Sunday, October 9, 2011

Interview Questions

Interview Questions:
Interview Questions from the National Association of Nannies

1)      Is this a live-in or live-out position?

2)      What is the starting date?

3)      Do you see this as a long-term position?

4)       Parents’ occupations?

5)      Do you work outside the home ,or from your home?

6)      If the parents work at home, you need to set up guidelines for how to handle things 
when you and they are there at the same time.

7)       Are other adults, besides the parents, living in the home?

8)      Children’s names and ages?

9)       What are the children’s interests and hobbies?

10)   Please describe your home and the area where you live.

11)    Is there a house alarm, gated entry or other system that requires a code?

12)   Do you anticipate moving in the near future?

13)    Do you plan to have more children in the near future?

14)   Will your nanny receive a raise when you have another baby, or

extra pay for extra children?

15)    Do you have pets?

16)   Do you plan to get any pets?

17)   What are nanny’s responsibilities regarding animals?

18)    What are your household rules?

19)    Can your nanny have guests? Such as nannies and moms with age-appropriate 
children for play dates.

20)   Can your nanny have friends visit or spend the night during off time?

21)    Are any rooms in your house that are off limits to children or nanny?

22)   Is there any sort of dress code for nanny at work (i.e., no jeans)?

23)    Do the children or the parents have allergies I should be aware of?

24)   Special dietary needs?

25)    What is your discipline plan or child rearing philosophy?

26)   What values do you want taught and reinforced in your children?

27)    What religion are you, and how do you expect your nanny to participate in the child’s 
religious teaching?

28)   How does your religion affect your daily life?

29)   What is your position on videotaping

30)  Hours

31)    What hours and days do you want Nanny to work?

32)   Are these hours flexible, or does 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. mean precisely 8-6?

33)    Will your nanny be expected to work evenings or weekends?

34)  Schedule

35)    What is the daily schedule of your typical day?

36)   How might your schedule change?

37)   Will your schedule change during the summer, over Christmas, etc?

38)    Will Nanny’s job description change along with a change in schedule?

39)    If so, how, and when?

(Example: Summer vs. school year.)

40)   Who makes the children’s schedules?

41)   - Parents, nanny, or is setting their schedule a combined effort?

42)   • What’s your procedure for spontaneous


Do you want Nanny to check in with you, leave a note or phone message, or is this

not an issue?

43)   •Do you want a daily journal or log kept?

(what happened today)?

44)   Will there be a nanny workstation - i.e. desk, area for files, bulletin board, monthly 
calendar, computer with high-speed Internet connection?


45)    How would you describe the “ideal nanny”?

46)   Define your idea of your nanny’s role in your family.

47)    What are Nanny’s responsibilities as they relate to children?

48)    Are non-child-related tasks and responsibilities a part of the job you want performed?

49)   Laundry? -  For children? For parents?

50)   Who makes and changes the children’s bedding?

51)    Who plans the meals, cooks, and shops for groceries?

52)   Will the nanny cook for the children, parents, or family?

53)   Who purchases the children’s clothes, toys, and supplies?

54)    What financial arrangements will be made to facilitate the shopping?

55)    Is there other household help?

56)   Who supervises them?

57)    Will I be expected to take the children to doctor appointments, music lessons, classes?

58)  Car

59)    Is a car provided? Is the car available for the nanny’s personal use, or only for use 

she is on duty? Will the vehicle

60)   be shared with the parents?

61)    Will your nanny be expected to use her own car? If yes, who will pay costs for 
insurance, maintenance and gas?

62)    How is your nanny covered by insurance?

63)  Travel

64)    Do you travel?

65)    Will your nanny be expected to travel with you?

66)   What is the pay rate for me traveling with your family?

67)    Taxes?

68)   Health insurance?

69)    IRA?

70)   Retirement benefits?

71)    Paid Holidays?

72)   Work holidays?

73)   Professional days?

74)    Childcare related classes and conferences?

75)    Gym membership?

