All families are different, so naturally, every family’s child care needs are different too. Bringing a nanny into the home can be an excellent option, particularly for families whose work situations preclude them from traditional child care centres.
Nannies are professional carers who have formal training to work with children. But when families hire a Nanny, they often find themselves navigating a whole new world of unspoken rules, expectations and dynamics. For many parents, employing a Nanny to help manage their family’s needs and care can create angst and a sense of guilt.
CHARLTON BROWN® is one of the leading Nanny Agencies and Community Services trainers in the country, so we know a thing or two about what makes a great Nanny—and in another life I even spent some time working as a Nanny myself. So I’ve put together my tips for choosing the right Nanny for you, and how to maintain a healthy working relationship with yours:
DON’T worry if you feel a bit jealous.
It’s perfectly normal to feel jealous of the Nanny but once you realise that no one can replace you, it will get easier. Meanwhile, investigate ways the Nanny can help you see your child more often and stay connected with them.
DON’T worry if your child calls your Nanny “Mum”.
This is actually a great sign of your child’s bond with the Nanny. A good Nanny should respond to the situation by correcting the child, talking about when Mum is coming home and even suggesting doing a project to present to Mum when she returns.
DON’T forget the Nanny/family relationship is a professional one.
The longer a Nanny is with your family, the more they become part of the fabric of your life. While a great relationship boosts a Nanny’s self-esteem and commitment, remember they are trained professionals and many will prioritise professional respect over intimacy.
DON’T ask the Nanny to clean bathrooms.
While most Nannies will cook, clean and do laundry for the children, their duties should only be child related. There is a clear line in your home between Housekeeper and Nanny. If you want to add to your Nanny’s list of responsibilities, do it openly and directly, explaining your reasoning.
DO discuss the basics.
Address as many concrete employment issues as you can at the start of the relationship. Discuss when your Nanny can take holidays (many families offer it only when they take their own) and always have back-up options should your Nanny become sick. Also, make sure you know your Nanny’s after-work schedule in case you need them to stay late.
DON’T install a Nanny-cam.
If you are suspicious, approach your Nanny with your concerns. If you don’t get the response you’re looking for, they are probably not the right person to welcome into your family anyway. Be sure to ask your Nanny and child about their day so you can start to get a sense of their connection.
Having a professional carer join your family can be a wonderful experience – with the right approach to recruitment, employment and communication, a Nanny will be a welcome addition to your family.
Petrina Fraccaro is General Manager of CHARLTON BROWN®, one of Australia’s leading training providers and job placement agencies for the child care, aged care, community services and disability care industries. With more than 20 years of experience in Senior Marketing and Communication positions, and 15 years in the private and public tertiary and vocational education industries, Petrina drives the Operations, Sales and Marketing, Student Recruitment and Enrolments and Administration for CHARLTON BROWN®. She was a 2014 Business Person of the Year finalist in Brisbane’s Lord Mayor’s Multicultural Business Awards and holds a number of positions with boards and industry associations. www.charltonbrown.com.au