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Tips for Creating a Successful Environment With a Nanny

02/27/2014 12:37 pm ET | Updated Apr 29, 2014
  • Dr. Gail Gross Human Behavior, Parenting, and Education Expert, Speaker, Author. Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed.
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Congratulations! You've hired a wonderful nanny to care for your child. Bringing someone into your home to care for your child can be a challenging task for many, one that is wrought with emotions and conflict. After all, you are opening up not just your home, but also your lives to a stranger, and you are entrusting this person to essentially be YOU in your absence.

As a parent, there are some steps you can take in order to create a successful environment in which you, the nanny and your child can feel comfortable and secure. Here are some tips to help create a smooth transition and successful environment for everyone:

1. Create a contract that includes a comprehensive agreement of services. This contract should clearly outline what the nanny is expected to do, specifically, on a daily basis. It should also include issues such as schedule, tardiness, goal-setting, annual raises, one-on-one meetings and required employment termination notice. This will help alleviate any confusion and set up clear expectations from the very beginning.

2. Do try to create a warm, welcoming work environment for your nanny. Consider your nanny's preferences, such as dietary likes, dislikes and allergies -- after all, this person is working in your house and, in many cases, living there. You want your nanny to feel comfortable working and caring for your child in your home.

3. Do not attempt to compete with your nanny or be jealous of her/him. If children bond with their nanny, as they usually do, there can be moments where they accidentally call her "mommy" or him "daddy" instead of by her/his name. Know that this occasional slip is natural, and does not mean that your child loves you any less.

4. Be careful not to blur the lines of your professional relationship. It is important to value your nanny, but also remember that she/he is an employee. Therefore, your nanny should always be treated professionally, with respect and affection. If your nanny becomes your confidant, those professional lines can blur and it can become difficult to maintain a working relationship.

5. Set weekly one-on-one meetings. This weekly evaluation is important to both you and the nanny. Use this time to let your child's nanny know how she/he is doing and she/he can give you feedback as well. Setting regular meetings helps further establish trust between you two, creates a safe space in which to emote and ensures expectations are being met on both sides.

Remember: your nanny is not you, and he/she will never truly take the place of a parent. Feel comfortable in your decision, and be sure to show respect and kindness toward your nanny in front of your children; they will, after all, model your behavior and treat the nanny as you do. By taking the simple steps listed above, you can help create a nurturing environment for your child in your absence, and build a successful relationship between you and your child's nanny.

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