Dear Adventure Nannies,
My nanny charge has started this thing where we’ll have an amazing day together, but then as soon as mom or dad comes home, the child throws a fit and starts crying. After having a wonderful, fun day together, it feels like they turn into a totally different person as soon as they see the bosses! I just started with this family and can tell it’s making the parents question our days together. What do I do?
Daily Meltdown Manager
A critical piece of the parent/nanny relationship is open + honest communication. This is especially true at the beginning and relationship-building stages. It eases any sense of unresolved issues or tension later on and ensures a long-lasting partnership with you and your family.
The fact that you are already developing nervousness about how your nanny charge transitions from your time together means that you need to have a conversation sooner than later. Making time to establish healthy communication practices is vital to the sustainability of your working relationship. How you choose to have this conversation will lay the foundation for how you choose to navigate similar issues in the future.
As an experienced childcare professional, I am an advocate of transparency, but I believe there is a way to accomplish openness without making your parent feel bad. First and foremost, it is important to be direct about wanting to touch base with your parent. For instance, “I would like to have an opportunity to discuss a few things with you. Is there a time that works for you?” This also gives you an opportunity to “soften” your message with other day-to-day happenings, or miscellaneous updates. However, don’t let your key issue get lost. You don’t want to drown out an issue if it could escalate down the road.
I recommend highlighting the high points of your day and describing how seamless it was. You can express your concern that the parents may not have the opportunity to see this because of the difficulty at the transition time. Invite them to brainstorm ideas as to how you can work on the transition as a team. Ask good questions of your parent as to why they think it may be happening.
How do you think we can create a more positive transition when you come home?
Do you have any ideas why there would be such a drastic shift in behavior and attitude when you get home?
Here are a few ideas I have come up with to ensure we end the day on a high note, do you mind if I share them with you?
Finally, reassure them your ultimate goal is to create the healthiest and happiest environment for their family, and you are committed to problem-solving through tough issues in order to make that happen. Moving forward, try to establish a weekly check-in with the parents to maintain an open line of communication so that any other future issues can be similarly resolved with ease.
How have you navigated situations like this in your nanny experiences? We’d love to hear all about your best practices!
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