As parents of multiples we know how lucky we are when we find a great nanny, au pair or babysitter. Candi Wingate of shared some tips with me on how to keep your nanny, babysitter, or au pair happy so that you can keep that great relationship.

You employ a great nanny. You want her to be happy in her job with your family. What can you do to ensure that she feels happy in her job?

  1. Treat her with respect. Tell her periodically that you value her and all that she does for your family. Don’t undermine her authority in front of your children (if you want to redirect her behavior, do so in private, away from your children). Discuss any concerns you may have in an open, non-accusatory manner. After all, there may have been a good reason for whatever she did that initially caused you concern. Entrust her with basic decision-making about your children. Ask her opinion on subjects related to your children. Validate that she is an adult, not another one of your children.
  2. Respect that she has a life outside of work. If she gets sick, her parents have an anniversary party, or she has other plans that may take her away from work on occasion, try to be understanding of reasonable, advanced requests for time off. If you are running late at work, don’t just assume that she will be available to stay later with your children: instead, ask her if she can stay late, and accept if she cannot. If she does stay late, ensure that you compensate her appropriately.
  3. Don’t heap more work on her than you should reasonably expect her to perform. If she is watching one child, you may reasonably expect her to perform a little light housekeeping here or there. However, if she is watching four children, it may be too much to expect her to clean your house as well. If she tells you that she is feeling harried, respond promptly to that concern.
  4. Do as you say that you will do and be timely. If you cannot do as you said you would, or you cannot honor a reasonable or agreed-upon timeline, explain to her why there will need to be a change. For example, if you told your nanny that you would let her access a family-provided car by June 1st, and then you find out that that timeline is not workable, let her know right away what the new timeline will be and why the timeline changed. For example, you might say, “We have had difficulty finding a quality used car for you, but we will keep looking. We are now shooting for August 1st, which is when the dealership says they are expecting to receive a new shipment of quality used cars.”
  5. Provide her with her paychecks on the dates and times expected. For example, if paychecks are scheduled to be given every Friday morning, don’t make her have to ask you for her check when you come home from work on Friday evening.
  6. Answer to her questions and respond to her concerns in a timely manner.
  7. Understand that a working relationship (i.e., between an employer-family and their nanny) is a two-way street. Both parties to the relationship have to have their needs met in order for the relationship to be continued.

By following these tips, you can take steps to ensure that you will keep your great nanny for a long, long time!