy when you are around. We want you to know we see this, and we appreciate having you in their lives.” So easy! It means the world to a caregiver and lets them know that their efforts don’t go unnoticed.
3) Communicates with maturity and respect.
This nanny is open to critique, and accepts it with maturity when it is spoken respectfully. A mature nanny knows his or her limitations, and will be open to hearing how you need them to improve. If your nanny is a keeper, he or she will take what you say, think on it, and make changes. On the flip side, a communicative nanny will go the extra mile and state what approaches could be modified to improve the child’s life and developmental opportunities.
How can I ensure our communication stays this way? First off, make sure that your personal communication is crystal clear: avoid changing plans or ideas at the last minute, as this will only stress your caregiver unnecessarily. State only the things that must change, and avoid micromanaging every preference upon the caregiver in situations that aren’t crucial or unsafe. Be open to suggestions as well, and really listen with attention, considering what they have to say. Too many of these pitfalls can make a great nanny frustrated and embittered, and if they don’t feel strong enough to share their mind respectfully, they just may quit.
4) Is always reflecting upon and improving his or her practice.
This nanny is constantly coming up with new ideas or activities to keep your children engaged and active. He or she will also notice when a difficult situation with the children arose, will reflect on it, and act accordingly. This nanny may have deep conversations with you about your personal developmental and educational theories, as it adds to his or her knowledge and approach to child raising.
How can I support this? Ask this nanny if there are any particular books he or she recommends on a particular subject. Seek their advice and counsel, as they know your children as well as you do.
5) Takes initiative around your home.
This nanny is always busy, and not just with the children. When his or her hands are free, this caregiver willingly volunteers to complete tasks, often unnoticed. A nanny who takes initiative goes the extra mile to make your life easier, and tries to have everything in place by the time you’re ready to take over with the kids, so you can focus on them.
How do I protect this? Make sure not to hold the nanny to any additional tasks outside of the work agreement, and do not be passive aggressive about things not getting done on busy days-- this just builds resentment. We all know that spending hours upon hours with children is exhausting, so make sure that your caregiver is getting the rest he or she needs as well. Above all, don’t always expect that a nanny will be able to shine your shoes and create rainbows. Everyone has their off times; treat their willingness as an added bonus to his or her awesome skills with the children. Show your appreciation.
If your nanny is a keeper, you can only do your best to support the relationship and make sure the working environment stays positive and peaceful!
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Copyright 2021. Kith and Kin is a division of Adventure Nannies. Kith and Kin does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, age, height, weight, physical disabilities, veteran status, and marital status. We place nannies, newborn care specialists (formerly called baby nurses), and private educators throughout the New York metro area and beyond. You may contact us at hello@KITHandKINnyc.com