Congratulations! You just hired your new nanny. Although a lot of legwork has been completed, a whole new frontier lies ahead — the adjustment period. Not sure what to expect? We've caught up with Dr. Lindsay Heller, Psy. D, for the need-to-know.
Acknowledge the transition period and set realistic expectations: It is completely natural for both you and your nanny to go through a transitional phase. For most families and nannies this period can last anywhere from three weeks to three months.
Become aware of your unique family identity and culture: We generally recommend that families take some introspective time to identify the little idiosyncrasies that make their family function before interviewing nanny candidates. Be sure to discuss these unique attributes with your nanny to ensure that your family’s identity and her personality blend well together.
Clear communication: Discuss your expectations with your nanny, and be sure to make note of them in the job description, and employee agreement. Also, establish an agreed upon preferred mode of communication.
Welcome questions: Lots of questions at this stage of employment is very normal, and should be expected. This is your nanny’s way of gathering information about your family so that he or she may do her job to the best of their ability.
Do not make assumptions: Remember that just because they are a nanny, does not mean that they will be able to automatically anticipate all your family’s needs. Your nanny may be operating in a manner that fits their past nanny family, or even their own family’s identity.
Schedule frequent check-ins and meetings: This is especially important during the initial adjustment period. After the transition period, we recommend biannual and annual reviews.
When problems arise, do not jump the gun: Take a step back and explain your expectations once again. Reference your employee agreement if need be. This is an educational opportunity for all.
Get an outside opinion: If problems persist, check in with someone in the industry, such as your agency or a consultant, like The Nanny Doctor. While fellow parents and friends can have the best of intentions, it is recommended to speak with someone outside of your inner circle to receive a non-biased, clear view of the situation.
Work together: Remember that you are all part of the childcare team. Commit to making the team as cohesive as possible for the long haul.