76)   Separate phone provided?

77)   Will you provide me with a cell phone or pager, or will you pay my monthly bill if I get 
one for myself? It will be to the family’s benefit that their nanny have a cell phone.)

78)  Sick Pay

79)   Paid sick days?

80)    How many?

81)    What is your backup childcare plan if I am sick or on vacation?

PAY and Benefits

82)   Will I be paid hourly or  salary?

83)   Is the salary you are offering a net figure or a gross amount?

84)   Will you be doing my taxes or using a tax service?

85)    I’d like to spend some time with your children before I make a decision; is this ok with 

86)    Are you willing to sign a work agreement with me that includes a 90-day trial period?


87)    is extremely important for nannies and their employers. Are you willing to meet with me 
on a regular basis so we can discuss how things are going?

88)   Will I receive an evaluation from you, and raises on a yearly or bi-yearly basis?

89)    Will I receive severance pay if I am terminated early?


90)   How many vacation days do I receive a year?

91)   Are those taken at the time of my choice or your choice?

92)   How much notice will I receive or should I give regarding vacation?

93)   When you vacation beyond my allotted time off and I am not traveling with you, will you 
still pay me?

Questions for Live-In Nannies

94)    What accommodations are provided for Nanny (room, bath,.)?

95)    If your nanny is in a separate apartment, how will grocery expenses be handled?

96)   Who is responsible for cleaning Nanny’s area, and by what standards?

97)   What are Nanny’s days off?

98)   Are there any household rules Nanny or the children must observe on Nanny’s days 

99)   How does activities on nanny’s day off effect the households flow?

100)  Do you have animals? What are nanny’s responsibilities regarding animals?

101)     Who will cover Nanny’s moving expenses to your hometown if she accepts this 

102) Who will cover moving expenses when the position is completed?

Better Nanny Interviews

Better Nanny Interviews
By Karen Braschayko

You're ready for your nanny job interview. You're on time, resume
and portfolio in hand, thinking about your childcare style and
trying to feel out if this family will be a good match.

Yet, you're nervous. What will they ask this time?

Any nanny who has been to a few interviews knows that she is in for
anything. From boyfriends to STD tests to our childhoods, parents
and agencies ask nannies questions that are illegal in other realms.

Agency applications often contain similarly invasive questions. Do
you have any disabilities or congenital defects? Have these test
results filled out by your physician and returned to us with your
application. Will you submit to an HIV test? What medications do you
take? Have you ever been depressed? Have you ever been in an abusive

Many nannies feel violated. We are neglectful child abusers, guilty
until proven innocent. These questions can put a nanny on trial for
her personal life and never allow her to display professional

Often, parents focus on personal issues and never reach the heart of
the matter: what will this caregiver actually do with my child all

"They are too worried about whether or not I wear contacts to ask
about what I will feed their child," said a nanny in Kansas City,

Our profession is unlike any other. We are in someone's home, having
unsupervised contact with their children, their possessions and
their lives. Families rely on us, and a disruption in our lives
means a disruption in theirs. I absolutely want nannies screened
properly, better than we are now.

But the interview process can be degrading. I often ask myself: I
may love my job, but why do I subject myself to this? I have
multiple credentials, excellent references and 13 years of
experience with children, so why are people asking me if I have a

Why are we talking about my childhood, when the real issue is what
kind of childhood do you want for your child?

With a little forethought and care, parents can find out what they
need to know, and agencies can help them find the right way to ask.

Plan First
So often I arrive at an interview and the parents have no idea where
to start. They are even unclear about what a professional nanny
does. Many parents ask invasive questions because they are new to
the process, understandably nervous and have not planned. Agencies
should guide clients to prepare.

Agencies screen nannies at different levels. Parents should find
exactly what an agency has done to select nanny candidates and what
background checks have been performed. From there, they can decide
where to focus.

Center on the aspects of having a nanny that matter most. What kind
of care do you want your child to receive? What do you want to
happen in your home each day?

