Building a Relationship With Your Nanny

As in all human relationships, communication is often what makes the difference between a successful relationship and failure. Nannies in general are child-oriented and have a hard time being direct or confrontational with their employers (come to think of it, who doesn’t?). There can also be cultural issues to further complicate things.

I have spoken to many nannies who are unhappy in their jobs but are reluctant to communicate their displeasure to their employer. They tend to let issues build up and when they feel overwhelmed they simply leave rather than trying to improve the situation. Many of these departures could have been avoided if only the nanny and the family had frankly discussed the problems before they escalated to a crisis.

We encourage both nannies and families to get their issues out in the open. It usually isn’t realistic to expect your nanny is going to come to you. You more often that not have to take the initiative, and then be prepared to listen. You may get an earful. You may have to drag it out of her. Typically, nannies are afraid to express their true feelings.

The best nanny/employer relationships are where there is a mutual respect between the parties. The relationship with your nanny is unique. It is unlike any other employer/employee relationship. Often the nanny lives in your home so there is a certain “roommate” aspect to it. You see each other at your best and also at your worst. Nannies need to feel valued within the family unit in order to provide the nurturing, loving care so important for your children. When it works well, the nanny will touch your children’s lives in positive ways that will remain with them, and perhaps you as well.