The nanny/employer relationship is one of the most difficult relationships to manage. The professional and personal boundaries often blur and emotions often run high. The intimate nature of working in a private household presents its own unique set of challenges. While the common goal of doing what’s best for the children most always prevails, differing viewpoints on how to achieve that goal can cause underlying tension in the relationship.
But even with different viewpoints that exist in such a unique relationship, it doesn’t mean that nannies and employers can’t have a healthy relationship. It simply means that achieving a relationship takes a little extra work.
By Michelle LaRowe
If you’re looking to improve your nanny/employer relationship or start off one on the right foot, keep these 5 tips in mind:
1. Be Respectful. The more respect you have for each other, the better your working relationship will be. Being respectful to each other goes beyond being kind and courteous. You can demonstrate respect by honoring your work agreement (for example, this means nannies should arrive to work on time & for employers, return home from work on time), keeping your word (agreeing to switch hours or increase pay) and supporting each other in the task of child rearing (enforcing the same rules or backing up the disciplinarian), especially when in front of the children.
2. Be flexible, when possible. Most nannies and employers work during regular business hours. This leaves little time for either to attend to their own personal business. Making concessions for doctor’s appointments and other critical matters can help both nannies and employers feel supported in taking care of themselves and their personal business.
3. Show appreciation. Appreciation is an action word. Showing appreciation doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Bring flowers, leave a nice note, bake a favorite goodie and communicate the value the other person brings to table. Showing occasional unexpected expressions of appreciation can really make someone feel valued.
4. Give incentive. Does your nanny always compliment your new hair cut? Send her to your stylist for a cut. Would she enjoy working out at the gym? Consider adding her to your membership. Do you sense your employer needs some time to herself? Send her out for a coffee break and offer to stay an extra hour. Meeting a tangible need or desire speaks volumes and can help keep the relationship healthy.
5. Be committed. If you’ve invested in finding the right nanny for your family, chances are you want to keep her and she wants to say in your employ. Like every relationship, the nanny/employer relationship will have high and low points. Knowing that you are both committed to maintaining the relationship will soften any bumps that are encountered.
The nanny/employer relationship can be a very rewarding one. It takes a little time, thoughtfulness, and energy to cultivate, but in the end you’ll be glad you put in the effort.
How do you keep your relationship healthy? What are your best tips for having a great nanny/employer relationship? Share them in the comments below.