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Ways to Motivate Your Nanny to Provide Exceptional Care

January 29, 2013

Is your nanny consistently forgetting to pick up after she prepares meals in the kitchen? Does the children’s laundry seem to get forgotten? Do you feel like your nanny could spend more time engaging, rather than entertaining the kids? If so, she may need some serious motivation to pick up the slack.

While salary increases and bonuses are always a surefire way to encourage exceptional care, there are other things you can do that won’t cost you a dime and will benefit you and your family in the long run.

Be flexible. As much as you may not like to admit it, your nanny has a life that is completely her own. She has family, friends, personal and professional commitments that she too must devote her time and energy to. If your nanny knows you’re willing to be flexible, she’ll be more willing to schedule even the most necessary appointments around your schedule. When employers are inflexible, their nannies often end up feeling like getting time off isn’t option, so they neglect their own needs, which then results in them calling into work at the last minute to meet them out of necessity. Allowing your nanny time off to make appointments or tend to personal needs goes a long way in motivating your nanny to provide outstanding childcare.  When she feels that you are flexible, she’ll be more willing to be flexible as well.

Allow some freedom. No one really enjoys being micromanaged. While you’ll want to create a framework for your nanny to successfully follow your childrearing preferences and practices, give her a little leeway when it makes sense. Although you may want your child to play outdoors each day, perhaps you can leave it to your nanny to decide whether to take your child to the park, the playground, for a walk or in the backyard. When she feels like she’s trusted, she’ll be motivated to keep that trust.

Let her make a difference.  Give your nanny the authority to make a difference in the lives of your children and your family. Let her organize the children’s playroom or help pick out new toys and clothes for the kids. Encourage her to suggest books that they should add to the family library. Listen to her advice and suggestions when it comes to caring for your child. While you don’t have to do everything she says, simply hearing her out will make her feel like she’s respected. When she feels respected, she’ll be motivated to keep that respect.

Offer positive, purposeful praise.  Everyone likes to hear when their employer thinks they’ve done a good job. Making a positive comment about how your nanny comforted your child when he fell, how she got him to try a new food or how she helped him learn to share will boost her morale and confidence and let her know she’s appreciated. Take the opportunity to communicate with your nanny when you’ve seen her do something well. When she feels valued, she’ll be motivated to bring value.

Managing a household employee isn’t easy. Trying to conduct a business relationship in an intimate setting can be tough.  Building a relationship with your nanny that allows for continual motivation can help to not only increase the quality of care your child receives, it can also bring out the best in your employee and help deepen her dedication and commitment to her job.



2 Responses to Ways to Motivate Your Nanny to Provide Exceptional Care

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These are great suggestions to motivate a nanny. Offering praise is so important. People want to know when they’ve done a good job. And you’re right – praise is free! When I teach babysitting classes, I tell my students to be sure and relate positive behaviors to parents as well as negative. Even if the children misbehave often, it is a good idea to find a positive action or even a characteristic to mention to the parents. I think it’s a great idea to let your nanny organize the playroom and maybe even rearrange it. After all, she probably spends a lot more time in there than the parents and she may have some great ideas for a more functional set up. Nice post.

Thank you! Positive, purposeful praise goes far!