Friday, December 9, 2011

How Can I Track My Child's Day?

Reposted from August 2010

How can I know how my children are doing during their day with the nanny?

Having your nanny keep a journal about each day's activities, the foods eaten, child's mood and other important information is a great idea. I had a journal for each child in my care. When they were young - infant through early preschool age - I wrote in it each day. As they got older the journal became less formal. The children actually used their journal in a school project at one time or another - they loved reading through them!

Touching base with your nanny throughout the day by phone call is a good idea. Some nannies may think of this as a “check up” call and fear that you don’t trust them. Explain to the nanny that the call will help you to feel in touch with your child, that you simply miss not being there yourself. I appreciated the phone check-in from my employer. It gave me a chance to share some of the highlights of the day and frankly, talk to another adult. I also appreciated knowing I could call them and talk or leave a message if I had any questions. When I started the mother or dad would call at least once a day just to see how it was going. As time went by those calls were more infrequent because we had built our relationship and trust with each other.

Occasionally either of the parents would drop in during the day for lunch or a quick check-in before heading to an appointment. This could be both wonderful and not so wonderful - it really depended on what the children were doing. Lunch time usually was great. They were eating and seeing mom or dad was a nice surprise. It was less thrilling when we were in the middle of a fun game, project or reading a book which could throw them off a little. I usually stopped what we were doing with the promise we'd return to it and encourage focus on saying "Hi" to mom or dad. Popping in during nap time was a mixed bag and they decided they wouldn't pop in during that time of day in future. I recommend discussing with your nanny about dropping in and then evaluate as you go.

Obviously with younger, non-verbal age children, calling or popping in are a great way to get a sense how things are going. Children who are able to verbalize will let you know what's happening. Try to hear all that they are reporting to you and ask questions for other details. Also, note if they are happy to see the nanny coming at the beginning of the day. Do they talk about their nanny after the day is over? For example; "Kelly told us a funny story today. Do you want to hear it mommy?" This will give you a sense of the relationship that your child is building with the nanny which is so important for their development.

We took time, however brief, at the end of most days to touch base. It was a great way to share and feel connected. Scheduling regular meetings at the end of the week or another time that works for everyone is a great idea. You can talk about details in a more relaxed setting. We talked about what was going well, ideas we had, along with setting goals for the future. They asked me about my personal life and interests which made me feel connected with them. I can tell you from experience that connecting on a deeper level is important for the strong relationship you are building with your nanny.

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