Parents and nannies recognize that open communication is the key to having a mutually satisfying working and personal relationship. Putting open communication into practice, however, can be illusive. There are employer-employee roles that must be respected and boundaries to maintain, which can be a touchy subject if your nanny has reached the ‘part of the family’ stage. Nannies face challenges too: They are simultaneously expected to uphold the values of the family while creating a relationship with the child according to the way the parents think the nanny should ‘do things.’
Challenges inevitably come up when discussions about a child's behavior need to happen. To keep your discussion positive and achieve a successful outcome, keep the following main points in mind.
1. Understand what the problem is.
Parents and nannies may have different ideas of what the problem is. While a parent may see the behavior as the 'problem' (e.g. tantruming) a nanny may see what leads up to the behavior as the 'problem' (e.g. not enough sleep or quiet time during the day). These are not mutually exclusive, but important to recognize and correct as a team.
2. Keep the best interests of the child in mind.
Avoid blaming others for the problem. Keep in mind that children's behavior has multiple roots and different ways of understanding it. Recognizing that everyone is working to do what is right for the child keeps everyone on track.
3. Remember that there is no 'right' way to solve the problem.
Work together to identify and prioritize the mutual goals you want to achieve. While these may be practical in nature, e.g. reduce tantruming by increasing nap or quiet times, there can be certain values that are important to teach in the process (e.g. respecting others, i.e. we don't throw things when we are mad. We use our words instead).
4. Know that no one individual is 'responsible' for the outcome.
Working as a team and knowing that everyone is working toward understood goals is essential in the parent-nanny communication process.
The article, From Zero to Three "Effective Communication with Parents" is written for caregivers, but also provides insight into how both nannies and parents can learn how to make challenging communications effective.