Originally posted here.
It’s been a year of laughing fits, time-out tears, scraped knees, finger painting, swim lessons, dance classes, snack times, play dates, and too many adventures to count with your charge. But suddenly it is time for your review, a time to talk about your performance and the parent’s expectations of you; a dreaded time for some. Reviews do not have to be terrifying. To the contrary, reviews can be an excellent time for you to further your nannying career.
Review time is a great time to sit down and speak in a non-confrontational way about your performance and the future role you will play in the family. However, during your talk about your performance, pressing concerns, and stories about the children, there are some other topics you need to make a point to discuss in order to assure yourself a successful work environment.
1. Contract Renewal and Revision
The first point of discussion should be the renewal of your contract. Once established that both sides want to renew the contract, it is time to consider the length of the contract period. The best case scenario is that you and the family have a similar expectation regarding time frame, however a disagreement on need of service can lead to more complex discussions. It’s important to meet the needs of the family without hindering your own long-term goals. If you are a current student, a common example of this involves the differences in school years for college versus K-12. A family may want your contract to extend into September while your own career development begins in late August. Finding a balance that suits both parties is essential to a good working relationship.
Once you know that both parties want to continue the relationship, you can commence talking about many other topics that will influence the final draft of the contract. Make sure to have a pen and paper in hand to take note. Alternatively, you might want to print out a sample contract.
2. Changes in the Family
Ask the parents about any major changes they foresee happening in the near future. Major changes could include a child going to school, a new baby, a move, or maybe a parent working from home. Of course, some changes are not foreseeable so far in advance, but if the parents do have an idea this would be the time to speak about them.
Also, be sure to discuss little changes that might occur. Sometimes, it is the smaller changes that affect you and the children’s daily schedule the most. Changes like an after school activity, a new naptime, or a later bedtime are items you need to know.
3. Changes for you Role and Responsibility
After speaking with the parents about changes that could happen, it is time to ask about what may change in your role and responsibility in the household.
“I wish I had asked if the youngest child starting preschool would mean I was still needed in all mornings. I ended up having my hours cut to two mornings a week.” Kylie J., Nanny.
It is important to speak about your responsibilities regarding childcare, and other tasks. Discuss what will be required of you, because the needs of a family are constantly changing. Talking about your part and expectations with the family, whether new or continuing, keeps everyone on the same page and the expectations of your role clear.
4. Do Differently
“One thing I would have loved to have my nanny to ask me is if there was anything she could do differently. It’s not that she was doing anything wrong, there was just a few things I would have liked done in a different way and I always had a hard time bringing them up without feeling I was being confrontational” – Leah B., Mother of Two.
Just because you have been doing something the exact same way since you started with the family does not mean the parents are in 100% agreement. As mentioned above, it might not be that you are doing something wrong; the parents just have a preferred way. You are now opening the lines to allow the parents to let you know the little tips they forgot to mention months ago. Additionally, family dynamics may have changed and what has been the pattern may not be appropriate going forward. For example, the parent may want to change naptime schedules to fit their new schedule. Whatever the reason, do not take these discussions personally. Simply accept it and make a note to make the adjustment.
5. Developmental Concerns
The kids are older and at different stages from where they were just a year ago. Remembering every child reaches milestones at their own pace, this is the time to bring up what you think the children excel in or where improvements may need to occur. Given your proximity and exposure to your charges, you may notice small things parents do not.
This would also be the time to bring up any major concerns you or the parents see with the children. Working as a team, discuss any glaring concerns such as a learning disabilities or a behavioral roadblocks. Remember to focus on not only the message but the presentation as well. No parent wants to feel out of tune with his or her children but it is important to communicate with the parents.
6. Salary Raise
Lastly is the question that is usually in the back of every nanny’s mind: “Will I get a raise?”
After talking about all of the above, and keeping in mind the revisions to your contract, it is time to speak about changes in compensation. It can be unnerving for nannies to ask, but if you had a good review and if your responsibilities are increasing, it is time to speak calmly about an increase in pay. Your employers and you may have different ideas of how much the raise will be, so have a number in mind but be ready to compromise. Before you have these negotiations you should do your research to ensure that your reservation price and target price are in line with experience and responsibilities. Know your statistics so that during this discussion you can point to them and demonstrate what fair pay may mean for your experience and responsibility level. You may want to start the discussion by letting them know your targeting wage, which will have an anchoring effect. During your negotiation you should also know your walkaway price. If the parents are not amenable to a wage increase, or cannot afford to pay you more on a weekly basis, consider other methods to effectively increase your per hour wage. You can ask for more time off, vacation days, or sick days. Dollar pay is just one way to measure compensation.
At the end of your review, draw up a new contract with your employers that includes all the discussed changes. Now you can begin another great year with your Nanny Family knowing that both of your needs are met, allowing you to chase after yet another adventure with your charge care-free!