By: Chelsea Klassen
An often overlooked component of the nanny experience is that a home becomes a workplace environment as soon as you put a nanny there. There are many nannies and employers alike who may not recognize this part of the nanny job and the subsequent implications. There are some real benefits for both parties when it comes to working in the home, but there can also be unique challenges that families and nannies must navigate.
There is great value in feeling appreciated in your workplace. The American Psychological Association found that 93% of employees who felt valued in their workplace were motivated to do their best at work (APA, 2013). Half of all employees who did not feel valued at work reported that they intended to look for a new job within the next year.
This is an important consideration to have when employing a nanny. If you are worried about your nanny leaving, this could be because your nanny is not feeling appreciated and valued. Building appreciation into your relationship with your nanny can both enhance the nanny’s work, your satisfaction with their performance, and mitigate the possibility of your nanny leaving the position. Feeling appreciated goes beyond flowers, chocolates, or the usual things one may consider to someone you care, but rather is predicated on valuing the work that they nanny is doing and recognizing the effort they are putting in to their work responsibilities.
Much research targets how nannies should behave, and while this is important, nanny employers also need to understand that how they work with their nanny and the conditions they create for the nanny within the home workplace environment are key to a healthy working relationship for all parties. The US Nanny Institute (2019) had key findings which showed that families often do not recognize “the value of child development skills”. When a family employs a professional nanny, that caregiver often has some combination of both professional experience and academic expertise which informs their practice.
Recognizing that working with children requires a unique skillset is important. Here are a few actionable steps that nanny families can consider making part of their working routine.
- Establish regular meetings with your nanny to discuss any issues. While this may feel formal, and could be adapted as you progress, an employer setting up the preconditions for open communication will allow the nanny and employer to feel comfortable discussing issues. These organized meetings are a great place to start and will allow for the nanny and family to feel comfortable raising issues to be addressed as they come up.
- Listen to your nanny’s perspective on child related issues. Your nanny should have the child’s best interests at heart, and may see a child in a different way or have a different experience with your child. You do not need to agree with your nanny, but offering them the space to voice any child related issues allows you to work together as a team for the wellbeing of your child.
- Recognize when your nanny goes above and beyond. One family noticed how much extra work I was taking on and gave me a gift card to show their appreciation. Having my effort valued made me feel satisfaction and pride in my work, and is memorable to this day. Nannies are professionals who are doing work that is both physically and emotionally laborious, and research shows that valuing and appreciating your employee benefits both parties in the equation.
Chelsea Klassen is a passionate, caring, curious nanny with 10+ years of experience and an adventurous streak! She is the nanny behind the Travel Nanny Canada. She is based in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. She holds a Master’s Degree in Development Studies and a certificate in Child and Youth Mental Health. She has been fortunate enough to care for children around the world, including the ski slopes of Montreal, sailboats in the Aegean Sea, summer camps in Ontario, the oceanside in Spain, and the suburbs of Australia, among other places. Chelsea is currently working as a researcher and travel nanny.