Consider the qualities you would like in a nanny, and rank them.
What is your childcare style? A boisterous nanny may fit better than
a quiet one. Do you require an active nanny to swim with the
children, or a nanny with experience in music? Is a nanny a student
or a skilled caregiver? Should she spend every moment with the
children, or hang back and allow free play? Will she be a member of
the family, or would you prefer professional reserve? Would you like
a nanny with child development education, or a Montessori bias? Will
her infant care style fit with yours?

Discuss all aspects of daily care. Discipline, nutrition and
exercise are central topics. Ask how she deals with specific medical
emergencies, and if she treats a fever. If your child has a medical
condition, find out if she is knowledgeable and would follow proper
treatment. If she will be driving your children in her vehicle, ask
how she maintains it.

Will your nanny travel with you? It's not necessary to find out if
she is married if she is willing to be away from home for long
periods of time. If she is willing to commit to a one-year contract,
it's likewise not necessary to ask if she is planning to have a baby
anytime soon.

Once you have the vital topics, think of ways to ask. Are there
questions that would offend you if you were being interviewed? You
certainly need to protect your children and ask the questions that
will make you comfortable. But if you are going to ask a question
that would be illegal in a different employment situation, explain
why you would like to know and ask in a job-specific way.

Provide a statement of values for your children. Rather than asking
a nanny about her religion, tell her what religious base you provide
and ask her if she can support those beliefs. If you need a nanny
who is available on Sunday, ask if she is willing to work rather
than if she attends church. Draft the basic rules of your household.
In one family children may jump all over the furniture, while in
another running is punished. Rules vary widely, and you should let a
caregiver know what they are.

If the nanny will live in your home, think through the aspects of
having a new roommate that may bother you. Set rules accordingly.
Rather than ask your nanny if she is having sex with her boyfriend,
let her know that you do not allow overnight guests. Let the
potential nanny know what kind of behavior you expect in your home
and if you do not allow alcohol. Talk with other families who have
had a live-in nanny, research possible issues and stop them before
they occur.

A Nanny's Childhood
I have been asked often what my parents do for a living. How does
that matter to my job as a nanny, now that I am an adult? Even if my
parents had not gone to college, I have now gone to graduate school.
It baffles me when a potential employer asks what kind of house I
lived in or if my parents are divorced.

Parents often want to know about a nanny, "What kind of economic
status did her parents have? What is her cultural background?" If
social graces matter, ask about those instead.

A nanny cannot change what sort of family she was born into. She
should be judged for her choices now, not those of her parents. Ask
how a nanny continues her education and how she encourages learning
in children. Ask her where she takes children during the day, and
how often she reads to them.

Many parents and agencies would like to know even more about a
nanny's childhood, "Was she abused? How did her parents discipline?"
The cycle of child abuse is a dangerous one, and too many abusive
nannies have cared for children and perpetuated the cycle.

But many nannies go through dozens of interviews per year. Answering
such a personal, intrusive question is arduous.

If a caregiver has a long, glowing career and a well-developed
childcare perspective, does her childhood really matter anymore? If
she has let you know that she strongly opposes spanking and
precisely why, do you need to know if she was abused? Should she
have to talk about it yet again?

Instead, find out the depth of a nanny's knowledge about discipline.
Has she ever hit a child? Ask what she would do if your child ran
into the road, or if your infant would not stop crying and she felt
angry. Ask about a situation from the past and how she would manage
it differently now. Ask how she would discipline a two year old for
hitting verses a ten year old. Find out how she would ideally
discipline a child if no rules were set.

Think through the responses you would like to hear. A good nanny
will let you know that she is human, but she does her best to deal
with the situation. She should have reasonable expectations of child

I have been asked more times than I can count if I am going to have
children. This is a delicate question. Some of the best caregivers I
have known did not wish to have children of their own. And, like me,
some nannies are not capable of having children. This question can

Instead, find out the candidate's motivation. Ask how she chose this
profession, and why she has continued. Ask what her favorite aspects
of the job are, and the most challenging. Ask what strengths and
weaknesses she has as a nanny.

