For every employer having great employees is good, having great, happy employee is even better.
If you have a nanny…you are an employer. Keeping your nanny happy often translates quite simply into …keeping your nanny. Having a great nanny stay with your family for a long period of time means less stress for you (less training, less instructions, less time searching) and often it is means less stress for your kids (consistent loving bond, less anxiety, less fear of abandonment, deeper relationship)
Here are a variety of practical everyday things you can do to help keep a really great nanny happy:
- Pay her what she is worth. Pay what you can afford – You get what you pay for.
- Do NOT continually add non-child related jobs that were not initially negotiated (imagine if that happened on a daily basis to you at work)
- Say thank you. If she goes above and beyond, notice and let her know you appreciate it.
- LISTEN – Ask her how her day was, ask about the kids, ask about HER, find out how things are really going. Don’t stop listening if it’s not all happy happy news.
- Use a daily communication log. Write down specific positive comments as well as reminders and instructions. Vague general feedback positive or negative is not helpful. Be as specific and detailed with your constructive criticism and requests as you are with your praise and accolades.
- Be respectful, support her and her decisions in front of your children. Look for ways to support her efforts. You are on the same team, work together…establish the same ground rules, routines, and discipline techniques. The more consistent you can make things for your kids, the easier it is for everyone.
- Be CLEAR from day one about your expectations. Write things down if you have to. If something is important to you (No TV, no sugary snacks, bedtime is 8pm…exactly) say so clearly. Most Nannies can’t read minds.
- Schedule meetings to talk about how things are going. Have those meetings even if things are going well. This is good preventative medicine and it keeps the lines of communication open.
- Offer raises or bonuses for a job well done. Reward great work. Everyone likes to feel appreciated. Some ideas; Give your nanny a paid afternoon off , “in kind” bonuses (if you own a beauty salon offer her a free manicure….easy for you, a treat for her), buy her movie passes, buy her flowers, invite her and a friend over for a meal & movie one night, write her a thank you card, invite her to birthday parties and large family events (but do not pressure her to attend), Make enough coffee in the morning so that she can have a cup, take some great pictures of her and the kids…frame one, ask her if there are any memberships that could make her job easier (science world, the aquarium) get one, if she is looking for extra work…recommend her to your friends.
- Make sure she has what she needs to do her job (good stroller, bus fare, snacks available, sand box toys…ask what she needs!) This can be a stressful area if you are not forthcoming with petty cash and your nanny is not rolling in the dough. Let her know she can eat with the kids. Most families do open their pantries to their nannies. If this is okay with you make sure she is aware that this is something you are fine with.Deal with situations that arise quickly, fairly and directly – If something is not going well DO NOT let it fester. Always ask for more information. There are always two sides to every story be sure to approach all problems proactively…look for the solution
Most Nannies say that their favorite jobs have been with families who have treated them as if they were actual family members. Almost every single nanny also says that their absolute least favorite thing is when they feel disrespected or when their efforts with the children have been undermined by their employers. The top qualities that Nannies list as being the most desirable in a family are; Good ability to communicate clearly and regularly appreciates the work that is being done, and is open, warm and inclusive.
A truly great nanny is a real treasure. She can make your day go smoother, lighten your daily load and add love, inspiration, quality education and appropriate stimulation into your children’s day to day activities. Once you find your perfect nanny….take the time and make the effort to treat her with the care and respect she deserves. Your kids will learn by watching you how to treat people, and your nanny will treasure her job and your family all the more.
Leanne Hume is first and foremost a Mum. She has also worked as a live in, live out and on call nanny as well as a teacher in Vancouver, Northern Canada, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and Fiji.
Leanne now works as the Vancouver Nanny Recruiter for Nannies on Call …The West Coast’s premiere Nanny Agency.