The relationship with your nanny can be more complicated than most other relationships, simply because of the mix of professional and personal interactions. A good household manager treats a nanny with love, generosity, and clear rules and guidelines.
The best approach is to treat your nanny as both a family member, and an employee. You'll want to celebrate them birthday, let them take care of themselves when she's sick, and give them clear instructions on what tasks need to be completed by the end of the day.
When you first hire your nanny, explain that your goal is for them to feel part of your family. If you're in a nanny share, your family has now doubled in size, and she is one of the key partners in this extra-large, modern family.
Thank them, and have the kids thank them, at the end of each day. You know how you feel at 5:00pm on a Saturday? Like you need a cup of coffee to make it through the next few hours, because sometimes being at home with the kids is more exhausting than any day at work? (Is that just us?!) Well, this is their day, every day at work. So make sure she feels appreciated at the end of each day. Listen to any concerns she had, and teach the kids to give a warm goodbye and thank them for the day.
If you’re working from home, or come home early, and your nanny is there, they should be in charge. It’s also important to be aligned and on the same team with them, especially in front of the kids. If they tells you of an incident where your child needed a timeout or was rude, form a united front with your nanny. It’s important for your kids to see that they can’t get away with bad behavior when they're with your nanny.
If you want the dishwasher emptied and the morning dishes scrubbed, make sure she knows. There’s nothing worse than coming home at the end of the day, hoping she did them and then being frustrated (with them) that you didn’t set expectations.
Who doesn't like being spoiled once in a while? Your nanny deserves it. When you see them working extra hard, the kids are going through a rough phase, it’s their birthday, or they are just going through a tough time, treat them extra well. Get them a gift card, bring home some dinner, give them an extra day off. If you're in a nanny share, see if you and the nanny share family can go in on this together.
They are eating lunch every day with your kids. Every once in awhile, have the kids “treat” them to a lunch out. Give them $20 and make it a special outing.
When there’s a birthday party, a recital, a special event, make sure she gets an invite, and knows she’s not expected to work during that time.
Make sure you are always available to talk about any concerns she’s having or questions she has. If you're in a nanny share, you’ll want to set up morning meetings or weekend chats where a rep from each family can be available to talk with them on a monthly basis. If she doesn’t need to meet, you don’t have to keep the commitment, but aim for something quarterly, even if it’s just to chat about the kids and how things are going.
Give raises and bonuses when you can, and never be cheap with them paycheck. They are an hourly worker, working with your most precious people. It pays to be generous here. Give a holiday bonus (1-2 weeks of pay), pay for sick time and holidays, increase them hourly rate each year ($1-2 dollars an hour), and always remember a little gift them birthday.