As an employer of sitter, there will of course be times when your their actions don’t meet your expectations. And during busy of stressful periods when help and support is needed more than ever, the time may be right to review whether your nanny is the right match for your current needs.
Particular life events present a good opportunity to review: a one year anniversary, moving home or starting new job. Such moments give you both the chance to set new goals and address any issues in order to set the stage for the future. It’s also a chance to open the lines of communication, celebrate what’s been going well, and set goals for what could be going better.
Here are our tips for setting up and running a review of your caregiver:
- Make it an occasion: Invite your carer out to lunch or coffee or if you meet in your home, choose a time when the kids won’t be around. You don’t want distractions. Tell him or her that you want to take time out to check in and see how the year has gone and talk about what’s coming up in the year ahead.
- Set an agenda: Before the meeting, write down a few points you want to cover on an index card. You don’t have to follow a script, but you want to make sure you address everything you want to address and don’t get sidetracked by the conversation.
- Have key discussions: Before your meeting, talk to your child’s teachers to make sure you, your partner and your nanny are all challenging them appropriately at home. See what else you might need to be doing to get him up to speed — whether it’s adding more down time, active sports or problem solving. Come up with a few project ideas you’d like your nanny to start incorporating into the day and make sure she’ll be okay adding that to the routine.
- Manage your mindset: Now is the perfect time to embrace or remember your role: the boss. It can feel awkward to think of you as the boss of someone who sees your dirty laundry and our intimate situations. But when we fail to own our true rule as employer and leader, we miss out. We have enormous skills as leaders and bosses and managers that apply to our life at home too, but we only think to use them in the workplace. When we function as a leader, we much more likely to assess our own strengths and vulnerabilities and then determine what we have to do to move our vision forward. When we’re not, we’re letting circumstances dictate our reality.
During the Review
- Start positively: Set a non-threatening tone for the meeting by noting what’s going well first. And try to use the word “we” in your sentences. You want an open, genuine conversation. Using ‘we’ helps to keep everyone on the same page.
- Remember to listen: This is an opportunity for you to hear what’s working and not working for your caregiver too, and to get their objective perspective on your kids. You don’t want to walk out thinking: ‘what did she say?’ Maybe she didn’t say anything because you were talking the whole time.
- Accept responsibility: For any issues you have to address, broach it by owning your role in it first. You can say something like, ‘There are certain things that aren’t working, and I’ve realized how I have contributed to that. So I’m going to be making some changes and I wanted to let you know.’ Then you can explain how you’d like the carers actions to change too.
- Go over the calendar: Bring your calendar and ask your caregiver to bring hers too, so you can map out holidays, times when perhaps your older kids will be out of school and need care too. This is a great opportunity to get in sync on multiple levels, and it will help you not get blindsided by a sudden lapse in child care.
- Document: If this meeting brings up new strategies and rules, and if it adds any details about how she will be paid, or how holidays might be handled, put it all in writing.
- Assess: For the few weeks after the meeting is over, watch to see how your caregiver responds to any feedback and requests you made during the meeting. After the meetings, it’s time to step back and watch. Does she do what you’re asking her to do?
- Check your emotions: If you’re still feeling unsure if your caregiver is on the same page as you, it’s time to create a little space in your life for getting quiet and listening to what your heart is trying to tell you. If you’re feeling any fear that you’re not trusting your kids to the right people, don’t say everything’s fine. The moment you give yourself permission to feel what you’re feeling, you’ll know what changes you have to make.