After the long and probably arduous search for the perfect nanny, you’ve finally made a decision, extended an offer and worked out a written agreement to govern the professional relationship. When all the paperwork is finished, the real work begins. The adjustment period can be a rocky time for everyone involved, especially if your children have never been under the care of a nanny or were particularly attached to their last caregiver. Even for seasoned veteran nannies, coming into a new household for the first time can be a bit of a daunting experience. In order to facilitate the building of a long and productive working relationship with your nanny, it’s important that you make her feel as welcome as possible.
Make Cards and Banners
Sit down with your kids to make and decorate a big welcome card addressed to your new nanny, or create a banner to greet her when she arrives for the first day of work. Encourage your kids to let their imaginations run wild! It doesn’t matter what he draws on the card or if his printing is legible on the banner. What matters is that he was actively involved in making his new nanny feel wanted and welcome.
Introduce Her to the Kids Before the Introduction
In the days leading up to your new nanny’s first day on the job, look for ways to work her impending arrival into conversations with your kids. Rather than sitting them down for a staged and scripted monologue, try peppering everyday conversations with her name to pique kids’ interest. When she arrives, kids will be so curious that they’re eager to greet her, and far too engaged to feel resentful or scared.
While the reason why parents hire a nanny in the first place is to ultimately facilitate an arrangement in which they can get things done without kids in tow, you should plan to be around the house and available to your nanny as much as possible in the first few days of her employment to help smooth the transitional period.
Let Your Kids Be the Guide
When your child is given the responsibility of showing his new nanny where the spoons are and introducing her to his special teddy bear, it gives him a sense of ownership and control over the situation. Help him own the transition by making him a vital part of it. Encourage him to give Nanny a tour of the house, and charging him with being her “helper” until she learns where to find everything. Not only will your child be more welcoming as a result of his new responsibility, but your nanny will also feel more at ease when she’s gained the trust of her charge.
Stock the Kitchen With a Few Treats
It’s not uncommon for nannies to feel a bit uncomfortable when it comes to food in your kitchen, especially if she’s previously worked for families that had strict rules about what and when she was allowed to eat. If you want to make your nanny feel welcome in your kitchen and at ease when it comes to eating during the day, grab a few special treats and put them in the pantry or fridge with her name on them. Let her know that she’s welcome to anything in the kitchen, but that these special treats are tokens of your excitement and appreciation.
Introduce Her to Close Family and Friends
When your new nanny gets to meet your family members and close friends, she’ll be able to put faces with names that she hears regularly and will know that you value her place in your life. It also makes it easier for her to call upon these people in the event of an emergency if they’re the listed contacts. After all, it’s never easy to cold-call a stranger. Doing so when things are already frantic can be even worse! Let her get to know the people that she’ll be dealing with on a regular basis so that she feels like a welcome addition to your family, not a service provider to be hidden away from everyone else in your life.
Make Special Arrangements for Live-In Nannies
While the practice of living in isn’t as popular as it was in years past, there are still plenty of families and nannies that have just such an arrangement. If your new nanny will be living in, it’s even more important to make sure that she feels welcome in your home. After all, it’s her new home as well. Make a special effort to include a few personal touches in her private quarters, give her plenty of privacy and room to breathe as she gets used to life with a new employer in a new home.