FRUSTRATED CHILDREN – PART 2
The fundamental challenge for two wage earners is to create a home life of consistent care for their children. If the weekday ‘rules’ are followed through to the weekend the children will feel more secure. Working parents do best when they find a Nanny who closely resembles their own child-rearing skills. A balance between these two schedules is necessary so that the gap between Nanny and parent/s doesn’t feel too big. A Nanny and parents who are on the same page create an environment that is beneficial for children. Children are creatures of habit, and anything out of sync with their routine will irritate them.
“… Contrary to what the term “baby-sitter” suggests – someone who just marks the time with your child – this person (or persons) will be like another parent during your child’s most important formative years… From your child’s point of view, choosing the right caregiver is a decision that is as important as picking your spouse.” (my italics) DR. STANLEY I GREENSPAN – ‘The Four-Thirds Solution’.
Your Nanny is your most valuable employee. It is important for you to find the time to let her know that she is being seen and heard, that she is a co-worker.
If you and your Nanny are not comfortable with direct conversation, how else can you check in with each other? One way is to create a ‘suggestion box’. This could be a locked wooden or metal box with a slit or opening. Your Nanny could then write down on paper and deposit any small grievance or discrepancy without having to directly confront you. You could assure your Nanny that your ‘suggestion box’ is a safe place for her to offload and that it would not lead to her dismissal.
Alternatively you could provide your Nanny with an email account on your computer to be used exclusively for all matters dealing with her employment. If she is not computer literate, you could provide her with a house journal. In amongst daily entries of your child’s habits, play-dates, food intake, behavior, you could also include a section for additional comments. Did she need anything that day – like petty cash for expenses? Was there enough food in the cupboards? Are the children respecting her authority? This would impress upon her, that you value her input.
It is highly unlikely that you will partner a Nanny in childcare without any incidence of frustration, or miscommunication. There will come a time when things go wrong. Confrontations, frank discussions in private, apologies, compromises, and tears are all part and parcel of checking in with your Nanny. At times it may be unpleasant and uncomfortable but parents and Nannies that continue to work together raise happy children.