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7 Actions That Will Scare Off Your Nanny

I’ve worked as a nanny, worked with families, hired a nanny myself and monitored nannies so I’m very familiar with the conflicts and issues that can arise when someone else comes into your home and plays such an integral role in care-giving.

It’s not easy as parents to hand over control and it’s not easy as a nanny to completely meld into your family. I often blog about red flags when hiring nannies and ways to help train and properly communicate, but sometimes it’s good to look at your own actions and what you may be doing as a parent that sends red flags up to your nanny.

We all know it’s good for our children to have consistency, so if you are constantly finding yourself with nannies who quit or seem unhappy, it’s a good idea to make sure you are doing everything in your power to give your nanny a reason to stay.

Here are some parent actions that drive nannies off:

  1. Unrealistic expectations. It’s fine to have a schedule and outline what you want your nanny to do with your kids when it comes to enriching activities, healthy eating and a bedtime. It’s not OK, however, to expect that the schedule never need to be adjusted.
  2. Failure to communicate. So many times I talk to parents who have grown annoyed with their nannies and started to resent them, but they have never communicated with their nannies about the behaviors that bothered them. For example, if your nanny does little things like leave the kitchen messy after mealtime or load the dishwasher a certain way you don’t like you have to communicate this. These are small things that can be fixed but if you let them build up and start resenting her without communicating what you want and how you want it, it’s a recipe for disaster.
  3. Changing the plan. Continually making last minute changes or always coming home later than you say you will are two really easy ways to drive your nanny off. Try to set out a consistent schedule at least a week in advance and always apologize and ask – not assume – if your nanny can handle last minute changes.
  4. Never letting your nanny be “off the clock.” I know a lot of people keep weird hours and sometimes think about things they want to tell their nannies at all hours of the night. It’s best to establish a set time when you communicate with her, however. A nanny shouldn’t feel like she has to respond to your calls and texts all night and weekend long in her time off.
  5. Money issues. Not paying your nanny in a timely manner is also hugely off-putting. Other smaller things, though, you may not think about. For example, you may tell your nanny that you will reimburse her for expenses like cab fare and things like getting your kids a snack at the park. It’s really best to leave cash for her ahead of time, though, because those expenses can rack up. Nannies who are continually shelling out their own money on your kids will get resentful very quickly. It’s also uncomfortable for a nanny to have to remind you to pay her.
  6. Bad-mouthing your nanny to your friends. This can – and will – often get back to your nanny. Be careful how you speak about your nanny when she’s around and when she’s not. Also be careful when your kids are around because they will pick up on things that could get back to her. If you have an issue, you should address it with her face to face.
  7. Undermining your nanny in front of your children. There might be times when you walk into a situation and want to save the day, but if you go against what your nanny has already told your children prior to your arrival, you are completely stripping her of all her authority.

It can be really difficult to recognize behaviors in ourselves and it’s always easier to throw blame on someone you are paying to look after your children, but like in all relationships when conflict arises, it’s good to look at your own actions first.

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

3 Tips For Parents To Make Thanksgiving Week Special For Both Nannies And Your Kids

With Thanksgiving next week, I thought it would be a good time to discuss holidays and how you as a parent can make them festive, free of stress and days your entire family and your nanny actually enjoy.
Child Drawing Turkey Hand Thanksgiving
Once a week, I teach a class of continuing education for nannies and in almost every class, I find nannies who feel appreciated at their jobs perform much better and are much more motivated to work. And let’s admit it: They work very hard!!! Holidays are the perfect time to show your nanny your appreciation. Weeks like Thanksgiving are also times when communication and the little extra things will go a long way in keeping your nanny happy in your home.
During one of my  training sessions recently, one nanny actually started crying tears of happiness as she told me the story of how the parents she works for said she could have two extra paid days off around Thanksgiving. She said at first she figured  the parents would negotiate with her and ask her to work extra hours during other days or come on the weekend, but they simply told her  they appreciated all her hard work and wanted to thank her by giving her those days off as they were going on a trip anyway.
I encourage you to talk to your nannies about holiday weeks sooner rather than later and come up with a schedule that works for both of you. While you don’t have to do anything extra, these are often weeks you will want to spend more time at home with your kids anyway, and giving your nanny some unexpected breaks/perks around the holidays is something that will encourage your nanny to be loyal. It’s important to be considerate of your nanny’s family obligations and remember that Thanksgiving should be a special time for them, too.
Here are three specific ways you can make next week special for both your nanny and your child.
  1. Encourage your child to make something special for your nanny. It can be a simple drawing. Even when you baby is only 6 months old, you can always use a handprint or a footprint as something tangible to say thanks. If your children are older, encourage them to write a note of gratitude (and you should write one too!).
  2. Give something. That something doesn’t necessarily have to be money or a gift, but it can be time. You can let your nanny leave an hour early or if you come home early from work one day, then it is OK to give your nanny half a day off or even a full day off. I have always considered my nanny to be a co-parent because the fact is that when you have a nanny (part-time or full-time), she is there to help you parent and help support your family. When I worked as a nanny, I used to get mani-pedi gift cards and I loved them and was so grateful. Anything from a gift card to a candle to a small decorative box with notes from your kids goes a long way in showing your thoughtfulness and gratitude.
  3. Decorate your home. Suggest that your nanny schedule special activities related to Thanksgiving with your kids. You can either use Amazon to order some arts and craft supply related to the holiday or you can ask your nanny to come up with some creative ideas for craft projects if you think that’s something your kids would enjoy. There are festive books, movies and music you can fill your home with that will make things festive for both your nanny and your children.

