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How to Increase Your Nanny’s Job Satisfaction

How to Increase Your Nanny’s Job Satisfaction
  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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    Fatigue

    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.

    Unhappy Kids

    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.

    Unreliability

    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.

    Preventing Burnout:

    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.

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    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.

    Open Communication

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

    Featured photo credit: Shutterstock via shutterstock.com

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Kathleen Webb

Co-Founder, HomeWork Solutions

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Published on September 18, 2018

Coparenting 101: 17 Helpful Strategies for Divorced Parents

Coparenting 101: 17 Helpful Strategies for Divorced Parents

When people separate or divorce, one of their biggest challenges is coparenting their children together. As a Marriage and Family Therapist in Chicago, I often see divorced parents struggle with how to raise their children together.

One parent has a certain set of rules, and the other does it completely differently. It can be a real challenge to navigate this part of the divorce process.

Yet over the years, I have seen couples successfully raise their children together after a divorce. It takes a little attention and focus, but there are number of key strategies that these divorced couples employ to make coparenting much easier.

1. Communicate clearly.

When couples who are able to communicate coparenting items easily and without much emotion, they get a lot of the work of parenting done quickly. Yet when their discussions about parenting items are filled with emotion, then it muddies the waters.

If you find yourself fighting with your ex about all sorts of coparenting issues, you might want to set up a method of communication which reduces the emotion.

Perhaps a dedicated email thread that only has parenting items might keep the channels of communication more clean.

2. Clarify rules.

Many families we see here at our practice in Chicago have different rules at different houses for their children. This can certainly work, but the rules need to be clearly defined by the parents.

Where children struggle is when they are unclear about what the rules of each house are, and then try to manipulate the rules to get their way.

Clear communication of what the expectations are at each house can go a long way towards creating balance and stability.

3. Get out of the past.

It is important to be sure that any lingering items from your marriage stay as much in the past as possible.

Of course there will by dynamics from the marital relationship that persist in the coparenting relationship, but couples benefit by bringing their relationship out of the past and trying to create new ways of interacting around parenting items.

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4. Don’t triangulate.

One of the more difficult dynamics that we see in Family Therapy is when couples triangulate their children.

Triangulation is when whatever is unresolved between the parents gets transmitted through their interactions with the children.

In other words, the parents hostility and tension gets absorbed by the children and the children start acting it out. It can be very confusing when this happens, and Family Therapy can significantly help when this dynamic occurs.

5. Bless and release.

One thing that troubles a lot of people after a break up or divorce is that they continually hold on to old grudges or complaints.

In order to coparent more effectively, it can be helpful to bless and release your ex. This mean wishing them well and letting go of old hurts.

Can you hope for our ex that they have all good things and find the life and love that they are looking for? This sort of neutrality can go a long way with coparenting from a more balanced place.

6. Practice mindful parenting.

Many experts will tell parents to try to stay more calm than their child. If you are anxious, stressed and angry, then your child may become those things too.

Coparenting with an ex adds another layer of difficulty and potentially upsetting emotions. It is important to practice being mindful of your anxiety, stress and anger levels when parenting, and also when interacting with your coparent.

Finding ways to stay relaxed and put things in perspective can help.

7. Develop a support network.

Having a good team of trusted people in your corner can help to make sure you don’t feel alone in the process of coparenting. Talking with other parents who are divorced or separated might help you feel less alone in the process.

Additionally, having a trusted counselor or therapist in your corner who can help you look at your blind spots, can make a big difference.

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8. Practice presence.

Staying in the moment when parenting can be a useful thing whether you are coparenting, doing it alone, or alongside your partner.

Our minds can race all over the place when we are managing a lot of things in our family life. Yet taking time to stay in the moment and be present with your child will help calm and stabilize the situation.

If you are worried about future events, or stressed about what happened before, it takes you out of the present, which can be full of opportunities for meaningful experiences with your child.

9. Practice “I” statements.

A lot of couples will get in trouble by blaming their ex in front of their child. It can be difficult for them not to criticize their ex, or say something disparaging. Yet this can have a negative impact on the child.

Instead of pointing the finger, it helps to practice “I” statements. Talk about your frustration and how you get overwhelmed by difficult situations rather than commenting on how your ex made mistakes or is selfish.

Talking about your own experience helps you own your own power in the situation.

10. Learn to compromise.

If coparents are constantly arguing about their schedules, money, or what the rules are, then it can cause a very hostile and chaotic environment for the children.

Yet couples who learn to work together and compromise on the endless, daily family items that need to be negotiated, end up creating a more stable and calm environment for their children.

Even if you insist that you should have the children on a particular holiday because your ex had them the previous year, being willing to compromise and make alternate arrangements can pay off in the long run.

11. Give a little.

Coparents who are generous with one another, even if they are still upset about their breakup, help create an environment of wellbeing in their family.

If your coparent asks for a random extra weekend with the children, and you know that it is your turn that weekend, being generous and giving a little can go a long way towards generating good will.

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Withholding and counting each fairness and unfairness creates a less generous and more stingy family environment.

Of course you don’t want to compromise yourself and give over too much, but keeping on the lookout for when you can give just a bit more, can help the wellbeing of everyone involved.

12. Talk with your children.

Parents who worry about the potentially negative influence that their ex will have on their children do well by talking more with their kids.

If you are worried about what your ex might say to your child, it helps to have a good, open line of communication with the child such that you can better understand how they see the world.

It helps if they can talk with you about their confusion or any conflicting messages that they hear from their other parent.

13. Leverage your relationship.

Your child is hard wired to want to connect with you. Parents do well to know that the greatest influence that they have on their child is their relationship with them.

Your children are attached to you, and even if they act as if they want nothing to do with you, they are still wired for your approval and care.

Finding ways to leverage the inherent attachment can help create the sort of life that you’d like for your child.

14. Attract, don’t pursue.

Don’t overly pursue a connection with your child, but instead attract their interest to connect with you. When parents are too eager to chase a child who is distancing, then the child will often distance more.

Building on the inherent attachment that your child has with you, try to find ways to create harmonious and connected moments rather than asking them tons of questions and trying desperately to create closeness.

15. Open up.

Share more with your child about what you love, and what you are passionate about. Children who hear more about what parents care about tend to follow their own passions.

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Think about how many famous athletes or musicians children are also athletes or musicians. Children tend to follow the lead of their role models, and if you share what you love, then might emulate that pursuit themselves.

This can go a long way towards creating a lasting bond that can withstand any tension in a coparenting relationship.

16. Embrace change.

A lot of coparents have hidden regrets or live in the past. They wish their family situation could be different, but don’t know how to make it better.

Embracing change can help us move out of past hurts and regrets and find new ways to create the sort of changes we are looking for.

Perhaps you can find new ways to interact with your ex that might foster new family dynamics.

17. Make room for new possibilities.

A lot of divorced or separated couples that I work with tend to become hopeless about anything new happening in the family dynamic. They see patterns of interaction repeat themselves over and over, and they anticipate it will continue this way forever.

Yet if there is one thing we can count on is that things will eventually change. Making room in your mind for new possibilities can alleviate some of the hopelessness that sometimes comes with difficult coparenting situations.

Yes you are divorced, but It is indeed possible to be good coparents. Communication and patience go hand in hand if you want to raise happy and healthy kids as a divorced parent.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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