Tuesday, September 25, 2012

10 Things Parents Do that Drive Their Nanny Crazy and What They Can Do About It

While a lack of respect will surely drive most any nanny crazy, there are a few other things parents do that could also cause their nanny to bang her head against the nearest wall. Fortunately, for everything a parent does to drive her nanny nuts, there is a simple solution or two that can be used to stop the problems that are occurring.

1. Come home late. While nannies understand that things come up at work or on the commute home that may cause their employer to run late occasionally, when coming home late becomes a chronic thing it can become a real problem for most nannies. While a nanny employer may be scheduled to leave work at 5 pm, if that rarely happens the employer should consider their realistic work ending time, rather than their ideal one, and adjust the nanny’s schedule accordingly. If an employer is running late, they should let their nanny know as soon as they realize they won’t make it home on time and update her with an accurate expected time of arrival as necessary.

2. Have poor communication. Clear communication is the key to a successful nanny and employer relationship. When the employer doesn’t adequately communicate child related updates or address concerns she’s having with the nanny, a volatile situation is bound to follow. Keeping a daily logbook helps ensure that key information gets passed on, and holding a weekly meeting gives the nanny and employer scheduled time to check-in, assess, and reassess, when needed.

3. Forget to leave her paycheck. Come the end of the workweek everyone is in weekend mode, but forgetting to leave the nanny’s paycheck is problematic on many fronts. When an employer forgets to pay their nanny it sends the message that the nanny’s work isn’t valued and payment for her services isn’t a priority. Setting up a reoccurring direct deposit or using a reputable nanny payroll company like www.4NannyTaxes.com can ensure that the nanny always gets paid on time.

4. Don’t reimburse for expenses. From grabbing lunch on the go, to visiting a local museum, nannies often use their own cash to pay for their own and their charges meals, admissions, activities, and entertainment. And while they may expect to be reimbursed, it often doesn’t happen because there is no reimbursement system in place. Parents are responsible for paying for their children’s expenses, and any expenses the nanny incurs as a direct result of caring for the child, which includes the nanny’s meals and admissions if she’s out with the child. Parents can set a budget with their nanny and provide a petty cash fund or a credit card in the nanny’s name to ensure that the appropriate expenses are being paid for by the parents.

5. Undermine her authority. There’s hardly a thing worse than when a nanny finally gets her charge to stop a behavior successfully and mom swoops in and says there is no need for the behavior to be stopped. Children thrive when there is consistency in the expectations their caregivers have for them.

Parents should be careful to choose a nanny with similar parenting styles and philosophies and clearly explain to their nanny what they constitute as acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, as well as acceptable discipline strategies. If the parents disagree with their nanny’s approach, they should discuss it with their nanny when the children aren’t listening in.

6. Ask the nanny to do non-nanny related tasks. Most nannies have no problem going above and beyond the call of duty when needed, but parents who consistently ask their nannies to do things outside of their responsibilities are asking for nanny trouble. Having a written work agreement, and reviewing and amending it when needed, can ensure parents and nannies understand the employment arrangement they’ve agreed to and understand the responsibilities that are expected of each of them.

7. Don’t provide feedback. Nannies often wonder if they’re performing up to par. They want to know if their employer is satisfied with their performance and where there is room for improvement. In addition to offering positive, purposeful praise and corrective guidance when needed, having an annual review provides the perfect opportunity to give feedback and even to offer a rate increase as a reward for a job well done.

8. Expect the random acts of kindness to be new duties. Chances are if a nanny is doing her charges’ laundry and the parents linens are in the wash, as a courtesy she’s going to transfer them to the dryer and fold them once their dry. All too often when a nanny does something once, it becomes the expected norm. When a parent notices that their nanny has done something out of the ordinary they should thank her and let her know while it’s not expected, it was greatly appreciated.

9. Don’t pay for extra hours. To a parent, showing up 10 minutes late each evening may not be a big deal, but to a nanny that equates to nearly an hour of additional work time by the end of the week. If the nanny provides childcare when she was not scheduled to, she should be compensated accordingly. By law, nannies are entitled to be paid for each hour worked. Live-out nannies, and some live-in nannies, depending on the state, are required to be paid overtime at the rate of 1.5 times their base hourly rate for any hours worked over 40 in a 7-day-period. Keeping a logbook for documenting the nanny’s starting and ending times can ensure the nanny is getting paid fairly and in accordance with labor laws.

10. Refuse to pay legally. Although legally nanny employers must pay their nannies in accordance with labor and tax laws, some choose to ignore the laws and pay their nanny under the table and off the books. Doing so not only cheats the law, it cheats nannies out of benefits such as documented employment and eligibility for unemployment benefits. Other times parents simply don’t know what their responsibilities are and how to comply with them. Using a nanny tax and payroll service, like www.4nannytaxes.com, makes doing the right thing easy. If employers are doing things right, they won’t end up with back taxes and fees should they get caught paying illegally.

Taken From Live-Out Nanny

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