Of course, we all get super busy during this time of year and often even more stressed. A lot of times we need our nannies even more hours than usual and at the end of a long workday, showing your appreciation for your nanny can be the last thing on your mind. This is why Thanksgiving is a good time and an opportunity to let your nanny know how grateful you are!

If nothing else, treat your nanny to her favorite drink at Starbucks — and grab yourself a Pumpkin Spice Latte too! Trust me, it will get you both in the spirit of the holiday.

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.

Navigating Nannies And Technology: How To Keep Your Nanny Off Her Phone

Things have changed a lot since I was a nanny, and one of the biggest challenges I see today that didn’t exist in generations past is navigating technology and
childcare. Not only is the constant presence of technology – smart phones, iPads, video games, etc. – something we have to monitor with our children, it’s something that needs to be considered when it comes to your nanny.

First and foremost, nannies who are on their phones all the time are putting children in serious dangerous. I actually witnessed a child cross the street by himself while a nanny was texting and she didn’t see the car coming that almost hit the child. I think this is something that parents and babysitters/nannies alike have to be very conscious of in today’s world. I also think it’s a good idea to practice what you preach. If your children see you on the phone all the time, not making eye contact, not paying attention to what’s going on in the present moment, then that is what they are going to model as they grow up. We can’t expect our children – or other who watch our children – to put down the screens when we aren’t willing to do so ourselves.

When it comes to making sure your nanny isn’t texting, tweeting, Snapchatting and Facebooking on the job, here’s what I recommend.

1) A Contract. I advocate all parents have written contracts with their nannies because it establishes ground rules and expectations so that everyone is on
the same page. I definitely recommend putting in a line or two about social media and cell phones in general. If you don’t want your children to be posted about online, you need to explicitly state this in the contract. Oftentimes, nannies will post photos when a child does something cute. Or, maybe they are sending a Snapchat video to a friend. There are so many different outlets where people are documenting their everyday lives in today’s world that there are probably social media channels you don’t even understand or know about. It’s best to outline from the beginning what you are comfortable with and what you don’t want to happen. If you don’t want your children to be posted about, make sure to set a black and white rule from the beginning.

2) Set realistic expectations. It’s not realistic to tell your nanny she should never be on her phone and then expect her to always be in constant contact with you. If you are the type of person who wants to be able to send a text and find out how the kids are or be able to call and give an update about your arrival time, then you are also setting the expectation that your nanny has a phone on her at all times. This is fine as long as you also communicate that your children’s safety is of the utmost importance. Make sure to remind your nanny you want her holding your kids’ hands when you cross the street, are getting in and our of cabs, etc., and that in these situations you’d rather your phone calls be ignored.

3) Monitor. If you happen to be on social networks, it’s not a bad idea to occasionally check to make sure your nanny isn’t posting unwanted photos of your kids. If you are at work or out at night and you see your nanny, who is with your kids, posting status updates constantly, this is a major red flag. Remind your nanny that you prefer she limit her phone time when she is around your children. It’s like any other job in that you want her complete attention on her job – which is keeping your children safe. Also listen for your children’s feedback. If they make comments about the nanny always being on her phone, this is something you should address immediately. As with most things, the more clear and direct you are about rules and expectations, the better things will go. Make sure you convey all of your privacy concerns in a contract and remind your nanny that you prefer to have her off her phone as much as possible for safety reasons.

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.

Welcome!

Welcome to the Nanny Spy blog! I’m so excited to finally launch this project and bring parents here together to talk kids, nannies and everything in between. I’m a Mental Health Counselor, a wife and a mother of three girls. This site is the manifestation of years of experience, years of incredible struggles and my passion to help others on these all too familiar journeys.

 

When I had my first child, I started seeking support and guidance and didn’t know where to go. I grew up in Israel and lived in a kibbutz (communal settlement) for much of my adolescence, so I was used to community-based support. I wasn’t able to find any when it came to things like hiring a nanny for my child or just getting advice on services related to kids and families. Having worked as a nanny for many years, I was only familiar with the other side of it. The emotions you go through as a mother and the things you need to think about and know when it comes to choosing and having a relationship with a caregiver for your child can be overwhelming and confusing.

 

After working with individuals and groups for the past 10 years, I realized what I wanted to focus on is prevention of mental heal issues – starting with the family unit. By intervening with children and families early on and helping them find the right services, I hope to create a stronger foundation that will lead to a happier and healthier future.

 

This site, and my personal philosophy, is based on a study of wellness called The Five Ways to Wellbeing, which are Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. I will be sharing weekly blogs on topics that range from general wellness practices, childcare philosophies, tips and tricks for hiring nannies, troubleshooting as it relates to childcare, communication practices and so much more!

 

My vision for this site is for it to be a forum where parents can find any related support for their children and families and also share their concerns and opinions with other parents. It’s a place for parents and professionals to connect in a healthy and productive format. As a young parent, I always felt I had to shop around for resources and a community of support. There wasn’t one place I could turn. It is my hope this site will become a one-stop shop for parents to be able to find support for their kids and family.

 

I invite you to take a look around the site to learn a little bit more about me and the services I provide. Feel free to leave comments with any questions and please let me know what topics you’d like to see covered. Also, be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so can you stay up to date with the latest!

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