30 Sep The nanny bond
When you first hire a nanny you might have two concerns. The first is, what if my child doesn’t like her? And the second … what if they like her too much?
It’s a bit of a catch-22 situation. You really want your child to bond with the nanny, after all, she is going to be spending a lot of time with your precious one and you want them to be happy, comfortable and feel safe. But of course, no one wants their child to like someone else better than them, and some parents can end up feeling a bit jealous if their child becomes too attached to the nanny. So how do you encourage a strong bond between your child and nanny, while also keeping on top of your own emotions about it?
The first step is to ensure the child-nanny bond has formed, and then you can sort out how to deal with that after. Here are some tips for helping to cement that bond:
Be positive and excited
When it is time for the nanny to arrive in the morning, make sure you show a lot of enthusiasm and excitement. A child will pick up on your feelings very quickly, so if you are hesitant about the nanny arriving, or cold towards her, they will know. They may get the impression from you that the nanny is not someone they can trust and you don’t want that.
If your nanny is going to be a live-in nanny, get the kids involved in the excitement of her arrival to your home by having them help make a ‘welcome’ sign or bake a cake for her. They will understand that the nanny arriving is a good thing, not something to be fearful of.
Reduce extra responsibilities
The main way a child will bond to anyone is: time. Simply spending time with them will be what wins them over in the end. Help your nanny focus on your children by reducing her extra responsibilities, especially when she first arrives. Try to keep the cooking, cleaning and any other errands to a minimum to start with so she can spend quality time with the children instead. Once the bond is formed, you can start increasing her responsibilities bit by bit – but make sure this method has been discussed up front with your nanny before she starts, so she isn’t taken by surprise with the new responsibilities.
Plan exciting outings
Encourage the nanny to take the children outside of the house to do exciting new things, such as joining a bubs playgroup or visiting the zoo. This will help your child create fun and warm memories with the nanny, and will also mean the child will be excited for the nanny’s arrival each day.
Include the nanny
Always give the nanny a chance to attend important family events, such as the child’s birthday or special milestones. Remember that a nanny may not be able to attend as she will have her own social commitments, but it is nice to let your child know that the nanny is an important part of the family and welcome at all events and occasions. If your child views the nanny as an extension to the family, they will bond with her more easily.
Commit to the nanny if possible
Where possible, try to go for a long-term nanny. This may not always be possible due to many factors, but if you go into the partnership with the intention of it being short-term your child will soon pick up on this, and will stop forming bonds if they know each new nanny won’t be around for long anyway.
Once your child has formed a bond with the nanny, it is very normal for a mother (or father) to have feelings of jealousy over the relationship. It is hard not to care when you come home from a long day at work and find your child cries for the nanny when she leaves. But here are some tips to making this transition easier for you:
Treat your relationship with your nanny like the partnership that it is. She isn’t there to threaten your position in the family. A nanny’s role is to be there when you can’t be, which should be a reassurance to you, not a threat.
Don’t take it out on her
If you are feeling insecure about your role and the relationship between your nanny and child, don’t take it out on her. Aside from it not being fair on the nanny (they are just doing their job after all), your child will pick up on the tension and this will cause confusion for them. In some cases, the child may get angry with you, which is the exact opposite outcome you were going for.
Sometimes it’s hard to be rational when the pull of emotions takes over. But just remember, children have huge hearts and an amazing capacity to love a lot of people. There is room in your child’s life to bond with both you and your nanny. If they adore the nanny this is great news as it means your child is lucky to have a good relationship with them, and it certainly doesn’t mean they love you any less.
Increase your bond
You may not have a choice about working, or you might be doing it because you want to, but there are still things you can do to keep a strong bond with your child when you are home.
When you get home, make an effort to chat to your child about the day they’ve had and take an interest in what they have to say. Call them during the day when you can, even if they are just a baby, because hearing your voice will make them happy. And always make sure your weekends include some quality time with your child.