Top Ten Reasons Why Nannies Leave a Position: Reason #3
Reason #3. One or both parents work from home or are home during the day and they do not “back up” the nanny when it comes to setting limits with the children.
As the owner of Safe and Sound Nannies for almost 15 years, it’s vitally important to us that a nanny stays in her position for as long as possible. This is the best situation for the children, and the best situation for our business. Nothing is more satisfying that hearing from a family who has employed one of our nannies for the past 7 or 8 years. Not every family is looking for this, but the longer a very good nanny stays, the more stability your child experiences. This will impact your child in the long term.
It is now relatively common for parents to work from home, and few parents realize that caring for a child with a parent at home is much more challenging for a nanny than working alone. The vast majority of nannies prefer to work autonomously. When a parent is present in the home, the nanny has an additional personality to maintain a relationship with, to please, and to manage during her busy day. It is important that the nanny and parent agree regarding limits and discipline with the children, and that the parent supports the nanny’s authority.
Even young children are quick to discover and exploit any “weak link” between the nanny and parent, and will gravitate to whichever authority figure will let them get away with the most mischief. It can be extremely draining for a nanny to care for a child who acts up when the parent is home, without being able to set adequate structure or limits. Unless the nanny has appropriate authority over the child, (backed up by the parent), her ability to form a bond with the child is compromised, which will erode her enjoyment of her work, and ultimately her commitment to the position.
Very good nannies are in this field because of their deep enjoyment and love of children. The emotional bond they form with your child is extremely rewarding to both nanny and child. The best way to keep your nanny is to allow this relationship to flourish, (with certain important boundaries.) I have found that situations where a parent is working from home can succeed beautifully if the following elements are present: 1) there is mutual consideration and respect between the parent and nanny; you give her authority and don’t “micro-manage” her; 2) there is open communication between the parent and nanny; 3) you set clear behavioral guidelines with your child and “back up” the nanny when she enforces them, 4) you choose a nanny who has the right personality for a position with a parent working from home: she needs to be high on flexibility, likeability and resilience vs. a stronger personality who requires a high degree of autonomy and may be less comfortable flexing and balancing different personalities in the home.
To get more tips on hiring and retaining a nanny go to: www.safeandsoundnannies.com
Dr. Ann Wycoff is founder of Safe and Sound Nannies, a full service agency, and The Nanny Answer, an online, do-it-yourself nanny screening service.