Nannies: 5 Tips for great communication with your employer
Being a Nanny is a serious job and as much as it can be incredibly rewarding watching a little one grow up from the baby years to a being fully fledged toddler, and beyond, it can also be very challenging along the way. One of the key resources in the life of a Nanny is a good relationship with your employer; here are some tips on how to grow and develop that relationship well so that you can face the challenges as a team.
1. Set your expectations at the beginning and in writing
When you begin with a new family, it’s important to set the foundation for the position you are accepting. Families and nannies should be honest about their child-rearing philosophies, their financial expectations, housekeeping/cleaning expectations, the children’s routines, their discipline methods, etc. The family and Nanny need to discuss each side of their expectations together so they can be on the same page from the start. You should ask detailed questions up front and get everything in writing. A contract or work agreement is a solid document of communication and will clarify to both you and your employer what has been set up. Over time it is easy to forget expectations, but having them written down for reference is great!
2. Face-to-face communication is always best
Although we may be more tech-savvy than ever before, nothing beats human interaction. If there is something important that you would like to chat to your employer about, rather than sending a text or Whatsapp, make time to chat to him/her at an appropriate time for both of you. This will help to avoid any misunderstanding that might be communicated through things like emoticons. It also lets your employer know that you value their input and their time.
3. Be honest and open
Always be truthful. Be honest and upfront if you are finding something about your responsibilities challenging or frustrating. A good employer will always appreciate open communication and also seek to understand where you are coming from. Together you can work to find a solution and to help one another out. Dishonesty is the single biggest reason a nanny loses her job.
4. Anticipate and communicate
Running low on nappies? Used up the last of the milk? Let your employer know. By letting them know, you are communicating that you care for the job that you do. And will also help you and your employer to work together as an efficient team. If you need to schedule a doctor’s/clinic appointment, ask your employer before you schedule it if there are times that might work better for him/her; it impacts their work and time too. Your employer’s work schedule is planned largely around your work and therefore s/he needs time to shuffle commitments and appointments if you’re not there. When you anticipate these things it helps to take both of your needs into consideration.
5. Be positive
Before bringing a problem to your employer, consider possible solutions. Brainstorm some ideas that you feel would work best and discuss them with your employer. He/she may love your idea or may have some ideas of their own, if you are open to hear their opinion you can discuss all the ideas and come up with something you both agree on.
If you have a problem that you’re frustrated with and just need to let off some steam find a friend you can trust to chat with. We all need to debrief sometimes after a long day, but rather do this with a friend or family member in private. Just be sure never to share confidential information that you’ve been entrusted with.
A final thought
When nannies go out of their way to stay connected with their employer it is recognized and valued. Communication over the daily activities and special/fun moments with the child can connect you with your employer. Take cute pictures, write down memorable moments or times where a child exceeded expectation or responsibility. Parents are always delighted to hear and see that their children are doing well, being cared for, and having fun! When you communicate these things it helps to grow your relationship with them too.
Written by: Cathy Innes