Even as adults, we may have mixed feelings when we have to meet new people. So for a child who only knows his/her parents and siblings, introducing a new person who will not only take care of them but be their “substitute parent” can be difficult, especially for the introverted or shy child.
One of the hardest things a parent can do is leave their child in the hands of another. Even when that other is a family member. However, if a parent is working and has to do so, it is in their best interest that they are deliberate and intentional about the steps in helping their children to bond with their nannies. This leads to the nanny feeling more welcome in the home and as a result she may be more likely to stay as she becomes invested and committed to the family and the children.
From my experience, I have witnessed conflicts between nannies and parents due to the nanny not being transitioned into the home well enough. This has resulted in the nanny not being happy in her role and so it is important that parents take the steps to ensure that the transition of a nanny starting with a family is done progressively and as smooth as possible.
Below I suggest 5 tips that can aid in a smooth transition for the nanny into a family:
- First of all, involve the child in the selection process. If your child is old enough, it is best to involve them in choosing a nanny based on what they loved about their previous nanny or which interests of the nanny they would prefer. For younger children however, it is best to find a nanny who has similar traits as the parents or a previous nanny. Some traits to look out for though especially are that the nanny is nurturing, reliable engaging with the children.
- Make sure to spend time with the nanny and the children, preferably at home so that when the children see your positive relationship with him/her they will feel more secure to relate with them and build trust as well. Also introduce the nanny to the child’s routine, the do’s and the don’ts, share a meal together or play a game together etc. The nanny will pick up certain tips on how to relate to the children through observing the parents interactions with the child and this will allow them to warm up to the nanny.
- Meeting the old nanny if possible. If the new nanny is replacing another nanny, it is a good idea for the new nanny to spend some time with the old nanny and the children together in order to gather some tips on how to handle the children and to get to know their interests in more detail. This will help the nanny to break the ice and begin to build a rapport with the children. The new nanny will also have the opportunity to ask questions as well as practice elements of his/her future role such as, making their lunches, engaging the children in an activity inside or out etc.
- Increasing hours overtime is better, if possible. The nanny can start at first with a few hours a day and then increase it to the desired hours if the schedule of the parents will allow it. For a child to develop a strong bond with the nanny, it is best to introduce them gradually so that the transition is not sharp, unless the child easily bonds with new people.
- Learn how to switch over. For babies and toddlers, handing them over to the nanny can be stressful when they have not bonded too well with them so you should find a very creative way to say your goodbyes each time the nanny has to take charge. For some, taking a short walk before departing works best while for others, saying goodbye in the car does the trick. You know your child best so you should figure out the best way to make those moments less upsetting for your child.
Being intentional about how you introduce your new nanny to your children goes a long way to make sure the children, the nanny and you are more content. This is how you build a strong foundation, whereby the nanny will be invested to stay. The implementation of these 5 tips, results in a lasting relationship between the children and the nanny. Feel free to share with us your experiences with how you transitioned your nanny into your home as well.