I’m blessed to have a full-time nanny who helps me take care of my little explorer and does work around the house. After several tries from local nanny agencies, a relative recommended her to me, and it’s been 9 months and counting.
A live-in nanny was the ideal option for me whose work requires travel at times. I made sure she ticked most of my boxes before hiring her. Her prior nanny care experience with a preschooler was an added advantage for me.
Our last installment in our nanny series explores how it is to live with a nanny, their responsibilities, and their relationship with the child.
A nanny’s primary job is to take care of the kids, but you can ask if she is open to doing other work. Many do agree, for additional compensation. Ensure that is captured in the interview process before she accepts the job.
Nanny responsibilities include:
- preparing meals for the child when on duty
- bathing and dressing the child
- doing the child’s laundry
- cleaning the kid’s room
- keeping your home in the condition you left it
- cleaning and sanitizing bottles and toys
- picking up and dropping off the kid in school
- disciplining the child if allowed to
- organizing play activities.
9 tips for living with a live-in nanny
- Create a routine: With the nanny on board, your daily schedule will require adjustments. Go through the routine with her and make clarifications if need be. It is the right time to show her around the house and neighborhood to help her get her bearings.
- Find time to teach nanny duties: If you have a newborn nanny, there are certain skills she needs to have or learn for newborn care. If you are working, take some time off to teach them how you want things done, e.g., bathing the baby, diaper care, bottle feeding basics, feeding an infant, baby proofing, and so on. Be patient. She will not learn or master the skills in a day.
- Provide adequate living space: This includes a private room with a private bath. As someone who enjoyed staying with just my child, the in-home nanny factor was quite challenging at first. You get someone you’ve had no prior relations with, but now have to integrate them into your home life. It takes time to get comfortable. She has her room in our apartment, but we all eat together, and share everything else.
- Keep the lines of communication open: For the union to work, communication is essential. State clearly what needs to be taken care of and listen to the nanny. Encourage her to discuss working conditions and what challenges she could be facing. I always ask what my child did for the day, the games they both played, what they learned in school, any developmental milestones, what they ate, etc. Don’t be harsh. Some shut down or even refuse to speak to your kids. It’s also advisable to set boundaries earlier on to avoid over-familiarity that may lead to misunderstandings in the future.
- Treat them well: Remember, your nanny shouldn’t be a stranger to your home. Make her feel welcomed and appreciated for her work. She’s the person who will spend the most time with your children henceforth and assist you in achieving your parenting goals. Choose your battles wisely. Unfortunately, most nannies who feel mistreated take it out on the kids instead.
- Grant time off and leave days: Just because your nanny lives with you doesn’t mean she is on call 24/7. As your household employee, she is entitled to having days to herself for resting and recharging. My nanny usually goes every weekend to see her siblings in the city. She’s also taken a week off to see her extended family upcountry.
- Monitor their work: Your nanny helps a lot, freeing up time for you to also take care of yourself. That doesn’t mean you leave everything to her. Observe her work ethic, personality, and how she relates to your child. To regularly keep an eye on your baby and nanny, and for peace of mind when away, install nanny cams around the house. With how clever nannies are these days, many parents consider a hidden teddy bear camera, but they don’t get good reviews and as a toy the nanny might pick up, aren’t the best choice. The best types let you view the camera feeds through a nanny app on your phone. If your kids can talk, ask for feedback on how comfortable they are with the nanny. You want to be sure they like her and that she is treating them well. Act on the information gathered accordingly.
- Reward good work occasionally: Acknowledge their excellent work in words and deeds. Small acts of appreciation help build lasting bonds, and hopefully, years go by with you happily having the same nanny. And when it’s time for her to leave eventually, offer her good references to help find another position.
- Help your nanny grow: Empower your nanny and find ways to maximize their potential. You can send them for cooking classes, first aid training, driving lessons, nanny workshops, or help them set up a small business on the side.
- Don’t be afraid to fire your nanny: If the working relationship has hit a dead-end, it’s time to let her go. Don’t settle. I made that mistake with my initial nannies. I held on way too long and ended up walking on eggshells for their entire stay.
Building a trusting relationship with your live-in nanny is very vital. My nanny and my child are close now. She ensures the child is well taken care of before any other duty. Whenever she leaves to see her family, my little explorer throws a tantrum. They relate well and I hope it stays that way for a long time.
In sum, you now have the necessary tools to help in your search for a live-in nanny. May the stars align for you and your family. Good luck, mama!