One of the biggest issues that go on between families and caregivers is the issue of free time and nights off. There needs to be a clear line that separates the time from when a nanny is to care for your children and when he or she is off duty. The lines can be blurry when the nanny or caregiver lives in the home with the family.
Show your nanny that you respect their free time. If they feel like they are working on their days off they may get overworked, run down, and consider quitting. Here are some tips to help make things clear for your both, so that miscommunications do not occur and they feel valued as a person, not just an employee.
Tips to unblur the lines:
- Write their work schedules down on a calendar that can be seen by everyone in the household. Everyone should be aware when the nanny or caregiver is and is not on the clock. Make sure everyone (mom, dad, and kids) know not to bother the live-in caregiver on their days off. If they have a question or an issue, try to wait until their next work day. Think how annoying it would be if your boss knocked on your bedroom door to ask work questions on your day off.
- Unless it is an emergency, do not ask for favors during their free time. Try not to ask the nanny to babysit on their time off while you run to the store, run errands, or nap. If something comes up and you need the nanny to care for the kids on their day off, let them know up front how grateful you are and what extra day they will be getting off to make up for it, if you Provincial Employment Standards allows, or else pay for the extra time.
- Avoid last minute changes in their days off. A nanny has a life to, and needs down time from your adorable kiddos just as much as you do. Everyone needs a break from their job, even if they love it. Days and times off should be scheduled in advance, not last minute, and these times should be set in stone. It is rude to tell a nanny that she no longer has the following day off. She probably had plans and she will start to feel like you do not respect her free time.
You expect your nanny to have their full attention on your child when they are in their care. Show them the same respect and give them space on their days off.
One issue that can cause tension and stress between a caregiver and the family is curfews. Most families do not find the need for a curfew for the nanny, but others may feel this is an important issue that should be addressed in the interview process.
Try to see the issue from both sides. If you are the parent, understand that the caregiver is an adult and has a life outside of your family. If you are a nanny, know that they may be concerned you will be too tired to properly care for their kids if you stay out all night.
Tips to approaching the touchy curfew subject:
- First off, keep your words kind. The goal should be to come to an agreement, not to argue as a parent and teen would over a curfew. Show the other person respect and listen with open ears.
- Try to come up with a time you two can agree on. If your caregiver refuses to agree to a time and insists on coming home whenever they choose, understand their reasoning. They are an adult, and can walk away from the family if they choose. Pick your battles carefully.
- If your nanny does a great job even when she gets in at 2am, you may not have a leg to stand on. However if you can tell that she looks exhausted and she cannot keep up with the kids, point this out to her. If you feel the care of your children is compromised and she will not agree to a curfew, you may have to be the one to cut your losses and look for a replacement.