Thursday, June 21, 2012

How to Give Your Nanny Employer Advice

With more and more couples waiting until their late 30’s and early 40’s to have children it’s not uncommon for a nanny to begin working for parents who have much less childcare experience than she does. In fact, for seasoned nannies, entering into a nanny position where they have more childcare experience than their employers is the rule, not the exception to it.

So how does a nanny share information and give advice to parents in a way that’s welcomed?

Compassionately. Giving birth or adopting a baby can turn even the most level headed woman into an indecisive wreck. From the time they first hold their babies in their arms, parents are bombarded with information on what to do and what not to do and it can be hard to discern what the right choices really are. As their children grow, the information overload continues. One friend suggests they Ferberize their baby, while another suggests they co-sleep. The pediatrician suggests starting solids at four months, but the World Health Organization suggests waiting till six. Grandma insists that the baby sleep with the blanket she knit for her, but you advise that loose bedding can pose a suffocation risk. When giving advice and making recommendations to your employers, always first put yourself in their shoes. Most parents want to do what is best for their children and whatever they are doing is because they think it is the best or the only way. Approaching your employers with compassionate concern for their child can help your message to be heard.

Factually. When presenting parenting advice and information make it about more than your own personal opinion. Be prepared to back up your opinions with verifiable facts. If your employer asks you to turn a child to forward-facing at age one and 20 lbs., instead of just saying you don’t agree, let her know why you disagree. “Oh, you know that used to be the recommendation, but in April 2011 the recommendation was changed. The new recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics is that children should remain rear-facing until at least the age of 2 or until they meet the maximum height and weight requirements of their seat. Studies show riding rear-facing until then is safer.” When you present facts and recommendations from reliable sources, the advice is much harder to ignore. It also makes it less about you and her and who is right and who is wrong, and more about the safety and wellness of the child.

Stylistically. Delivering information in your employer’s personal style can help your message to be heard. Some people process information better when they hear it and some process it better when they read it. Still others process it when they see it come to life. Consider how your employers seem to gather information. Do they listen to the news, do they read the paper or do they watch video clips on the Internet? Do they text message you information, email you or prefer to call? Consider how your employers seem to best gather and disseminate information. If she’s an email person, shoot her an email with your advice and include a few reliable links. “I came across this article about crib bumpers being banned for sale. Apparently using them can increase the risk of suffocation and SIDS. Here’s the news story and a press release from the American Academy of Pediatrics on the topic. Based on this information, it seems we should remove them. What are your thoughts?” If she prefers short text messages, something such as “Did you see the news? Crib bumpers are now banned and AAP suggests not using them. Okay to remove them?” should open the door to conversation. Delivering your message in a way your employer will embrace and keeping the communication centered on the health and wellness of their child can increase the likelihood of your advice being taken.

It’s not unusual for parents to count on their nannies to bring safety concerns or updated recommendations to them. But when it comes to sharing your insight and experience, your delivery is just as important as your message. When sharing advice and information, be compassionate, share the facts and communicate in a style they embrace. When you do, your message is more likely to be heard and heeded.

Taken From Nanny Service

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