By: Jenny Williams, Temporary Director
In this day and age, with increasing technology and flexibility from employers available to working parents, more and more moms and dads find themselves working from home while still needing a nanny to help take care of the children. Some parents prefer to shut themselves in their home office and ask not to be interrupted. Others will come in and out or set up a work station in an area that they can still interact with their child/children. Regardless of the setup, we know that this scenario is one we will see with increasing frequency in the years to come.
We have heard from numerous families and nannies of “parent-at-home” arrangements that have both flourished and tanked. What are some ways that you can work with the nanny at home to maximize success for both parties?
- Strive for clear roles and expectations from the beginning. As soon as the parent and nanny are on the same page as to who will take care of what (and when), if/when the parent should be interrupted while working, and who has authority on which situations, things will start to naturally settle into place. Don’t expect this process to be easy and bump-free. Again, flexibility is huge as the two of you work out the best arrangement for the situation.
- Do consider setting up a separate work space away from the nanny and children. This is by far the most successful setup we have seen of parents working from home. Inevitably, children rarely want to stay with a nanny when they know mom or dad are in the next room. In addition, setting up a separate work space will prevent you from constantly wanting to check in or “see how things are going.” Unplanned interruptions can throw off the best routines, leaving the nanny feeling frustrated and unable to make progress with her own relationship with the children.
- Understand that nannies want to feel useful in their job. If you are doing everything for your child that you would normally do when the nanny isn’t there, she will start to feel unnecessary and wonder why she is even there.
- Schedule a regular check-in (once a month ideally to start) with the nanny to see if things are going well for both parties. Both parties should have the expectation that this meeting is a good time to bring up both things that are working well and things that need to be addressed/tweaked.