Preparing The Family For A Nanny: Tips For Making It A Smooth Transition

You’re getting a new addition to the family – a professional nanny! That’s marvelous, and we hope that Elite Nannies played a role in finding just the right candidate to join your household!

However you found your new nanny, through our referral agency or by another avenue, we know this is the start of a wonderful, new chapter for everyone in the family.

But whenever a new individual joins the fold, there may be pressures. Nonetheless, there are ways to ensure the transition is smooth and as stress-free as possible for everyone involved. If you have very young children, for example, bringing a new person into the house calls for careful planning. Here, we’ve got some other suggestions for you, ideas about how to make this new chapter in your family’s life smooth sailing for all involved.

1. Keep discussions age-appropriate.

This is particularly important if this is the first time you’ve hired a nanny – your family needs to know just what to expect from the arrangement. Talk candidly with the children. Explain to them with enthusiasm that you are gaining a new team member in the household. Keep your explanations age-appropriate, of course, but let them know that everything is about to change for the better, and tell them how, and why.

2. If you’re losing one nanny and hiring another, explain the change.

It may be that the nanny you’ve had for several years is moving on. Your children have likely become very attached to them over time, yet this can be a little delicate for them to articulate, particularly if they are young. If possible, ask your “old” nanny to help you tell the children why they are leaving, whether it’s for a new position, or to move back home, or go back to school; keep it short and simple, but tell them as much detail as is appropriate. Reassure them that they will love their nanny’s replacement in time, and that they can keep in contact with their first nanny, as long as you are comfortable with that.

3. Before hiring a candidate, get the children’s input and ideas.

Naturally the final hiring decision rests with you, but the children should feel their opinions and concerns are part of the process. Making children feel heard during this crucial time will put everyone more at ease.

4. Let them interact with the new nanny without you hovering!

You’ll want to see how a potential nanny candidate relates to your child, so by all means give them some time on their own during an interview. Later, ask your children for any and all reactions to your top choice, and listen carefully to what they say. Some comments will reflect common childhood fears, such as “will they be too strict?” while others deserve closer attention. Children rarely filter their reactions to adults if you ask them to be honest, so seize this opportunity, before making your final decision, to learn how they’re going to be with this new individual having a say in their lives

5. Be sure they understand their nanny represents your wishes.

If you’re hiring your first nanny, your children need to know that they will have all the “power” of parenthood behind them when you’re not around. Your nanny is the person who’s there, in your stead, when you can’t be, and you must clearly, and firmly, let the children know that. Your nanny is an experienced, educated child care professional, not their “friend” in the strictest sense of the word. The nanny is their advocate, their cheerleader, and their trustworthy companion in every scenario imaginable, but the nanny isn’t their buddy, and your children need to know where the boundaries are

6. Plan a day with your new nanny before they start work.

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A meal with the family, perhaps, or an outing together to the beach or a nearby park helps reveal the intricacies of this new family dynamic, and the journey you are all about to embark on together. Spending a day as a group before they begin their official duties will help everyone relax, get to know one another a little, and set the tone for this new chapter. Your nanny will appreciate this for a lot of reasons, but largely because they’ll get to see you with your children in a casual setting, before they become the one “enforcing” the household rules.

7. Tell your nanny everything in advance, not just emergency contacts and other necessities.

Do you insist that your youngest child nap in the afternoon at one o’clock, and that at four o’clock your eldest is responsible for practicing a half an hour of piano? These are the details you should write down and pass on, along with all the other “best practices” of your home. Try to envision every scenario they might encounter the first day on the job, and plan for it. The more your nanny knows, the happier your children will be!

8. Back them up, even when you’re tempted to “take over.”

Hiring a nanny is a huge help, particularly when a mom or dad has more than one child at home and a busy career. But it can be tough to “let go of the reins” at first, because you may not be accustomed to someone else handling parental duties. Yet it’s vital that you backup your nanny when they are handling the kids as you’ve instructed. Don’t let the children do an “end run” around them, come to you, and undermine the nanny’s authority. If they see that you support their nanny, they’ll listen more!

Bringing a new individual into your home is a monumental shift, but it does not have to be awkward or tense for even one day, not if everyone is prepared, informed and ready. And of course, we at Elite Nannies will do everything in our power to make the transition a smooth one, so that you, your children and your new nanny all feel most comfortable, right from day one!