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Hone in on Your Needs- Communicating What’s Important to Your Nanny

Is your parenting style the same as your neighbors? What about household rules? Are those different? Maybe you wear shoes in your home, but your neighbors don’t. Or their children can eat snacks in their bedroom but you’re against it. Would you be able to walk into your neighbor’s home and parent their children the same way they do? Probably not, unless you’re a nanny.

An experienced nanny has this skill mastered. They can walk into any home, assess the situation, and handle it appropriately while providing excellent care. A great nanny will ask all the right questions and have experience working in several different environments. With that said, not all nannies know how to do this. It doesn’t make them a bad nanny, but it does mean you as the parent, need to hone in on your needs.

Have you ever considered what you want from your nanny? What are your expectations or wish list items? Most importantly, have you communicated them? More than likely, it’s safe to assume they are making educated guesses based off their previous experiences. To avoid the guessing game, hone in and help your nanny understand exactly what it is you want.

After doing this for nearly a decade, I have gathered the most popular, or most un-thought of topics. While reading, it’s important to keep in mind- there is a family out there, that feels contrary to the way you feel. You might think some of these suggestions are common sense, or assume all families feel the way you feel, but I can promise you that is not the case.

Parenting style & the family unit.

  • Do you have a specific parenting style?
  • Is your style flexible, go-with-the-flow-like or firmer, and structured?
  • Do you prefer a nanny who is loving and nurturing or alternatively a nanny who leans towards being professional, clock-in, clock-out type?
  • Are there any personality traits you look for or are against?
  • Fur-babies in the home? Expectations regarding pets?
  • Does the nanny need to be aware of any specific morals or values, or important info the family fosters?

Meals/snacks/feeding

  • Are there any allergies or dietary restrictions a nanny should be aware of?
  • What are appropriate snacks and meals?
  • Are sweets or junk food allowed at any time? For example: does your 2-year-old earn an M&M for going potty or a sticker?
  • Does your family enforce specific eating and snacking times, or is grazing allowed throughout the day?
  • What does an expected feeding or eating schedule look like? Is there a specific amount, especially for infants?
  • Is mom breastfeeding? Are there ways the nanny can support mom or specifics to know about preparing breastmilk? (To learn more about educating your caregiver, click here to read about The Mama’hood and Kiddie Up’s Infant Feeding Certification.)

Communication

  • Do you prefer regular updates or prefer to be contacted only if necessary?
  • What is your preferred form of communication? Text? Email? Call?
  • Do you want pictures of your littles during the day? How about a daily journal or nanny log?  Are there any other ways the nanny can make sure you feel included and connected?
  • In the event an accident occurs, Johnny trips and scrapes his knee, would you like the nanny to call you right away or should they wait until your return?

Schedule/routine

  • Is your child on a schedule? Do they thrive with such or is a schedule not as important to you? Maybe you follow your child’s cues and expect a nanny to as well.
  • If you do have a routine, what does the day entail? List a daily routine which includes meals/snacks/feedings, naps, usual activities, etc.

Discipline

  • How do you discipline your child? Think of a recent instance where discipline was needed. How would you prefer the nanny handle a similar situation?
  • What is acceptable or unacceptable behavior in your home?

Household rules

  • Do you allow screen time? Most kids 5 years and older will at some point try to convince their nanny they can watch hours of tv.
  • Should the nanny answer the door if the doorbell rings? Are family members, friends or guests permitted? Is there anyone the nanny should expect to drop by?
  • What are some household expectations? For example, the Smith family expects to return to the home in the same condition they left it, if not better. The Jones family wants a nanny to focus on the children at all times. If things are cleaned up, it concerns them that the nanny wasn’t attentive enough.
  • Are the children prohibited from a certain part of the home (i.e., parent’s room, Mom’s top desk drawer where her chocolate stash is hidden)?

Sick policy

  • What does “sick” mean to you?
  • If your children are sick, do you need the nanny to provide care?
  • In the event the nanny is sick, when do you prefer the nanny comes in or stays home?

This information is not intended to overwhelm your nanny, or make you feel a qualified nanny isn’t properly prepared. Instead, you want to leave knowing your nanny is equipped and informed. Hone in on your needs; I can promise, you will feel more prepared to leave your little and even better, your nanny has the opportunity to fully meet your needs.

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