Expanding your family?
Time to celebrate! You’ve decided to hire a nanny to join your family.
This decision needs careful thought and a bit of flexibility. The relationship a nanny and their employer have could last years, influence your family dynamics and be a welcome support for the parenting efforts and teaching that you already have in place.
The person you choose will have to share your values. Have you given thought to the importance of what you care most to model for your children?
For example: Are age appropriate responsibilities, caring for others and a focus on healthy living some of your most important parenting sticking points? What is your discipline philosophy and why? Is it important that your children spend time in and appreciate the outdoors?
My work with families includes some amazing long lasting relationships as well as working for a royal family who culturally had a disconnect and a family dealing with serial marital separations, much to my surprise!
Looking at family dynamics in order to offer an honest picture of the household environment is of the utmost importance. There are always areas needing support. Identifying those areas, discussing and planning a strategy around them is part of the collaboration. You’re adding a member of the family. They will be immersed in your reality.
So, you’ve identified your priorities and decided how to describe the family dynamics, within reason. Now, what do you expect from your nanny in regard to household tasks and childcare? Laundry, cooking, transporting children and planning activities are tasks to be delegated . How much of your nanny’s schedule shall be allocated to each area of responsibility? How flexible are you with how these tasks are conducted?
Some families are particular about the way clothes are washed. Some are particular about the way children eat. Certain foods prepared in just one way. Bottles handled using a distinct procedure and limits put on where and when food is offered. All of these things need to be communicated. The match of temperament of a family and nanny can only happen when communication is complete from the start.
Examine your own way of being. I have worked with parents who said they were easy going and then became upset when food spots appeared on sleeves and natural toddler bumps were cause for angst. Another parent said they wanted someone who would take initiative yet second guessed the few decisions made independently. The Royal family was in need of more of a servant role for their family. A child development specialist wasn’t fulfilling their needs. These differences in many cases can be managed through communication and prioritizing those values and cultural norms that are most important. Some flexibility and areas of possible change can be identified and respect, trust and collaboration can grow!
The homework you do before you interview your nanny candidate is time well spent. Make a list of the identified focal points, ask open ended questions using scenarios that a candidate can respond to and be honest about any challenges you anticipate for the transition. Be sure to talk to past employers. Are you comfortable with why the nanny left their past job? An honest family mismatch after a brief period of time might show an emotional maturity and confidence that is preferable to a person who may endure an unhappy situation and negatively affect your family harmony over time.
Good luck with your search. The process is ongoing, supportive of your efforts and can be a real “win-win” for you and your children!
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