Re-Assessing Tasks & Setting Boundaries
As a nanny, one of your goals should be to become part of the family. You’ll want the parents and children to be comfortable around you and you will want to feel comfortable around them as well. However, sometimes a relationship between a nanny and the family can become too familiar, and some of the boundaries that you initially set for yourself could be crossed. It is important to respect that your family is your employer, but they also should respect your limits as a nanny.
One of the biggest boundary issues that arise for nannies is living arrangements. Living with the family offers many benefits, but can also limit your personal space. A family may see you as always available or on call because you are all under one roof. If the children or parents start asking you to do things outside of your set work hours, you have the right to say that you aren’t comfortable with it. Rather than just saying no, you might want to suggest that you re-examine what your work hours to accommodate changing needs of the children. Avoid getting upset or defensive, or making any impulsive decisions if you feel like your personal space is being compromised.
Additionally, sometimes nannies will find that the children have become harder to control, or that they have to be disciplined too often. Chances are, the parents are having these same issues and will want to work with you to resolve them in the best possible way. Don’t keep your concerns to yourself, especially when it comes to your relationship with the children.
Daily tasks can also be pushed to the limit for many nannies, and families see you as a capable member of the family and thus increase your responsibilities. It can be flattering to be given the task of taking the children to their doctor’s appointments because it means that you have earned the family’s trust. However, if doing additional driving was not in your original work plan, it might take time away from other activities. It is normal to re-address your duties every few months and to talk with the family about being over- or under-worked.
The key to any relationship is communication, and the more you communicate any frustrations about your nanny job, the more likely they are to be remedied. Just be careful not to complain or get upset. Think over what you want to say before you confront the family about anything, you can even make a list so that you don’t forget in the moment.
Families want you to be happy and successful since happy and successful nannies make for happy and successful children.