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Understanding Your Nanny’s Annual Performance Review

Understanding Your Nanny’s Annual Performance Review

When you hire a nanny, you’re not just their employer; you’re also effectively the human resource department for your household. Just as traditional employers do, you should prepare for your nanny’s annual performance review, which should be held at the one-year mark of their employment and every year thereafter.

The purpose of the review is twofold. First, there is the performance evaluation, where you review your nanny’s job skills and talk about whether your expectations were met. Second, there’s a wage review, where you will set the compensation level for the coming year. It may sound like a lot, but we’ll explain everything you need to know to help the review process go smoothly.

The performance review

The performance aspect of the review gives you the chance to evaluate your nanny’s work. Think of it as a conversation where you get to praise your nanny for what is being done well, and inform them of potential areas where you would like to see improvement. As it is a conversation, your nanny should also have an opportunity to voice any concerns and offer suggestions.

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Here are some areas to consider:

  • General Performance Issues: This is where you can talk about your nanny’s general performance and go over topics such as attendance, tardiness, cleanliness, and safety.
  • Initiative: If you expect your nanny to show initiative (this may not be important to some), talk about whether they are being appropriately proactive. This can apply to researching things like play dates, outings, or children’s parties. The main focus should be whether your nanny has met your expectations in the area of initiative, and if not, what can be done to improve.
  • Job Responsibilities: There are two aspects to this subject. First, discuss whether your nanny has met responsibilities during the last year. Then talk about any new responsibilities that will come with your child’s developmental changes in the coming year. This may involve things like potty training, bottle weaning, and anything else you might anticipate.
  • Discipline: Are you and your nanny on the same page regarding discipline style? This is an important topic and one to explore in-depth. Your nanny needs to understand your expectations when it comes to disciplining your child, and be aware of anticipated issues that may arise during the next year. For example, if your child is inclined to throw tantrums, your nanny should know how you would like this behavior to be handled.
  • Communication: This is the time to assess whether your communication system is working. You may prefer to keep an electronic record of things like feeding and nap times, while others may use a written list or a daily conversation. There’s no right or wrong way, provided it facilitates good communication.
  • Life Changes: Family life is always changing. Whether you’re anticipating the arrival of a new baby, planning on moving to a larger house, looking forward to getting a pet, or sending your child off to preschool for part of the day, changes in your life and your routine are a given. Go over expected changes with your nanny so you can both prepare and make plans.
  • Developmental Issues: Your nanny spends a lot of time with your child. Let your nanny know you value observations and opinions, and encourage them to talk to you if they have any concerns about your child’s behavior. Compare notes and have your child evaluated if necessary.

Salary increases: What you need to know

Along with the performance review, the annual review is also the time to set a salary for the coming year. Discussing a raise and any other change in compensation will be part of their contract renewal.

Coming up with the right salary increase may seem overwhelming, but the task is more manageable when broken down into two factors: the merit increase and the cost of living increase.

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Merit increases

The merit increase is based on your evaluation of your nanny’s performance since the last evaluation, or since employment started. The common amount of the merit increase is between 0% and 5% of the nanny’s base salary. Zero is reserved for a nanny who only provides the bare minimum (in which case it may be time to consider whether you want to keep this nanny on), while 5% is reserved for the nanny who regularly surpasses your expectations, performing tasks not included in the job description.

Other considerations as to whether your nanny deserves a larger raise include changed circumstances such as a new child added to the family, or any other situations that require your nanny to regularly go above and beyond the call of duty. This increase should be in addition to the raise mentioned above.

Cost of living increases

Along with the merit increase comes another pay raise: the cost of living increase. This raise, which is typically 2% of the nanny’s annual salary, covers inflation as well as the increase in nannies’ salaries in your area.

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Delivering the evaluation

Now that you know which factors to include in your evaluation, we’ll explain how to do it. If you follow these helpful tips, it will go a long way toward making your performance evaluation a success.

Planning the evaluation

Plan to meet with your nanny privately. Once you’ve established the date and time of the meeting, let your nanny know a few days in advance. Give your nanny a copy of a self-evaluation form and ask for it to be returned completed a day before the meeting. Prior to the meeting, review both your own written evaluation and your nanny’s self-evaluation.

Plan your discussion in advance. Topics should include:

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  • The fundamental duties spelled out on the performance evaluation
  • Performance goals and standards
  • Recognizing strengths and accomplishments
  • Determining how to improve areas needing improvement
  • Finding areas where new skills may be needed, determining a strategy for developing them (education, training, etc.), and discussing how the nanny can accomplish these goals (and how you will help).

