Passionate About Fort Worth
and the Moms Who Live Here

Tips for Maintaining Healthy Relationships with Childcare Providers

One of my favorite movies is 500 Days of Summer with the adorable Zooey Deschannel and nerd-hunk Joseph Gordon-Levitt. My favorite scene of the movie is the reality versus expectations scene. It plays out in a split screen: One side plays Tom’s romantic expectations of the rooftop dinner party at Summer’s; the other plays the lonely reality of unrequited love.

If we’re honest, most of parenthood plays out in a reality versus expectations split screen. This is also true of the expectations we place on childcare providers. We expect them to be us reincarnated: to love like us, discipline like us, read Sandra Boynton books with the same inflection as we do. Unfortunately Fortunately, there is only one you. Once we realize that, we are able to let go of unreachable expectations, opening doors for meaningful relationships with those who care for our children when we are away.

Miss P was 18 months when I started watching her. She will start Kindergarten in the fall. I follow her mom on Instagram to keep up with their growing family.

Miss P was 18 months when I started watching her. She started kindergarten this fall. I follow her mom on Instagram to keep up with their growing family.

From college until my son was six months old, I nannied eight children in three cities, from ages three months to four years old. Throughout my years as a part and full-time nanny, I was blessed by the families with whom I worked. Because most all of us will need help at one point or another, I want to equip you with tips that will help you have a healthy and thriving relationship with your nanny or other childcare providers.

What NOT to Expect:

1) You should not expect your nanny to discipline your children if you are not already doing so yourself. It is very important for you, the parent, to be the predominant disciplinarian, however you choose to do so. You should also not assume your nanny knows how to properly discipline. It is beneficial to all that you have an open dialogue with your nanny monthly about discipline, or more often as your child’s development requires it. As children evolve, so does discipline. Keep your nanny in the loop, and encourage her to do the same for you. Remember to give her grace; it is not easy to discipline someone else’s child.

2) Unless it has been clearly stated in her job description, don’t expect your nanny to also be your cook, maid, and errand girl. If this is a part of her job, and she knows it, then breeze past this part. I had a job with those responsibilities once, and I loved it. I got the kids ready for school, dropped off and picked up, grocery shopped, and cooked. It taught me the importance of time management, and I got to practice fun recipes I wouldn’t have otherwise tried. With that said, if she didn’t sign up to be your maid, don’t expect that of her.

3) Avoid signing up your nanny to watch other people’s kids without first asking her. Most likely your nanny is not yet a mother. When she leaves your house, she has her own life, one that doesn’t revolve around kids. If she does have children, she will want to spend time with them. While it is flattering to know someone thinks you’re great at what you do, it’s also uncomfortable to tell your boss’s friend that you don’t want to watch her kids. If something comes up and a friend asks for your sitter’s info, ask for her okay before giving it out.

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AB was the last little girl I nannied. She was a eight months old when I started watching her and is now four.

What to Expect:

1) Expect your nanny to want a relationship/partnership with you. She is your co-parent. Be on her side. If you don’t feel like she is on your side, talk to her. Have conversations with her, get to know her as a person, and let her know you appreciate her. These are easy ways to avoid making her feel like “the help.”

2) Expect her to love your children {almost} as much as you do. I know as a mother this is very intimidating. We want to be numero uno in our kids’ lives, and we don’t want anyone encroaching on that territory. As much as it scares you, let her love your children, and let them love her. She will not replace you.

3) Expect her to think about and miss your children for the rest of her life. Children outgrow the need for a nanny. One day your babies will grow up; they will go to school; they will learn to take care of themselves. This is sad for parents, and it’s sad for nannies as they likely don’t get to stay a part of the picture.

I haven’t seen many of “my kids” in years, but I think about them often. Thankfully, social media makes it easier to stay connected with the families I once served. My time spent as a nanny has greatly influenced motherhood and how I parent my own children. You have a precious opportunity to influence the way someone raises their family; seize it!

How has your life been positively influenced by a nanny or other childcare provider? 

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