At one time, every parent faces the task of having to find a nanny or a babysitter to care for their children. In addition to finding the perfect caregiver for your family, you also have to prepare your children for the transition. Here are some tips that you may find useful when bringing in a new caregiver.
Preparing your Children
Every child will react to a new nanny differently, and in their own unique way. Some children will suffer from anxiety, anger, fear, or sadness from being separated from their parents. To help ease the pain, try:
• Talking to your children about the caregiver and why you are getting one so that they can understand.
• Have the nanny/babysitter in for a trial day to introduce the caregiver and children; give them a chance to interact with one another in the comfort of your presence.
• Consider giving them something to hold on to for you until you get back; for example, a spare set of keys.
• Have your children show the caregiver their favourite toy or something they like to help ease the introduction through any awkward moments.
Because every child is different, some may seem to truly enjoy having a new caregiver, as it’s something they can look forward to and get excited about. However, some children experience a delayed reaction to having a new caregiver, and will show the same signs of anxiety, but it may appear after a few days. Remember to always support your children throughout the process of introducing a new caregiver to them.
Another way to ease the stress of introducing a new caregiver to your family is to keep your children involved in the process. One way to do this is to continue supporting them by asking their opinion of the nanny/babysitter after the first day, and then periodically after that. This way you will be able to see your children’s view of the caregiver and how they like him/her.
Leaving your children in the care of another individual can be stressful to many parents, and your feelings will reflect upon your children. If you are hesitant, stressed, or upset about leaving, your children will sense this and possibly show the same feeling as you because they feel that you are not OK with the situation.
To make the transition easier on your children, try to be sure that you follow these tips:
• Be positive about the transition. By showing you are comfortable with the caregiver your children will trust you and feel comfortable with them.
• When leaving your children, say your goodbyes and leave right away; don’t sneak out, come back, turn around, or peek in the windows. Doing so may set your children off and leave them upset.
• Have the caregiver over for a trial day. Not only does this help the nanny/babysitter and your children, but you can oversee their interactions and feel comfortable with leaving your children with your new caregiver.
• Don’t feel as though you are being replaced by a strong bond between your nanny and your children. It is common to feel some competition with your nanny/babysitter, but a caregiver will never replace you. If your children feel attached to their caregiver, it means that he/she is providing your child with love and a sense of security; your children can never have too many people in their lives that love and support them.
In addition to preparing your children and yourself for a new caregiver, there are certain steps to take to ensure the caregiver is prepared for his or her new job. Help the nanny/babysitter ease into the transition:
• Make sure he/she follows the same schedule and rules that you have set out for your children, allowing consistency between caregivers.
• Give your nanny a tour of the house and neighbourhood, familiarize him/her with emergency procedures, and let him/her know where to locate the emergency numbers and first aid kit.
• Make sure your nanny stimulates your children but does not overwhelm them in the first weeks. Also, make sure not to enrol your children in too may activities in the early weeks; too many activities can cause stress for the children and make them upset.
By taking these suggestions into consideration when hiring a caregiver, you can make the transition period easier on your children, you, and the nanny/babysitter, helping to create a happy, successful relationship with your caregiver.
Guest Post by the founder of CanadianNanny.ca, Martha Scully.
Martha and her team have helped thousands of parents find childcare across Canada for over 10 years. In 2011 she added Adult/Senior/Elder Care, Housekeeping and Pet Care services to Canadiannanny.ca, giving families one place to find all their care needs. Just like other moms, in her spare time she is a taxi driver, teacher, cook and housekeeper to her two daughters, Sophie and Charlotte. She has been featured on CanadaAM, in Today’s Parent, the Globe & Mail, as well as being selected as the 2008 SavvyMom Entrepreneur of the Year. For more information, please visit www.canadiannanny.ca. To contact Martha, please email email@example.com or phone 1-866-221-7918.