How to Make Your Nanny Really CareCaitlin Cherry
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This is it. Youve found her. Shes been to your house a few times, and your kids love her. You find yourself daydreaming about her during morning drop-off and emailing throughout the day, confirming you are still on for Friday night. But how do you make sure your nanny feels the same? Here are 14 ways to make her (or him) want to stay and fall head over heels for your little monsters I mean angels.
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Take her out sometimes — without the kids
Your nanny is aware of everything that happens in your house, whether or not you want her to be. Your kids confide in her, messages and packages arrive while youre out, and calendars are detailed recordings of plans. She knows when you are organizing your annual holiday party or a special surprise party for your spouse. Send the kids to a friends house for the night and invite her out. She will know you see her and value her in an adult context, too.
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Dont ask for her advice unless you really want it
Taking care of your kids is your nannys career, and she is an expert. She is a miracle worker with potty training, picky eaters, and getting your kids out the door in the mornings. She has seen a wide range of calamities in her time and has handled the worst of temper tantrums, which is why you hired her. She might not have advanced degrees but she can probably get your kid to sleep in 15 minutes. If you want her advice, be prepared to trust in what she says, even if it bruises your ego. Shes likely to have some opinions that are quite different from yours — and she might well be right.
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Round up when you pay her
You know that loving your child is easy, but occupying him all day is exhausting (which is probably why you got a nanny in the first place). Round up when paying her, even if it is only a dollar or two. Adding a couple extra bucks will pay for her coffee on her way to your house Monday morning and let her know you appreciate her dedication and hard work.
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If shes having a bad day, be sensitive about it
Just like you, nannies have bad days at work. Whether its the limited amount of adult interaction shes had or a few too many tantrums to contend with, she might be a little huffy when you get home. Take the time to ask her if shes okay and if theres something you can do. That way she will feel you care about her and that you know her well enough to identify when she is not herself.
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Be clear about your wants, needs, and schedules
Make sure everyone in the house is on the same page. Getting one story from dad on the phone about what is expected and another story from mom when you arrive creates a frustrated nanny. Mix-ups happen, and messages cross, but do your best to communicate clearly so she does not feel like she is dealing with two extra kids.
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Celebrate her big moments
She knows every family members birthday, (including the dogs), so try to remember hers. Have your kids make her a present. She will enjoy a clay handprint just as much as you do on Mothers Day. Let them paint and decorate a picture frame and put your little angel in there (a picture with her is even better if you have it). Your nanny is emotionally attached to your child, so while shell appreciate a bonus check, shell treasure a handmade present, too.
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Let her know when youre coming back
Give your nanny a heads-up of when she can expect you home — even a 20 minutes away warning is appreciated. And do not forget to let her know when you are running late. Most nannies have limited time for a social life, and giving an ETA lets her plan when she can squeeze in a little time with her friends or significant other. Be considerate of plans she has and expect that she does have a life outside your home.
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Instead of canceling, give her another gig
If you do not need your nanny on a certain day or night, offer her to a trusted friend, someone who will value her just as much, and make up for the lack of pay you are not able to offer. Shell enjoy being your social groups nanny, will get to meet the kids your child plays with, and will feel even more loyal to you than she did before.
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She is not your kids employee
Your nanny is an authority figure and needs to be respected as such. Children should not be allowed to order her around. They need to know your nanny is in charge and is on the same team as mommy and daddy. No adult wants to have to pay lip service to a tiny tot. Include your kids in the hiring process and sit down with the nanny as a family so everyone knows she has just as much clout as mom and dad.
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Respect her decisions
You would never overturn your spouses ruling when he/she is not around so give your nanny the same courtesy. If she has informed you of a decision, such as earlier bed time due to a skipped nap or what the child will wear to school the next day, follow through. If you have questions to ask or want to discuss her decisions, do it. Just try not to undo her days work.
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Dont expect her to help if shes not paid
If you invite your nanny to your kids party off-hours and do not plan on paying her, make sure you dont ask her to work. Sure, she can give you a hand entertaining, cleaning up after, and snapping pictures during the party, but shell have to volunteer, not be expected to. She might find it hard not to help out, but try to put her at ease and let her enjoy the celebration as a guest.
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Your nanny has your childs best interests at heart, which includes making sure they have time to spend with their parents. If youre home while the nanny is there and want to spend time with your kids, have your nanny do the laundry or run errands while you and the children play (as long as youve agreed in advance that shes comfortable doing these things). In most cases, she wont mind tending the house so your kids can get the best care, straight from mom and dad.
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Share your opinion of her with your kids
Let your kids know that you like, trust, and value your nanny, and they should too — but only if they feel it. Do not force a loving relationship between your child and nanny and never punish if your child says he doesnt like your nanny. Talk about it and respect that each person, tall and small, has his own feelings and opinions.
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Watch out for mini-manipulators
Remember that your kids, even at 2, know your weak spots and will use them. If your child seems to complain when your nanny is a topic of conversation or acts up when you are about to leave, talk about issues and concerns before taking drastic action. Kids often know just what to say to get what they want, especially when its simply more time with you! Your nanny has seen it all and can help you decide if your child just wants his way or if there is an actual issue in the arrangement. Consult her as a professional, and she is likely to be honest in her report.
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