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Nanny & Your Family:Keeping a Healthy Relationship

Here at Raleigh, NC based nanny agency, the Nanny Boutique, we feel it is very important for the family to be as up front as possible about responsibilities and expectations around the house when it comes to the nanny you choose for your family. These responsibilities should be discussed and agreed upon during the interview and contract agreement process. But it is normal that throughout a nanny’s time with a family, some needs may be adjusted or even completely change. This can often lead to a frustrated parent and/or nanny. There are several ways to handle this potential conflict.

It is essential that neither the nanny nor the parents allow resentment to build up. This can lead to on the spot firing or quitting and both are hurtful to the children involved. The nanny quickly becomes a third responsible adult in the children’s lives and removal without warning turns their lives upside down and can be very stressful.

Shortly after hiring, there is an adjustment period where the nanny is figuring out how the family works and what her job really entails. It is common during this time for conflict to arise. For example, the parents might feel that some need is not being met or the nanny might believe that she is doing work that was not agreed upon. One good idea is to set up an evaluation after the first month. This allows both sets of people to bring their concerns out and hopefully an agreement can be made that solves this conflict. If you feel that it is necessary, this can be an informal monthly meeting or you can just meet whenever necessary.

Another source of conflict can occur when the boundaries between employee/employer and friends gets crossed too much. It is normal and important for a family to start to care about their nanny on a personal level and vice versa, but both parties need to remember that this is a profession. While the nanny will hopefully love your kids and take care of them as if they were her own, she should not be expected to be on call at all times, or forced to work outside of the agreed upon hours unless discussed and paid appropriately. She also should not be consulted about private family matters such as conflicts within the household that do not affect the children. On the flip side, a nanny should not call off all the time or ask to come in late often due to personal matters. She also should not ask personal questions about her employers unless it is job related. If this is occurring often and either person feels that the lines are being crossed too much, there should be an in person conversation. Do not text or email because words can easily be taken out of context.

The last major source of conflict is when the relationship is ending. Whether it is a planned or unplanned exit, there are often hurt feelings involved or lack of communication which can cause issues. It is very important that whoever is initiating the termination (nanny or parent) should give as much notice as possible and stick to what the nanny agreement states. There should be a conversation where the reasons for leaving are explained professionally. Try not to get emotional or defensive. Listen and then speak your peace when the other person is finished. Even if the nanny was hired short-term and knew when hired that her position would end, there should still be a follow-up conversation at least a month in advance so that she knows the exact date that she needs a new job.

When working this closely with someone, it is normal that there will be some source of conflict. Always be open to communication and honest about the issue. Try not to make it a personal conversation, but a professional one. Most of the time conflict can be resolved by an adult conversation if done with patience and without accusations or condescension on either side. This will lead to a much healthier nanny/family relationship.

These tips can help the ever important relationship between the nanny and the family no matter where you are located. We have seen some great results in the Triangle area (Raleigh NC, Chapel Hill NC, Durham NC) when families have employed these suggested techniques.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 4th, 2012 at 3:06 pm and is filed under Raleigh Nanny & Babysitting Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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