The business of morning and evening transitions often make it difficult for nannies and employers to have daily meaningful communication about work related issues. But if by the nature of the job, nannies and parents spend the most time together during these busy transition times, how can they effectively communicate important information, share successes and struggles and discuss topics that need to be addressed?
By using some of these effective strategies.
1. Set aside a time to talk, sans kids.
One of the most effective ways to keep the lines of communication open is to have regularly scheduled meetings. Monthly meetings provide a time to catch-up, discuss any job related issues and address any concerns regarding scheduling, child development or behavior. These times are crucial for ironing out issues and getting everyone on the same page. Some employers will invite the nanny back for dinner after the children have gone to bed, while others will arrange to come home during the children’s nap to meet with the nanny. Still others will hire a babysitter or have one parent care for the children while the nanny and the other parent go to a neutral location, like a coffee shop or restaurant, to meet.
2. Use a journal or log book.
A journal is the perfect place to jot notes, leave questions or write reminders. Journals can provide an effective way to answer day to day questions or address simple issues or concerns. Nanny Sarah once suggested having the family and the nanny use a red pen when something needed to be addressed so it would stand out. Journals are great for logging medications, noting changes in behavior or health and tracking the children’s daily schedules and routines.
3. Utilize email or text-messaging.
Savvy nannies and parents often use email or text-messaging to communicate important things that come up during the day. Perhaps the nanny can’t find the child’s prized pooch or used the last of the diapers. Email or text-messaging gets the message delivered and allows the recipient to respond as soon as they’re able.
4. Set up a daily check-in call.
One nanny and family had a daily check-in phone call set for 1 o’clock every day. This lasted 7 years! Like clockwork, as soon as the children went down for a nap, the nanny would phone the mom at work, who purposely took her lunch break at this time. For this family and nanny it was an effective way to communicate, fill each other in on the day’s events and build their relationship.
6. Incorporate talk time into transitions.
Allowing a few extra minutes to chat before the parent or nanny has to walk out the door can provide important time to discuss pressing issues. While those moments wouldn’t be appropriate for discussing issues regarding the nannies performance or child development concerns, they’re perfect for filling each other in on how the day or evening went and preparing each other for what to expect.
Regardless of what strategy is used for communication, nannies and nanny employers must be open and honest with each other and strive to have good, consistent communication.