1. Not asking enough questions. You should be open and very clear on your family’s expectation of the nanny prior to hiring (i.e. preparing food, cleaning, and transportation). This will eliminate future conflicts and frustration that may occur after the nanny has already been hired.
Lesson: Be honest and open with your nanny from the very beginning.
2. Having unfair expectations. Nannies want stability and clear expectations from the day they begin working with your family. By adding more work and responsibilities that were not discussed when your nanny was hired, will likely result in upsetting your nanny and possibly losing her. Your nanny was hired for the purpose of taking care of your children. This is not fair and often nannies may be afraid to voice their concerns about having added responsibilities.
Lesson: If your family has more expectations beyond childcare, it is incredibly important that you are open about your expectations when you interview your potential nanny. You should always set clear expectations from the beginning.
3. Not allowing your nanny time to take a break. As in any job, we all need time for a break in order to relax and recharge. Your nanny will likely find little time while caring for your children to do this, so those moments when she is able to relax are precious. It is important to discuss with your nanny time allowed for breaks.
Lesson: Everyone, including nannies, should be given time for a break, not only will this benefit your children, but will make a much happier nanny.
4. Having conflicting disciplinary philosophies. Always talk about your family’s disciplinary philosophies, methods, and beliefs prior to hiring a nanny. You should be forthcoming and open about how your family praises, rewards, and/or discipline your children. This topic will often not be openly discussed in the interviewing process, which will ultimately lead to future conflict between nanny and family.
Lesson: While interviewing one another (nanny/family), make it a point to discuss one another’s parental/care-giving philosophies. This will become essential to a great relationship amongst everyone and the child will have consistency within both parties.
5. Pay and Time-off: Discuss all pay and time-off prior to hiring a nanny. Set strict guidelines with pay structure (i.e. time-off, sick days, holidays, and over-time). It’s best for both parties to be fully aware of the pay structure ahead of time. You never want to get into a position when one party feels confused or cheated.
Lesson: It’s very important that the family and nanny discuss all details about time-off and how that will be compensated. Consider drawing up a contract so that both parties have a clear understanding of the terms.
These are five very common and easily preventable mistakes made by families and their nannies. Use these five points of advice to save yourself future headaches trying to solve these conflicts after you’ve already hired your nanny.