Today, we’re starting a series on helping nannies be the best they can through communication. This will be a multi-part series that examines different aspects of communication in a nanny’s career.
We will begin by taking a look at the importance of cooperation between the nanny and the parents.
So, you want to be a nanny and find the perfect family? Great! Let’s talk about what that relationship will look like. Have you ever heard the saying,
“Happy wife, happy life”?
Well, congratulations, you just married yourself a brand new spouse!
As a nanny you will inevitably become a part of the family, whether or not they ask you to. This relationship building between you and the family starts on day one. So, get dressed up because you’re about to have your first date! 🙂
Start with the interview.
Anytime you’re considering taking on a new family, you should always have an interview. Use this as a chance to ask questions. Most people think an interview is for the parents. FALSE!
The interview is a crucial opportunity for the Nanny and Parents to get to know each other.
The interview is your chance to:
- find out how they interact with the kiddos
- ask about house rules
- discipline strategies
- reward systems.
The parents’ response will almost immediately tell you if this will be a good fit and give you a sense of their principles and values. Their response will also help you get a feel for how the kids interact with their authority figures. That knowledge is important because it shows how the kids will treat you and expect to be treated. It’s important to agree with the methods they already have in place.
If you don’t agree with the parents about important parenting principles, this is not a good fit for you.
If you do, PERFECT! After all, raising the kids from here on out will be a group effort.
Keep building the relationship
Your relationship may start on the interview, but you have to keep on building it. Do things outside of your regular work schedule together. Do dinner together. Sometimes it’s fun to invite the family to your house. This gives them a chance to become a part of your family too. Go on family outings.
Be a part of the kids’ life and give them a chance to see how you interact with their parents around.
Become ONE unit
As I mentioned earlier, nannying for a family is like marrying into that family.
Just as spouses need to communicate in healthy relationships, nannies and parents have to communicate with each other.
As the nanny, you should be communicating with the parents about the kids as much as they are. You need to be involved in important conversations about the kids’ progress, struggles, and changes. Do whatever is needed to make sure your communication stays open and regular. Texting is my personal favorite way to keep in touch, but you have a plethora of options. Even your invoice can be set up for communication.
“But the parents are bad communicators!”
Let’s be real for a second. Sometimes parents and families are bad at communicating. I’ll be honest, this will make your job harder. It then becomes important that YOU set up systems that force them to communicate.
Regardless of their communication with each other, it’s your responsibility to communicate clearly and regularly with both of them.
One way you make this happen is by sending group messages to both of them with updates and info. Ask questions in a group chat, so they can see each other’s responses and you get the answers you need. Whether or not Mom and Dad are communicating about the rest of their lives, they will be communicating with and about you! 😉
Don’t be afraid of open communication. There is no such thing as too much communication. There are many ways you can keep communication open:
- writing messages on the black/white board,
- leave sticky notes,
- leave a comments section in your invoice.
This will make the relationship more comfortable on both sides.
Leave a trail
I’m not talking about the bread crumbs Hansel and Gretel left behind. I’m talking about your communication.
It is important to have a trail of proof of that communication.
You need to be able to show the parents what has been communicated between you and them and anyone else involved. Part of your responsibility in this whole communication as a nanny is to keep track of this proof. For example:
- sticky notes,
- pictures of notes written on the black/whiteboards in the house,
- copies of your invoices,
- screenshots of your texts
These proofs give you something tangible to point to when questions arise, which happens more often than you’d expect.
Communication is important.
You just “married” them. Don’t forget that.
This will make the kids happier, it will make you happier, and it will definitely make the parents happier. Make sure to communicate these things early on and regularly.