To build a strong relationship between a family and a nanny, it's important to encourage and make it easy for clear communication. Depending on your situation, this may happen organically and easily. Parents working from home or working alongside their nanny at certain points throughout the day will have more opportunities to find time to connect with their nanny. Regardless, it’s important to have time set aside each week for a nanny and their family to talk. Weekly check-ins are a wonderful way to make sure everyone is feeling supported and has an opportunity to check in. Scheduling a check-in at the same time each week will ensure that these check-ins continue to happen regularly. Note that if these check-ins happen outside of scheduled hours, then your nanny will need to be compensated for this time.
Here are some possible questions to discuss during your check-ins:
- How are things going?
- Is there anything the parents can do to support their nanny? And vice versa, are there things that the family would love more support with?
- Do you have any questions or concerns?
- Are there any challenges that came up this week?
- What felt like a win this week?
- Are there any scheduling changes or adjustments needed for the next week?
- Is there anything that I could have done better?
Asking these questions directly can help facilitate conversation. Even the most assertive nannies may find it difficult to voice their concerns if they do not believe there is a safe space for them to do so or if their employer is willing to listen to them.
Showing your nanny that you care about them and their happiness in their role will make them feel valued and appreciated. Other things you might talk about during a check-in include strategies for handling your children's behaviors. Allow this time to be a way to collaborate and share ideas and resources with each other. Many nannies have experience with or ideas of how to handle behaviors and situations, but some do not feel empowered to share them with their employers.
If you would like to tap into the wealth of information your nanny has, you can make it known that you’re open to feedback and advice. Some nannies will not offer their insight unless asked or if it has been shared that parents are open to that. Check-ins are also a great time to address any concerns you may have. If you have constructive feedback, you might offer it in the style of a feedback sandwich. Traditionally, this looks like offering positive feedback followed by constructive feedback and then ending with more positive feedback.
You could also offer praise, gratitude, and constructive suggestions during this time. Avoid using this time to nitpick about things you want done differently or to assign chores or other tasks to them. The time to add more responsibility and tasks to your nannies' plate is when you’re giving them a raise. These check-ins should be focused on supporting your nanny and providing a space to communicate with each other.