- If you’ve taken the time and done the work involved in locating and hiring a nanny, it’s in your best interest to ensure that your nanny is happy and wants to stay. If your nanny is feeling burned out from the rigors of the job, she may decide to quit, or you may notice her performance suffering and have to release her.
Either way, it’s a losing proposition for everyone concerned. The nanny has to find a new job, you have to find a new nanny, and your children aren’t getting the optimal care.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep your nanny happy on the job and minimize the possibility she’ll leave. We’ll explain the signs to watch out for and offer some helpful tips.
Signs Your Nanny May Be Burning Out:
While everyone has an occasional bad day, if you notice your nanny regularly exhibiting the following behaviors, it may be a warning sign she’s feeling overwhelmed by her job.
Changes in Behavior
Sudden changes in behavior may be a sign your nanny is burning out. Things to watch for include irritability and impatience. If you notice these changes in your nanny’s conduct, ask your spouse or friends if they think she seems distracted, or if they notice she doesn’t seem to be paying attention when she’s with your child.
If your nanny was once a bundle of energy while taking the kids back and forth to school and running errands, but now she’s tired all the time, or seemingly disinterested, she may be burned out.
Your nanny was doing a great job, but now your child seems unhappy or upset when spending time with her, this could be a sign something is wrong.
If your once-responsible and reliable nanny is suddenly tardy, starts calling in sick, misses appointments, or is no longer available to work occasional extra hours, she may be near the end of her rope, as far as the job is concerned.
The nature of a nanny’s job attracts people who like to help others. Because this is a nanny’s predisposition, she may find it hard to say ‘no’ to requests. If she starts feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work she’s expected to do, she’ll eventually burn out. Here are some tips to increase your nanny’s job satisfaction.
Preventing Job Creep
“Job creep” is a term used to describe the gradual expansion of a nanny’s duties and responsibilities, which can grow to the point where they become overwhelming. Because the addition of new duties is gradual, the employer may not realize how much has been added to a nanny’s workload. If your nanny is experiencing job creep, she may become overwhelmed and want to leave.
The key to preventing job creep is to respect your nanny’s boundaries. A written contract will delineate your nanny’s responsibilities and clarify her rights. Since new tasks need to be added to the written contract, this process in itself can help make an employer more mindful of the nanny’s workload.
The contract should be clear, and include:
- Daily duties
- How the nanny will be paid, and how often
- Working hours
- Length of contract
- Length of time each party requires to be notified about schedule changes
- Tax, health, and other benefit information
- The process involved in terminating the contract (verbal warning, written letter, etc.)
- Household privileges, such as car, phone, internet, or TV
- Information on driving, including which car to use, how gas will be paid for, etc.
You’re busy. That’s one of the reasons you hired child care help. Make some time to talk to your nanny and check in with her a couple of times a year to discuss how the job is going; this will allow you to make necessary course corrections. Ask her how her life is going outside of the job. She’ll appreciate it.
Recognize Her Good Performance
Just like everyone else, your nanny wants to feel appreciated for her work. Praise her for a job well done. Let her know when she’s gone above and beyond the call of duty. Combine the ‘thank you’ with a small gift, such as a session at a local massage center or a gift card to her favorite store or restaurant.
Respect Your Nanny
Your nanny deserves to be treated with respect, and as an equal. She’s a trusted employee, not a servant.
Keep the Relationship Professional
Your nanny is an employee who works in your home, not your best friend. While there’s nothing wrong with being friendly, there’s a line you shouldn’t cross. Don’t say anything to your nanny you wouldn’t say to a co-worker at your job.
Respect Working Hours
If you’re out and are supposed to return home at a specific time but know you’re going to be late, call your nanny and let her know.
Pay Your Nanny on Time
Forgetting to pay your nanny on payday or to pay her for overtime sends a signal that you don’t care. Using a nanny payroll company with direct deposit simplifies this process for you and means your nanny won’t have to run to the bank every payday to deposit her check.
Give Her a Free Hand
No one likes to be micromanaged. A little autonomy goes a long way toward promoting a good relationship and job satisfaction.
Fund Expenses in Advance
Expenses that arise in the course of the day may include things such as gas, meals, groceries, and activities. Your nanny shouldn’t be required to pay for these expenses and wait for you to reimburse her. Set up a petty cash jar for expenses or give the nanny a check card or credit card to for this purpose. Responsibilities regarding expenses should be spelled out in the employment agreement.
Give Her a Break
Everyone appreciates a little break now and then. Keep nanny burnout in check with an occasional paid day off. Your nanny will appreciate the gesture and get a chance to unwind. Think of it as a mini-vacation.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
A large part of your nanny’s job satisfaction is based on good communication. You need to have reasonable, clearly expressed expectations. You should praise the nanny for a job well done and give and receive feedback. This will go a long way toward making sure your nanny is happy with her work environment, which in turn will make you a satisfied employer. Follow our tips and you’re likely to have a mutually beneficial, harmonious relationship with your nanny.
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