If you have found the holy grail of nannies, you want to hold on to her with everything you have!
Having a great nanny/family relationship is a give and take. Nannies that know their family values and respects them are more likely going to go the extra mile!
Here are some tips we have found from working with hundreds of nannies over the years and also from our own personal experiences in the past as nannies:
1. Guaranteed Hours Your nanny is relying on certain pay each week for expenses, even if it isn't a full time position. If you go out of town for a week or grandma comes in town and you give your nanny the day off, you should still pay your nanny for her normal working hours. Just like in daycare, you pay a set price each week to reserve your spot at the school. If your nanny has inconsistent pay, it becomes stressful for her and she might start looking for a position with more stability.
2. Be respectful of your nanny’s working space. Don’t leave a sink full of dirty dishes, toys everywhere and overflowing laundry when your nanny arrives Monday morning. Most nannies are willing to do light housekeeping pertaining to the child(ren) but if they have too much housework, then the focus is off of your children. A nanny’s #1 job is to care for children. Housework should be left for when children are napping or if the nanny arrives at your house while children are still in school. This allows her to have a specific time when she can focus on just housework and not have it distract from her job caring for your kids.
3. Communication Keep communication open! We recommend having regular time (once per month or every other month) where you can sit down and talk with your nanny. Talk about what is working and what might need some tweaking...for both sides! We also recommend doing a performance review at the 6 month or 1 year mark and give your nanny the opportunity to earn a raise or bonus for doing a great job.
4. Be respectful of your nanny’s time. We all have things that come up or we get stuck in traffic from time to time, but do your best to be home when you tell your nanny you will be home. If you are running late, give your nanny as much head’s up as possible in case she has other plans and needs to make arrangements. Just as you would like the same respect in the mornings when you are leaving for work.
5. Give Thanks There are many ways to show your appreciation for your nanny. It can simply be by saying thank you when you notice your nanny went above and beyond one week. Many families will get their nanny a gift for her birthday and bonus during the holidays. A typical holiday bonus is one week of pay and often families will have their child or children make something special for their nanny.
6. Taxes A nanny is considered a household employee and as their employer, you are required to pay taxes. It is illegal to pay your nanny "under the table" or as an independent contractor. A professional nanny will want to be paid legally.
7. Trust You hired your nanny because she probably has a lot of wonderful qualities and experience to where you felt comfortable leaving your precious children with her. Trust must be earned over time and while it is good to look out for red flags, once you establish trust with your nanny, give her freedom to do her job. While she should follow your lead and wishes for your child, no one likes to be micromanaged!
8. Back Her Up When your nanny is on duty, she should be the authority figure for your children. Unless she does something completely out of line with your parenting philosophy, it is best to back her up to follow through with discipline. If you undermine her in front of your children, your children aren't going to respect her when it comes to discipline.
9. Part of the Family Being a nanny is one of the most personal jobs you can have. You are in someones home and spending a good amount of time with their children. It goes a long way with your nanny when you make them feel included in your child's life. Little things like inviting them to your child's birthday party or recital means the world to your nanny because it shows them that you believe they are an important part of your child's life.
10. Be a team When you and your nanny work together as a team and both have the same end goal of keeping a safe, positive and loving environment for your children, everything runs smoother. When hiccups arise along the way, you should both go into the situation from a positive place and with the attitude of "How can we work together to find a solution to this".