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Building a Strong Family-Nanny Relationship
A strong family-nanny relationship relies on setting clear expectations and maintaining open communication. You must have 100% trust and confidence in your nanny’s capabilities and values.
With more than 1,000 long-term domestic placements since 2003, a full-service agency MoniCare has achieved great success in building rewarding, long-lasting family-nanny relationships.
Upon a successful hire, we strongly recommend drafting a Family-Nanny Agreement that states all job terms, expectations, and family policies. Such written agreement will help your new nanny fully understand all your expectations and measure her performance. We provide all MoniCare clients with a ready-to-use Family-Nanny Agreement, which is also available for purchase to families seeking information.
Recommendations to consider:
1. Make a list of the nanny’s job duties. If applicable, define the frequency of the tasks (i.e. wash children’s clothes once a week, tidy playroom daily, etc.)
2. Negotiate and clearly communicate the nanny’s compensation and paid time off. What is her hourly or weekly compensation? Is it gross or net? How many weeks of paid vacation is she entitled to each year? How many paid holidays does she receive? What is your agreement regarding days when the nanny’s service is not needed during her regularly scheduled work time? Outlining detailed payment terms from the start will prevent any future discrepancies.
3. Define car usage for work purposes. How much driving is required? Will the nanny drive children in her own car or the family’s? If the nanny uses her car, will the gas expense be compensated per mileage, or as a flat rate? Also, be sure to verify safety of the children’s car seats.
4. Clarify the method of daily communication. Will it be a 15-minute verbal update at the end of the day? Or, do you prefer a “Daily Log” with a summary of the day’s meals, naps, activities, events, and incidents?
5. Allow children enough time to get used to their new caretaker. If time permits, spend the first few days at home to help your children feel comfortable. Do activities together that help the nanny bond with your children. Tell her about each child’s character, behavior patterns, moods, likes, and dislikes.
6. Make your nanny familiar with your house, including the location of essential items and your daily family routines.
7. Show your nanny around the neighborhood. Drive her to the children’s school and after-school activity locations. Introduce her to teachers, neighbors, and children’s friends.
8. Communicate your expectations about visitors. By explaining the standards and safety rules of your home, you will build trust and respect while protecting the privacy of your family.
9. Explain your family’s methods of discipline. What forms work best, and which are unacceptable? Discuss this in detail to ensure that your nanny is consistent with your parenting methods.
10. Communicate your expectations on activities with children. What do they like to do? What pursuits would you like the nanny to encourage? What is absolutely not allowed? What is your policy on TV, computers, and video games?
11. Decide who is responsible for planning the children’s activities. Will the nanny be researching, planning, and scheduling all children’s activities? Is it a collaborative effort? Or, do you prefer the nanny to follow your guidelines exclusively?
12. Discuss your family’s eating habits and food preferences. Provide clear examples of the types of meals she is expected to prepare for children, and what foods are not allowed. Be sure to communicate any allergies or special diets.
13. Explain your set distance limits. Do you want your nanny to take children only to parks and playgrounds that are within walking distance, or is she allowed driving children to further destinations? What about special outings to the museum or zoo? Tell her exactly what kinds of trips require your approval.
14. Clarify phone usage rules. Is home phone use limited to contacting parents, making appointments for children, calling the children’s school, and important personal calls? Is the nanny allowed to use her personal cell phone during work hours? If yes, what time frame are these phone calls limited to?
15. Provide your nanny with an Emergency Contact List, including each parent’s cell and work phone numbers and contact information for your closest relatives, friends, and neighbors. Indicate the first point of contact in case of an emergency. Include phone numbers for your children’s doctor, preferred hospital, ambulance, fire department, poison control, and the police.
16. It is critical that you provide your consent on the administration of medication. Does the nanny need to call a parent to get approval to use over-the-counter medication? Is the nanny expected to administer medication on a daily basis? Also, we strongly recommended signing a Medical Treatment Consent Form allowing your nanny to take your child to the hospital and giving medical personnel permission to provide medical care in case of an emergency.
17. Select the frequency of the Family Reviews. How often do you wish to sit down with your nanny to discuss children’s progress, needs, issues, or concerns? Will it be once a week for the first month and once a month thereafter?
18. Select the frequency of Job Performance Reviews. Will they be every three, six, or twelve months? It is very important to take the time to professionally evaluate your nanny’s work performance and give timely and fair salary raises.
Once all terms are agreed upon and your new nanny starts working, the best way to maintain a rewarding family-nanny relationship is to show appreciation. A welcoming greeting card, a small token, or even just a few words of thanks can go a long way toward showing your nanny that they are valued by your family.