During the evaluation

Finally, here’s how to put it all together during the evaluation:

  • When you meet, review the self-evaluation. Talk about areas of agreement and any differences of opinion.
  • Discuss your performance evaluation, starting with the nanny’s strengths.
  • Review areas that need improvement. Ask how performance can be improved and give any suggestions you might have.
  • Show genuine interest in your nanny’s progress.
  • Close the evaluation when all topics have been covered and the nanny has given their feedback.
  • Ask your nanny to sign the evaluation form.

Moving forward

If you follow our suggestions, chances are you’ll have everything in place to create a harmonious work situation for your nanny. In the end, communication is the most important component to creating a good relationship and keeping your household running smoothly.

Featured photo credit: gpointstudio via shutterstock.com

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Kathleen Webb

Co-Founder, HomeWork Solutions

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Published on May 21, 2021

Bedtimes For Kids At Different Ages (Your Go-To Guide)

Bedtimes For Kids At Different Ages (Your Go-To Guide)

Bedtimes for kids might be one of the most challenging parts of the day. Parents are tired and ready to relax, while kids of all ages seem to find extra energy and want nothing to do with sleep. One more story, one more trip to the bathroom, and one more question quickly make for a late-night, and no one gets the rest they need.

If this happens often, you might start wondering if you and your child are getting the proper amount of sleep and how to make bedtime easier. Why is it so crucial for your child to get enough sleep? What does sleep deprivation look like? How do you improve bedtimes for kids?

How Sleep Impacts Your Child’s Health

Whether young or old, sleep is a vital part of staying healthy. There are many benefits to getting the right amount of sleep while not getting enough can have negative consequences. How does it impact your child?[1]

  • Brain Function – Sleep is linked to certain brain functions such as concentration, productivity, and cognition. These all impact a child’s behavior and academic success.
  • Weight – Sleep patterns affect the hormones responsible for appetite. A lack of sleep interferes with the ability to regulate food intake, making overeating more likely.
  • Physical Performance – Sleep impacts a person’s physical abilities. Proper rest means better performance, concentration, energy, mental clarity, and faster speed.
  • Physical Health – There are many ways sleep promotes health. Sleep heals the body but also helps prevent disease and health issues. Getting proper rest will regulate blood pressure, help prevent heart disease, reduce chances of sleep apnea, reduce inflammation, boost immune system, and lower risk of weight gain.
  • Improve Mental Health – A lack of sleep has a negative impact on mood and social and emotional intelligence. A child not getting proper sleep is more likely to experience depression, lack empathy and be unaware of other people’s emotions and reactions.

Sleep, Risky Behavior, and Teens

Studies found that teens were more likely to engage in risky behavior when they are sleep-deprived. They’ll have problems regulating their mood, making them more short-tempered, aggressive, and impulsive. Their inability to self-regulate can even look like the symptoms of ADHD.[2]

Sleep deprivation becomes hazardous when teens are driving. The impulsiveness and risk-taking, along with exhaustion, put them at a higher risk for accidents. In fact, driving tired is comparable to driving with a blood alcohol content of .08.[3]

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You can see why sleep is so essential to everyone’s health, but how much is needed? What do pediatricians recommend? Is it the same for all ages?

Sleep Recommendations From Pediatricians

Sleep requirements vary by age. It won’t be the same for every individual. Some people find that they need more sleep than others.

Here is a basic guideline of what pediatricians now recommend:[4]

  • Ages 4-12 months: 12-16 hours (including naps)
  • Ages 1-2 years: 11-14 hours (including naps)
  • Ages 3-5 years: 10-13 hours (including naps)
  • Age 6-12 years: 9-12 hours
  • Age 13-18 years: 8-10 hours

Increase the amount of sleep if your child isn’t thriving on the recommended amount.

Signs Your Child Isn’t Getting Enough Sleep

There are ways to tell if your child is getting adequate sleep beyond the usual grumpiness. Here are specific things to watch out for:[5]

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  • Excessive sleepiness during the day
  • Difficulty waking up on time
  • Hyperactivity
  • Depression
  • Inattention
  • Mood swings
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Irritability
  • Impatience
  • Impulse control

As you can see, prolonged lack of sleep can cause relational problems and hinder your child’s ability to do well in school. What can you do if you realize your child is not getting enough sleep? How can you improve bedtimes for your kids?

