You leave work on Friday with the house clean. You have cleaned up the dishes from the kids lunches, tidied up the playroom and put away the crafts. Monday morning rolls around and you come into a house that looks like a bomb went off. How do you deal with it? Silent resentment? Complain to the parents again? Let’s go over some tips to help you keep your sanity.
Hiring a Nanny and getting them acquainted and comfortable with your family and home no small task! Each family does things a little differently, and no matter how many years of experience the Nanny has, it will take them some time to get familiar with a new family. Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can help make the on-boarding process as easy and effective as possible.
A family manual is a binder or e-document with everything the Nanny needs to know about working with your family. It includes important information such as emergency contacts, medical needs and allergies, dietary information, house rules, the family’s schedule, parenting approaches, and so on. Not only is a family manual helpful when the Nanny is first starting out, it is something they can refer back to at any time.
Written notes and lists
Nannies may choose to carry a notebook around with them to record important information shared with them during their first few shifts. They may also continue to use one to write down to-do lists, grocery lists, and other noteworthy items from the day. We strongly recommend that families do the same.
Similarly, it is helpful to have a daily and/or weekly schedule for the Nanny to follow as well. The schedule should outline the Nanny’s tasks and responsibilities, as well as scheduled nap times, activities, appointments, etc.
Having a shared calendar is also a useful tool, as it allows busy families to keep track of activities and appointments, vacations, and the Nanny’s work schedule. You may choose to have a wall calendar visible somewhere in the house or to share an online calendar, such as Google Calendar or iCalendar.
We always recommend that families use a book or diary (one day per page style) to communicate with the Nanny. A communication book is where everyone can record and relay day-to-day information, such as how the child napped, diaper changes, upcoming appointments for the children, parents, and Nanny (e.g., “I have a concert on Wednesday evening, so I must leave no later than 6 PM”, “Spirit Day at school”, “I have an early meeting on Tuesday, so you will have to arrive at 8 AM”).
It can be very useful to have a “shadow day” with a new Nanny, where they spend a day with one of the parents or another caregiver (such as a relief Nanny or a previous Nanny whose contract is ending). This gives the Nanny an opportunity to get acquainted with the home, experience a typical day with the children, and learn about details that may otherwise be overlooked.
We also highly recommend having the Nanny do a trial shift with your family to ensure that it is a good fit. This is especially important if the initial interview took place virtually and you haven’t had a chance to meet the Nanny in person yet. It’s hard to get a true sense of someone you’ve only ever met through a computer screen. A trial shift gives both your family and the Nanny the opportunity to assess whether the relationship will work or not before making a commitment.
These days, it’s easy to get caught in a spiral of negative thoughts. With all that’s going on in the world — a global pandemic, the tense political climate, racially-based violence, increased financial stress, a general feeling of uncertainty, we could go on and on — it’s hard to feel optimistic. That’s why now, more than ever, it’s important for us to practice gratitude and recognize the silver linings hiding in those big, dark clouds. Whether you simply have moments of silent reflection to think about the things that you are grateful for or you actively write in a gratitude journal each day, practicing gratitude can be both cathartic and healing. We have put together a list of a few things that Nannies have to be grateful for to help you get started.
Your own health
Be grateful that you are strong and in good health. Say “thank you” to your body for all it does and all it has gone through over the years.
Family and friends
Whether they live in the same household as us or we’ve only seen them over Zoom in the past 8 months, our family and friends are what’s really getting us through this. Their ongoing support, words of encouragement, shoulders to cry on, and moments of laughter are something to be grateful for.
Your Nanny family
Many families are also facing financial hardships and uncertainty, yet they still see the value in having you on as their Nanny. Have gratitude for the parents for continuing to employ you during this time when so many others have lost their source of income. Thank the little ones as well — for the joy, wonder, and curiosity they continue to bring into your life.
The gift of time
Without all of the usual social obligations and everyday responsibilities, many of us have more time on our hands than ever before. We are able to do things that we wouldn’t normally have time for — organizing, DIY projects, hobbies, reading, learning new skills, catching up on our Netflix watch list, and so on. Sometimes it may feel like all we have is time, but when we reflect on the alternative, we realize that this is actually something to be thankful for.
Less social pressure
Homebodies rejoice! Is there a better excuse to decline a social invitation than a global pandemic? We don’t think so. Your introverted side is grateful for the opportunity to recharge and engage in some self-care.
These past 8 months have given us the time to sit back and really figure out what’s important in life. We’ve gained insight and clarity, allowing our priorities to shift. If you’re finding that you’re not sweating the small stuff as much as you did before, be grateful for this increased time for self-reflection.
The societal changes and restrictions we’ve had to adapt to these past few months have forced us to get creative and find new ways of doing things. Have gratitude for our collective creativity and imagination!
The benefits for our planet
The earth says “thank you” and we should feel grateful too. Less emissions means we’re reducing our global carbon footprint, making the air cleaner for all. In some parts of the world, coral reefs are actually starting to grow again. Venice’s waterways are cleaner than they’ve been in decades. Our planet is slowly starting to heal and that is something to be incredibly thankful for!
The message everywhere is “we’re all in this together”. People are coming together to help each other out, we’re showing appreciation for our essential workers, and we’re finding that we are stronger and our voices are louder when we stand together. Have gratitude for the solidarity that we are demonstrating.
The Nanny Solution by Nannies on Call team is grateful for YOU, our wonderful Nannies who have stood by us through these difficult times. We truly wouldn’t be here today without you. Thank you!