The Importance Of Nanny Orientation: Your Nanny’s First Day

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” -Benjamin Franklin

Miscommunication tends to be the cause of most interpersonal conflicts, particularly in situations where the line between the professional and the familial relationship is blurred, as is often the case in a nanny-parent dynamic.  The key to maintaining an effective working environment lies in establishing an open dialogue between all interested parties. As human beings, we are all inherently flawed, but being upfront about expectations, hopes and concerns will help mitigate potential future problems.  Issues arise when our meanings and intentions become misconstrued in the delivery – or lack of delivery – of our message.

 

This actually starts before you even hire your nanny when you communicate what you are looking for. However, the communication can’t stop there. The first day your nanny works for you is vital to the future of your relationship. Whether your nanny has been working with children for years or is on the younger side, there needs to be an orientation period (more than one day!) where you not only outline your expectations but also demonstrate how you want all the details – both large and small – handled.

 

Ideally, she will be able to shadow you for a day and watch you perform the duties that she will be responsible for going forward, but I realize that it is not realistic for everyone to be able to take time off of work.  Either way, taking a few hours to introduce the new nanny to the way you expect her to run your household will be mutually beneficial and help set the stage for a healthy working relationship and an open line of communication.

 

First day orientation and on the job training may sound the same, but the concepts are actually quite different.  You should not have to teach your nanny how to take care of a baby (unless this was something agreed upon at the time of hiring), but you should give your nanny instructions about how to take care of your baby.  The same goes for any household chores that you have agreed will be the responsibility of your nanny.  For example, if your nanny is in charge of doing the dishes and the laundry, make sure that you have given her specific instructions about how you want her to do this, and where each item needs to be put away.  Although it may seem like overkill to be so specific with things that to you seem like common knowledge, remember that (particularly with nannies from different cultural backgrounds) not everyone will approach situations the same way that you do.

 

For one, making directions clear from the very beginning will set a precedent for the duration of your time working together.  More importantly, it will make it easier to objectively evaluate the job that your nanny is doing.  If she is not performing up to the standards that you would like her to, ask yourself if this is because you never set proper guidelines. For example, if your nanny is not putting your dishes away in the correct spots, is this because you never told her where you like to keep things, or is it because she just has not listened?

Having worked as a nanny in the past, it was comforting for me to know exactly how to handle situations exactly the way that my employers wanted me to.  Below are a few topics that you may want to cover with your new nanny before her position officially starts. I’m going to be blogging about these areas in more depth in the coming weeks!

  1. Snacks and meals
  2. Household chores
  3. Playdates
  4. Discipline
  5. Bathing
  6. Sleep schedule and bedtime procedures

If you’re interested in more information about our services as they relate to your nanny, check out our nanny consulting page  or contact us today.

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