You have spent time and money recruiting a nanny to care for your children so the last thing you want is for your nanny to leave after a couple of months.
The first thing to realise, which may well seem obvious, is that your nanny is not a mind reader. Unless you tell your nanny what you want them to do and things you don’t want them ever doing, your nanny won’t know about those things. It may be obvious to you that the children never use the white towels, they always use the green towels but unless you have told your nanny that, it may not be obvious to your nanny.
A nanny once wrote the following on an internet forum:
parents always expect you to know what they are thinking preferably before they are actually thinking it!
Another nanny wrote:
to magically know for example that the Halloween decorations are supposed to be put up on October 1st without anyone telling you.
I am sure many nannies can think of examples of times when their boss has assumed that nanny knew something, when in fact the nanny had not been told about it. So as a great employer you need to keep in mind that if you think about something, that is not the same as telling your nanny about it. Your nanny should also avoid you having to read their mind by letting you know about an important outing/activity they are planning for your children, or that the last two eggs are needed as Master T wants to make cakes in the morning.
Use A Calendar
How do you currently tell your nanny about important and not important upcoming events which directly affect your children, your nanny, or you / your partner? These days we all have mobile phones which have a calendar function on them and we have access to the internet where we can create shared calendars where any authorised user can add events. Use those tools – such as Google Calendar – to keep track of important and even not so important events.
A calendar can be a useful way of reminding people about routine tasks – such as when to change the children’s bedding, the order cut off time for the shopping delivery.
The more children there are in your family, the more a calendar may have events on it which are for specific children, all the children, or a subset of the children. Some calendars will let you colour code events, so each child could be assigned a colour so at a quick glance at the upcoming week’s calendar, events for each child can be quickly identified.
Make Time To Talk
There will be times when you need to have a chat with your nanny about important things coming up which will affect their work. For example, you may be considering changing job which may result in your nanny working different hours. You may be in the early stages of making the move to change job and thus you don’t know the details at this time but still tell your nanny about it. If you give your nanny some information, you are helping to prepare them for the main event. Then when you know the new working schedule it will not come as a complete shock to your nanny.
Having a new baby can be a tricky time for you, your children and your nanny. Everyone needs to work together to make your time on maternity leave go smoothly and for the new child to bond with their siblings and also your nanny. Your nanny may be worried about their job security, with you going on maternity leave, your nanny may worry about your need to have a nanny. You may be thinking about how nice it will be to be off on maternity leave and have someone else to care for your children, keep up with the mountain of laundry. Remember that your nanny can not read your mind, so talk with your nanny, keep them informed about any up coming changes.
You do not need to plan a time and place to have a long chat with your nanny. It can sometimes be useful to have a long chat about something, it may even be a contract review or a discussion about how your nanny handled an incident which you are not happy about (or is it just that you would have done things differently?). Short chats can take place at various times, maybe at breakfast when it may be good time to remind your nanny about any up coming events that day or the following few days.
Also talk to your nanny about their life, ask them about their family and how things are going. Your nanny may not tell you much but once they know you well you may well get to hear about your nannies family members and if you have kept an open line of communication between you, should a family member of theirs fall seriously ill, you may know about that sooner than when the nanny says that they have to go and see their family member as they may not survive the week.
Communication is key. Find methods of communication that work for you and your nanny. Use technology to assist – internet based shared calendars which can have repeating events and which can be viewed using mobile devices can be a great help in every family member knowing about key events that are coming up.