5 Ways to Get Your Nanny to Hate You
While the likelihood of you wanting your nanny to hate you is slim to none, if you’ve been wondering what it would take to make your nanny’s blood boil and walk out the door, never to return, take note.
Here are 5 things you can do to compel even the most pacifistic of nannies to become riddled with rage.
1. Treat her like a servant and encourage the kids to do the same. There’s nothing like hearing a 5-year-old tell you to pick her dirty underwear up off of the floor or else she’ll have you fired. Children who treat their nannies like servants typically have parents who do the same. While nannies are most definitely in a service industry, the days of indentured servitude are over. Nannies are in the business of partnering with parents to help raise their children, not responding to commands like an obedient pet. While most nannies are willing to do anything related to childcare, presenting a request rather than barking an order will go a long way in making her feel like a respected and valued member of your parenting team. For nannies to do their jobs well, they must earn the respect of the children in their care. If a parent is consistently undermining the nanny’s authority and treating the nanny like household help instead of a child advocate and childcare specialist, the children will do the same.
2. Talk to her through the children. Nothing burns the ears of a nanny quite like hearing her employer talk to her through the children while she’s standing right there. “Mikey, tell your nanny next time she packs your school lunch to be sure to slice the strawberries, rather than just hull them.” For nanny and employer relationships to be successful there must be open and active communication. Nanny employers should be able to communicate both matters of praise and critique to their nannies. Taking time to address concerns with the nanny is essential to helping her meet her employer’s expectations. When it comes to managing a nanny, using calm, direct and courteous communication is always best.
3. Contradict her in front of the children. There’s nothing like putting the kids in the midst of a she said-she said match. Just when the nanny has convinced the kids to eat their veggies, mom enters the dining room and tells them, “It’s okay – you don’t need to eat them.” You’ve hired your nanny to enforce the family rules, yet when she’s doing the enforcing, you swoop in to the children’s rescue. Children thrive when there is consistency and structure. When they’re getting mixed messages from their caregivers, it puts them in a position to determine who is right and who is in charge. Children look to the parents to entrust them with competent caregivers. By undermining your nanny in front of the kids, you’re sending the message that your nanny can’t be trusted to make good decisions on their behalf.
4. Act like you’re doing her a favor by letting her care for your child. “You mean you want to get paid for the extra two hours you watched Sarah and Sammy? I thought you were doing me a favor because you love them so much and so enjoy being with them.” Though your nanny likely genuinely loves your children and loves spending time with them, doing so is her job. And while she naturally doesn’t expect to get paid if she’s an invited guest to a birthday party or special event, when she’s caring for your children, she deserves to be compensated for her time. Forgetting to leave her paycheck, cheating her hours, and otherwise expecting to get care for free won’t cast you in a favorable light.
5. Treat your kids like crap. Nannies who are nannies for any length of time have chosen the profession because they genuinely love children and want to make a difference in their lives. When parents berate, tease, shame, bully, neglect or otherwise emotionally or physically mistreat their children, nannies notice, and when they do, they’re not happy. When you said your son was a wimp for crying when he fell off the slide, her blood boils. When you call your kid stupid, her heart melts. When your child spills his milk and you harshly scold him, she wants to give you a piece of her mind. When your nanny spends 40 to 60 hours per week caring for your child, love eventually blossoms. While nannies often try to coach parents on positive parenting or attempt to build up a child’s self-esteem after it was torn down, even nannies who have emotionally committed to themselves to stay in their positions for the sake of the children can only do so for so long. Unresponsive parents who continually mistreat their children will eventually find themselves without a nanny.
Just like no parent wants their nanny to hate them, no nanny wants to hate her employer. Mutual respect and the common interest of meeting the needs of the children go a long way in developing healthy nanny and employer relationships. Large doses of grace from both nannies and parents are required for the relationship to succeed, and when everyone commits to fulfilling the expectations agreed upon and keeping the lines of communication open, success is sure to follow.
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