Monday, December 10, 2012

Keys to Long Term Placements

The majority of families and nannies are looking for successful, long term placements. The continuity and consistency of care is one of the driving forces in maintaining the relationship between family and nanny. Studies have shown that this consistency between parents and caregivers help children develop a strong sense of self, improve academic skills and build confidence.

Parents cite several benefits of having developed a partnership with the nanny over time. There is the comfort in knowing that the nanny maintains the children's routines as well as being prepared to meet each new stage of development. Any challenges with children's behavior or concerns about developmental issues receive full attention and observation. Discipline styles, expectations of behavior and children's individual interests receive continuity of attention from all the adults in the child's life. Parents also mention having another adult, a "child specialist", involved with their care has helped with early detection of developmental issues, suggestions about activities or classes that encourage a child's interests or talents, and a team member with which to share ideas.

Nannies appreciate a long term situation for its inherent stability. A component of any nanny position is the emotional investment, not only in the children, but in the family as a whole. Feeling that you have years to enjoy and develop the relationships leads to a greater sense of job satisfaction and keeps the nanny feeling energized about the job itself. The concept of partnership is highly valued by nannies.

Keys to successful long term situation have a great deal to do with mutual respect, appreciation of hard work, appreciation of the roles played by everyone in the child's life, and mutual flexibility. Parents view respect and appreciation as acknowledgment that their role in the child's life is number one. Decisions made regarding the children are theirs to make but parents who realize the value of the nanny will undoubtedly seek their input. Nannies highly value an appreciative employer family. Appreciation can be verbal acknowledgement as well as in the compensation or benefits offered. When nannies are asked about making long term commitments to families, almost without exception, they will cite appreciation by parents as top of their list for continuing employment with a family. Flexibility in schedule and sensitivity about special circumstances are important to both parents and nannies.

Being a nanny who had a 20+ year employment with one family, I understand the challenges and rewards to long term placements. Building long term relationships requires patience and a positive attitude. It's easy to love the children, even when they are testing boundaries - because they are children and that's what they do. The relationship with the parents needs to be thoughtfully and purposefully nurtured. As adults we all have "our way" and we need to open ourselves to new possibilities.

The unique nature of the nanny-family relationship can be challenging at times but with thoughtful consideration of one another a long term placement is possible. Children have the most to gain from development a committed relationship between the nanny and family - their well being is everyone's goal.

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