5 Things Nannies and Employers Should Discuss Before They Happen

Posted on by admin | in Become A Nanny

While the day to day life of working as a nanny can be largely unpredictable given the nature of the children in her care, there are some things that occur on the job that are fairly predictable, yet often not planned for or discussed.

Knowing in advance how an employer would like you to act or respond in certain situations, or how your employer will act or respond regarding specific situations or circumstances, can ensure that both the nanny and parents have a clear understanding of different expectations.

Here are 5 common things that come up in a nanny and employer working relationship where discussion is often overlooked until it’s too late.

  1. Calling In Sick – Nanny employers depend on their nannies to show up so that they can attend to their personal and professional commitments. While everyone gets sick and calls into work at one time or another, each nanny employer may have a preferred way that their nanny handles the task of calling in sick. Some employers may prefer a call as soon as the nanny realizes that she won’t be in, regardless of how early in the morning that is, while others prefer a phone call by a certain predetermined time.  When it comes to being sick, some employers don’t want their nanny around the children at the slightest hint of a cold, while others prefer the nanny work unless she truly is too sick to do so. Working out how to handle an illness before it happens can help prevent chaos when the nanny comes down with a bug.
  2. Taking a Personal Day – Whether it’s having to take a pet to the veterinarian, accompany a parent to the emergency room of the hospital, or stay home to let the  plumber in to fix a leaking water pipe, nannies are mothers, daughters, friends and homeowners too, and as such, emergencies in their lives will come up. Having an action plan in place for when the nanny must take an unscheduled day off without notice can help minimize the disruption to the family’s day. How to handle the task of notifying the parents that a personal day is needed and discussing if personal days are paid or unpaid days off can help to ease anxiety should personal time off be required.
  3. Running Personal Errands – Nannies typically work during business hours and, as such, don’t have the option of going to a government office, medical or professional appointment during the week without securing time off from work. Instead of having their nanny take time off, many employers prefer the nanny to take the children with her to these types of appointments or errands. However, it’s important to remember that each employer will feel differently about their nanny taking the children on errands and to appointments, so a nanny shouldn’t just assume that taking the children with her is OK. Discussing this topic prior to having to actually address a specific instance can lay the groundwork for how the nanny should approach her personal errands that must be handled during the week.
  4. Death – Whether it’s the death of the beloved gold fish, family pet or a family member of the nanny or the parents, discussing how the nanny should answer questions the children may ask about death and dying should happen prior to any death occurring. Children ask pointed questions and aren’t always willing to wait until their parents get home for an answer. The nanny telling the children that they need to ask mom or dad when they get home often makes the children more determined to get an answer from her.  If the nanny knows the language parents want used and any spiritual concepts they’d like her to enforce, she can be prepared to answer the tough questions children will ask in alignment with the parents beliefs and wishes.
  5. Fake Folks – From Santa Claus to the Tooth Fairy, each family approaches these cultural icons a bit differently. Before your child loses his firth tooth, for example, you’ll want to discuss the role the Tooth Fairy plays in your house with your nanny. The last thing you want your nanny to do is to tell your child the Tooth Fairy isn’t real if you’ve just spent two weeks convincing him she is. Discussing the cultural, spiritual and traditional roles any faux friends have in the life of your family with your nanny is essential if you’d like her to reinforce your beliefs and practices with the children. 

While nannies and their employers can’t possibly hash out how to respond to every situation that they’ll encounter, there are definitely a few that they’ll want to be sure to communicate about.  When both the parents and the nanny are on the same page, the nanny is better able to do her job well and ensure that the parents’ desires and wishes are being followed to the letter.

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