Creating an Effective Working Relationship
A good, working relationship with your employers based on trust and mutual respect is necessary for a nanny. If you feel uneasy around your employers or there are frequent conflicts then you will not be able to give your charges the care and attention they deserve or perform to the best of your ability. Managing this nanny-employer relationship can be one of the hardest things about being a nanny.
Trust is the most important thing in a nanny-employer relationship. It takes time to have total trust and confidence in someone, and it is normal for there to be some restrictions in the first few weeks of your employment or a degree of micro-managing until the parents are confident that you can cope on your own. However it's also important for there to be a certain level of trust right from the start. Nannies should never give parents a reason to distrust them, because once trust is broken it is very hard to get it back.
All relationships rely on communication, and the nanny-employer relationship is no different. As well as the daily communication concerning your charges you should also feel comfortable raising any niggles, particularly in the first few weeks. Let your employers know that if they have any concerns or feedback they shouldn't hesitate to approach you either. Neither of you are mind-readers and nobody gets it right all the time, but the only way to have a really good working relationship rather than one that creaks along is to talk to each other. You can read more about communicating effectively with parents here.
Parents need to understand that you will get down to the children's level, and not just by sitting on the floor. Nannies expect to sing rhymes, pull silly faces and talk nonsense on a daily basis. If you are worried that the parents will judge your professionalism because you are acting in a childish way then there has been a miscommunication somewhere along the line! However when it comes to discussing employment issues, problems with your charges or having a review show that you can also act in a professional way, preparing for the meeting and basing your points on evidence.
Be clear who is in charge
When both you and your employers are around you need to agree who has the final say. Some parents prefer to be in control, and in that case you need to direct your charges to their parents if they want something or be prepared to double check. Other parents prefer you to deal with everything. It is important to be clear so you don't unintentionally undermine your employers, and so they don't undermine you.
Have a clear contract
With a clear contract both nanny and employer know what is expected of them and of the other party. Most disputes can be easily resolved, or even prevented, by double checking the contract. A contract provides the framework for a good working relationship.