Active Moms’ Club is thrilled to introduce a new guest blogger today, Amelia Miller, owner of Lincoln Park Nannies. Amelia and her team have been placing nannies in Chicago since 2007. Thank you Amelia for providing such a wonderful resource! A common discussion I hear in class is the task of hiring a nanny, and creating a healthy rapport with her. We asked Amelia to provide AMC moms with some tips to help navigate this challenging issue.
As a Nanny Placement Coordinator, I am always intrigued by parents’ response to the question: “What nanny relationship do you want?” Most parents want a casual friendly relationship with their nanny, and some parents expand on this by wanting the nanny to be a new family member. Rarely do parents state upfront that a professional relationship is preferred. However, the professional relationship is quickly sought after the nanny eats a little too much too often, begins arriving late, or pays more attention to facebook than the children. Parents are left in a difficult position, not knowing how to change her behavior.
So the next question is: How should parents define and keep a healthy nanny relationship? Here are some helpful tips to establishing your nanny relationship:
#1 HAVE A CONTRACT
If you want your nanny to respect your family and its boundaries and also know that she is appreciated, you will have a formal contract. A contract states her pay, possible raise after a term, and parenting expectations. Here is a simplified version of a contract from LPN. Take notes when reviewing the contract with your nanny during her initial interview, and use this opportunity to see her reactions to your ideas and family’s lifestyle.
#2 JUST STAY PROFESSIONAL
As an employer, who also brings someone into the home, you want your nanny to be as comfortable as possible. You may also be eager to get to know her better personally. While I know that some clients walk down this path, don’t start talking with your nanny about her boyfriend problems on week one. Use the first, three months to observe how the nanny follows your parenting style, listens and performs instructions, and builds a rapport with your children.
As with other relationships, the first three months are a time when early, but important, precedents are made. You want to establish that her primary role is focusing on your children, and that you take her professionalism seriously. After three months, as I counsel clients, you will have a better feeling about which aspects of your personal relationship you want to develop and enrich with your nanny.
#3 STRIVE FOR CANDOR
If you can’t give feedback and express your expectations, a problem will persist. Open up and talk to her, be honest about the issue, recognize her intent, be clear with your expectations, and describe how her behavior affects you and your family. These conversations are crucial, no matter the size of the issue, and, in the end, everyone will be better off.
After following the points above, follow your mommy instinct to tell you what is appropriate. After all, you did choose this person to be a huge part of your life, so if you want to have a cup of coffee with her or go shopping, I say go for it! Many of my clients no longer need their nanny, but they still invite her to lunch, ask for visits with the grown children, or go for manicures together.
Moms and nannies form unique bonds. Starting the relationship at the professional level before becoming personal will more likely lead to a healthy relationship, and maybe, a true friendship. No other “girlfriend” has changed your baby’s diaper or calmed your kids down during a tantrum. No other “girlfriend” knew when you needed a HUGE break, offered to stay late with the kids, gave them a bath, and got them to bed. I would definitely want a friend like that!
Amelia Miller, Owner of Lincoln Park Nannies Agency, has been placing nannies in Chicago since 2007. Along with her LPN Team, she has been helping new moms find nannies all over the Chicago land area and North Shore. Amelia built the business on her passion and expertise in childcare, coupled with a desire to help nannies find their dream job in this city. Follow LPN on Twitter, and Facebook.