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Simple considerations and ways to make the family/caregiver relationship better

A good caregiver is tough to find. If you locate one, do all you can to hang onto her. Some childcare experts recommend a weekly parent-caregiver meeting. This promises parents insight on the development of the children, while simultaneously allowing parents to discuss the caregiver’s job functions and to share concerns and celebrate achievements. This family-nanny weekly dialogue should be done not only to air grievances but also to brainstorm other ways of effectively handling a situation. This might serve as a learning opportunity for both parties. The caregiver likely handles a situation in the manner she has chosen for a reason, and the parents can provide an alternative.

Open weekly dialogue gives especially working parents fresh insight and perspective on the child as it relates to behavior, social skills, temperament, and any other areas of concern the caregiver may have. This may help the parent reconsider his or her parenting style. The caregiver, on the other hand, should give a detailed account of the child’s activities and progress for that week.

Following the terms of your employment contract with the caregiver is one of the best ways to avoid disagreements. If you have an agreement to employ the nanny for 40 hours weekly, with overtime on an as-needed basis, do not take the nanny for granted by regularly asking her to work overtime unless she has requested additional work hours. Even if you are paying the caregiver time-and-a-half for the extra hours worked, over a time period, her free time will be more valuable to her than the additional money earned. She may even become disgruntled if you repeatedly arrive home later than expected or call her a few hours before her designated time to leave for home to inquire if she could work late.

Another point of contention can arise when the nanny gives you a not so favorable report about your child’s behavior. As the parent, if you do not follow through by ensuring that there are consequences for your child’s misbehavior, the child may come to understand that the nanny’s reports to you is ineffective and that there are no undesirable result for him or her. Not only will this teach the child that he or she can act as he or she pleases when in the nanny’s care, but also it will weaken the nanny’s position in your household. This could be considered offensive to the caregiver and could be the genesis of the decline in the family and caregiver relationship.

Understanding the caregiver’s personality and using common practical and fair approaches in dealing with your nanny will pave the way towards a successful relationship. Inevitably, the family and the caregiver will sometimes disagree however the disagreement should be an opportunity to learn and improve the dynamics of relationship over time. No relationship is perfectly harmonious, but respect must always be paramount. Parents, ensure that you model routine, intentional, and effective communication and conflict resolution strategies within the household. What is most important for the stability of your childcare arrangement over the long term is the manner in which conflicts are dealt with when they arise. Your tone and attitude when discussing problems with your nanny will be what determines how your family’s relationship with her proceeds in the future.

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