How to Set Up a Bedtime Routine

Sleep hygiene or a bedtime schedule will help your child fall asleep faster. It will also improve the quality of sleep. You will need to adjust to what works for your family, but the following suggestions can help everyone have a more pleasant bedtime.

For Babies

Most people think they have to let their baby “cry it out” at bedtime. However, there are ways you can teach a baby to sleep without tears, making the experience more pleasant for everyone. In fact, studies show the faded bedtime method—or gentle sleep training—is just as effective as leaving a baby to cry but without the stress.[6] What is gentle sleep training?

Gentle Sleep Training

This method eases babies and young children into falling asleep on their own. There are two ways to do this:

1. Positive Routines With Faded Bedtime

Kids learn to fall asleep easily by using comforting, quiet, and predictable rituals, up to twenty minutes long. The key is to choose a bedtime that’s not too early. A child that isn’t tired will only fight sleep.

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Start the process when your baby or child is sleepy, even if it’s later than you’d prefer. You’ll notice a pattern and quickly discover the time they naturally start winding down. Make this their bedtime for now. They will learn to associate sleep with the routine, and you’ll be able to start fifteen to twenty minutes earlier to slowly adjust their schedule.

2. Sleep With Parental Presence

With this method, you lie down with your baby or child until they fall asleep. Over time, you pay less attention to your child, gradually sitting up, then sitting in a chair. Eventually, your child will be able to sleep without you. A study showed that using this method helped infants sleep longer and wake up less.[7]

Both of these ways take time but are effective and less traumatic than leaving an infant or young child to cry.

More Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep Better

You want to build a routine, but how? What are practical things you can do to help your baby get ready for bed?

Here are tips for a soothing and calm bedtime:[8]

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  • Help set their “internal clock” by exposing them to natural daylight, daytime activities, and the calmness of evening.
  • Block blue light exposure.
  • Make the hour up to bedtime calm, peaceful, and pleasant.
  • Learn how to keep stress minimal for you and your baby.
  • Don’t force sleep. It will increase anxiety and make rest more difficult.
  • Avoid late afternoon naps
  • Prolong the time between nap and bedtime.
  • Feed baby right before bed.
  • Avoid intervening too soon if the baby starts to wake up. Give your child a chance to fall back asleep without your help.

For Elementary-Aged Children

It’s easier to follow a routine if you start young, but it’s never too late to begin. The good news is it only takes a few nights to notice an improvement in your child’s sleep.

These ideas will help you set up a schedule that will encourage your child to fall asleep easier, faster, and for a more extended period.[9]

  • Offer them a nutritious snack.
  • Bathe them.
  • Brush their teeth and go to the bathroom.
  • Read them a story.
  • Sing them a song.
  • Cuddle or massage them.
  • Talk about the day.

For best results, choose a handful of activities and do them in the same order each night. Dim the lights and keep activity minimal to help everyone slow down.

For Teens

They might fight the idea of getting more sleep, but teens will benefit from a routine, too. They’re usually capable of overseeing their bedtime, but a little structure and oversight can help them get the sleep they need. By implementing the following tips, your teen can get better rest.[10]

  • Avoid caffeine in the evening.
  • Limit screen time.
  • Avoid late-night binging.
  • Exercise, ideally sixty minutes a day.
  • Keep the bedroom dark, cool, and quiet.
  • Talk through problems.

Quality Sleep for a Healthy Life

Bedtimes for kids can be an enjoyable part of the day with proper sleep hygiene in place. Not only can it be quality time with your child, but it can also set them on the road to good health and high performance. By implementing these tips, you can ensure proper rest for the whole family and better bedtimes for kids.

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Featured photo credit: Igordoon Primus via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Medical News Today: Why Sleep Is Essential For Health
[2] Child Mind Institute: Teens And Sleep: The Cost Of Sleep Deprivation
[3] Depart of Health: Drowsy Driving Prevention, Teens Ages 16 To 19
[4] AAP publications: AAP Endorses New Recommendations On Sleep Times
[5] Journal of Excellence in Nursing Leadership: Sleep Deprivation In Children A Growing Public Health Concern
[6] Parenting Science: Gentle Infant Sleep Training
[7] BetterHealth: Solutions to sleep concerns (11) – babies 6 to 12 months
[8] Parenting Science: 15 Evidence-Based Baby Sleep Tips
[9] Sleep Foundation: Bedtime Routines For Children
[10] NHS: Sleep Tips For Teenagers

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