Whether you employ a live-in au pair, in-home nanny, babysitter, or daycare provider, you should be talking with your child’s caregiver on a regular basis. It may feel awkward having an employer-employee relationship in your home surrounding your precious children. But, communication will prevent so many future nuances and resolve any previous ones. Take the phrase, “It’s only awkward if you make it awkward,” and begin talking with your nanny today. From my experience as a nanny, here are the best tips for discussions that you should be having on a regular (weekly) basis! (*Note: I will use the term “nanny” and “she” for simplicity, but it can be interchanged with any childcare provider, babysitter, au pair, etc.! To best help you apply these principles, I suggest you insert your childcare provider’s name directly into the questions below!)

Discussion Topics About Their Job/Position/Role:

  • Share your parenting and discipline styles. Your child’s behavior, emotions, and knowledge are constantly changing with maturity, so you are also continually adapting your parenting techniques. Keep your nanny in the loop. Do you expect your nanny to “parent” the same way as you?
  • What issues has your child had recently (like not wanting to wear shoes to the store, or being afraid of the dark, or not wanting to eat lunch, etc.), and how have you handled them? Has your nanny noticed the same issues? How has she handled them?
  • Clearly discuss your expectations and the details of the nanny’s role. Be sure to include hours worked, how she should ask for a day off, specific requirements related to the children, home teaching or educating, household chores, transportation information, and any other relevant details.
  • It is so important to clarify and over-communicate minor details, like “Don’t eat the casserole in the fridge, it is for our dinner tonight” or “I have clothes in the washer, please throw them in the dryer when they are done.”
  • Don’t be afraid to share your feelings. For example, my employer told me one day that she was really missing her daughters and later texted me asking if I could send her a photo of them. As a nanny, I knew that Mama missed her little ones, and the girls were so happy to take a photo for Mommy. Knowing her emotions allowed me to have conversations with her about what I could do to help, such as sending photos throughout the day, or calling her on her drive home.

Discussion Questions About Your Child:

I recommend asking these questions daily, or at least a few days per week.

  • Did my child have a good day.
  • Was my child happy or sad, and why?
  • Did my child obey?
  • Was my child helpful and kind?
  • How (and what) did my child eat?
  • Did my child take a nap or rest?
  • What did he/she learn today? (both education, and developmental milestones)
  • Did my child get hurt?
  • Is there anything else I should know?

Discussion Questions About Your Nanny:

  • How are you? (This simple question can mean so much if you are willing to hear the answer!)
  • What did you do over the weekend? / Do you have any plans for the weekend? / Do you have plans for the upcoming holiday?
  • What do you like to do for fun?
  • How is your significant other or family?
  • How are you handling this job? Are you able to meet expectations?
  • Is there any way I can help you?

Additional ways to build a relationship with your nanny.

Invite your nanny over for dinner and to your children’s birthday parties. Share books or principles about parenting with them that your find helpful. Buy them a birthday and Christmas present (your child can help pick one out!). If your child talks about the nanny, tell her! To this day I still adore when I get photos or emails saying, “Our girls were talking about how they used to paint with ice cubes on the driveway with Mrs. Jana!” In the same way that little things matter to you, they will have an impact on your nanny. Allow room in your hearts to share your kids with someone else, and you will also benefit from gaining you nanny as an extended family member!

Jana

Jana is the odd one out. Not a parent herself, she writes from the perspective of a young baby sitter. Experienced in making bedtime fun, she brings a unique perspective to parenting. She hopes that all she learns now will make the magic of being a parent just that extra bit special. She has no fixed address and is vagabonding around the globe, widening her world view.