There is nothing more stressful than when your nanny tells you she is leaving, and that she is happy to give you two weeks’ notice.
Your initial reaction will no doubt be physical – you know that cold sweat feeling on your forehead and the sudden plummet as your stomach drops and you fight down the panic that 5 minutes ago was nowhere to be seen?
Next will come the disbelief and the desperate attempts to have her change her mind (we will pay you anything you want, just don’t leave me…PLEEEAASSSEEE don’t leave me….)
Next comes the further wave of panic as you realise you have exactly 10 working days to advertise, review CVs, conduct interviews, select, and then start your new nanny. Yeah, right.
Ok, calm your farm. It may feel like the end of the world at the exact moment the words ‘I’m off’ leave her lips, but it’s not. You will find another fantastic nanny, and when you do, you might want to use my Top 5 Tips to make the transition as smooth as possible and maximize the chances of your new nanny staying:
- Give your kids a chance to say goodbye – if your nanny resigns, or you are replacing a much loved carer, make sure you give your kids a chance to say goodbye. If your kids are feeling sad, then turn the occasion in to a celebration – make a card and a cake and let your kids experience the positive side of your nanny leaving.
- Include your kids in the nanny interviews – the interaction between a potential new nanny and your kids is like a reference on steroids. You will learn so much by observing how your kids and the candidate interact. Does the nanny engage with your kids or only focus on you? Does the nanny get down on the floor with the kids and let them scramble on to her lap? Are your kids drawn to the nanny and quickly at ease? If the kids are old enough let them ask questions and see how the nanny responds. (And always check with referees!).
- Set clear expectations – make it as easy as possible for your new nanny by setting clear expectations. Outline verbally and then in writing your kids’ day time and sleep time routines; meal plans; any allergies; any medications; emergency contact lists; favourite toys; favourite activities; and so on. Put your checklists in an easy accessible folder and put the emergency contact list on the fridge. Set an agreed trial period and be clear about communicating over this time (see 5. Below). Make sure you give great feedback – that is – the good and the bad in enough detail so that the nanny knows how she is performing.
- Be Patient – If possible spend the first day, at least, at home with your new nanny and the kids so that everyone gets used to each other. Once you are back at work, let the nanny know that you will check in during the day. Let the nanny know that no question is stupid – be patient.
- Communicate – keep a communications book/ diary so the nanny can jot down questions, concerns or milestones to cover off with you after work. Speak to your kids about their day. Speak with the nanny about her day. What is working? What isn’t working? Then review expectations as your new nanny gets into the routine. Ongoing communication is crucial.
Do you have any questions about starting a new nanny?
Time Stylers works with professional women who are very clever when it comes to managing their business or career, but who aren’t using their smarts on the home front. Time Stylers has a reputation for helping our clients to find 30 guilt-free hours a month. What would you do with an extra 30 hours?
Time Stylers: www.timestylers.com.au