two women walking and drinking coffee

Nanny Tips for Working with Highly Involved Parents: Here are 5 Simple Tips

Parents today are so busy that hiring a nanny is a smart strategy that helps them handle childcare and domestic duties, both of which go into high gear when little ones come along.

However, some parents have a hard time letting go of the reins, so to speak. Although they are relieved to have a professional in the house, they sometimes remain so highly involved they create unintentional hurdles for their nanny, who is just trying to do their job well.
Does this sound like your employers?

mom taking pictures of daughter with instax camera

If so, this post is for you!

In the following article, we offer tips for dealing with highly involved parents. Keeping these in mind will help you handle parents who struggle to stay out of childcare duties when you’re on the job.

1) Try to sympathize with their feelings.

Although parents who interfere with the performance of their duties can be challenging, it’s important to remember why they feel this way. Having a child means that parents worry 24/7, even when they know the nanny is there to look after their baby. Showing understanding helps you both navigate this awkward terrain. And as they come to realize they can rely on you for excellent child care, their worries should lessen. In the meantime, try to not take their involvement as a criticism.

2) Keep them apprised of everything.

One of the smartest strategies for handling highly involved parents is making sure they know everything going on in their child’s life. Suggest a weekly meeting so you can update them – more frequently if that would put their mind at ease. Highly involved parents dislike surprises –a failing grade at the end of term, for example. If their child is having a hard time with a school subject, tell your employer immediately. Keep them in the loop at all times, no matter how minor the issue is. It’s even more crucial when the issue is big, like a failing grade. And make sure you apprise them of any strategy you’ve devised to deal with it, like hiring a tutor.

mom and nanny talking over coffee

3) Be willing to negotiate, but don’t be intimidated.

You are a professional, and while it’s important to engage in giving and taking with your employer, don’t be cowed by constant interference. If they are calling twice a day, or if they want a nanny cam recording your every move, decide before taking the job whether you can live with these measures. Don’t capitulate, then feel annoyed or hurt because they aren’t demonstrating trust. Try to assess how involved they will be during your interviews, then decide whether you can live with that level of involvement. It’s better for everyone if these things are discussed prior to signing a contract!

4) If they work from home now, establish concrete guidelines.

During the pandemic, many professionals began working from home. That meant that nannies were working under the watch of employers, which made for awkward scenarios at times. For example: were you trying to fix lunch for your charge but a parent was set up at the kitchen table? That’s a crowded house! While many people have gone back to offices, some are still working from home a day or two per week. If it looks like this arrangement may become permanent, ask to set some boundaries. Working together benefits everybody. For example: explain that you need unfettered access to the kitchen five days a week, and your employer will undoubtedly be willing to set up elsewhere.

nanny and daughter on couch reading

5) If they are at home, who’s in charge?

Another aspect of working from home is dealing with a child’s natural impulse to go to their parent for answers and approvals. That may mean that if they don’t like the answer you gave them (no cookies before dinner, for example) they might turn to their parent for a workaround! Be sure you and your employer agree on this: when you’re in the home for child care, you’re in charge. Most parents trying to work at home don’t want constant interruptions from their children and are happy to take a firm stance and back you up on these matters. Present a united front, and your charge will see that challenging your authority won’t work.

Working for parents who are highly involved in their child’s life means that you, as a professional childcare worker, will face situations that may be challenging. Try to remember that they are not intentionally second guessing you, or doubting your expertise. It may be that, in a home with two parents, one was thrilled about hiring a nanny while the other was more reluctant. That parent may not have been sure they wanted to leave childcare responsibilities to anyone else, even a professional like you. But perhaps their job demanded that they go back to the office after being off for a certain amount of time, and they had no choice.
Don’t take that personally!

dad and nanny talking together

Once they see you engage with their child, and once they know the house is running smoothly thanks to you, they will relax. Although they may never stop being highly involved, they will undoubtedly get better at letting you take over, and will eventually trust you completely.
Trust is earned, after all. And this is their baby you’re in charge of! But your experience and expertise will win them over, and even the most attentive parents will sooner or later be thrilled to have you helping with their most precious possession – their child.