A Nanny's Health
A nanny is alone with children, and her health matters for their
safety. A parent should be aware of a serious condition, such as
heart disease. Parents should know how a diabetic controls her
condition, if an individual with epilepsy can safely drive or about
life-threatening allergy. I would think a parent remiss for not
respectfully asking these questions.

But there is a big difference between asking, "Do you have any
health conditions that affect your ability to care for children?"
and "What medications do you take?" Would a parent feel comfortable
telling his employer the medicines in his cabinet? Many private
medical concerns will never affect nanny work.

Drug and alcohol abuse are serious matters. Has your nanny been in
treatment for an addiction? Substance abuse often repeats, so this
is important information to have. But you can learn a lot from a
nanny's employment history. If a nanny has been on time and had few
sick days, chances are that she will also be a consistent employee
for you.

Eating disorders can affect children. Their attitudes about food are
modeled and shaped by those around them. Find out your nanny's views
on nutrition, and what she believes in teaching children about
eating. What is a typical lunch for her to prepare? How often does
she offer vegetables? How would she help a child who was becoming

Fitness is also important, but ask in a job-specific way. Will a
nanny be able to safely lift a 30-pound child into a crib? Ask how
much physical activity she provides each day, and ask about her
favorite outdoor activities for children. Appearances can be
deceiving. Finding out an individual's views is a better plan.

Asking if a nanny has any physical limitations that affect her
ability to care for children is one thing. "Do you have any
disabilities or congenital defects?" is another. As someone who
cares about the fair and respectful treatment of others, this
question offends me.

One agency owner has placed a nanny several times who has an arm
severed above the elbow.

"She does a great job even with infants," she said.

Attention Deficit Disorder and mental health are also key. A nanny
with untreated bipolar disorder may not provide consistent care, but
a nanny who occasionally suffers from depression and gets
appropriate help may do a terrific job. If this issue is important
to you, ask respectfully and let the nanny know why. Speak with
references in depth about the quality and consistency of childcare
the nanny provided.

The number of agency applications and families asking for HIV tests
amazes and offends me. The risk is miniscule that a child could
contract HIV from a caregiver, but the risk is great that a child
will later develop skin cancer due to inconsistent care. Yet I am
never asked if I keep children out of the midday sun or apply
sunscreen every two hours.

Personal Life
I was recently asked during a phone interview, "Why aren't you
married yet?" I diverted the conversation, but I wanted to
scream, "Because he DIED. Why does that matter?"

I was also told in an interview, "You've entered domestic service,
so you need to be honest about anything I ask." That one I laughed
at. And of course I declined to go any farther with the interview.

Should these things matter when choosing a nanny? Certainly not as
much as the care your child will be receiving. Sometimes parents are
simply curious, but assessing a nanny for childcare skills is far
more important than personal choices.

Asking the last five articles a nanny has read and how she spends
her free time can be innocuous ways to find out more about her.
Hobbies are an import clue, and a perfectly acceptable topic.

If you are concerned about the people a nanny may expose your
children to, let her know that you would like to meet any friends or
family first.

It is imperative to ask a nanny if there are any situations in her
life that may affect your children's or your family's safety. It is
a rare occurrence, but it is possible that someone may wish your
nanny harm.

An agency owner related this story: "We had a nanny placed - her
background check was perfect and she was doing a great job for the
family when her husband showed up at the house one day and beat her
up and even pulled a gun on her in front of the children. It was
horrific. If we or the parents had asked her if she had any spousal
or boyfriend problems we would have been aware of this character
(she had reported him for domestic violence previously) and probably
learned that they were going through a messy divorce and no longer
living together. Maybe she would have gotten the job and maybe the
parents would have warned her to not give their address to anyone or
to let anyone into their home. No one asked and on one knew about

Reverse Questions
Encourage a potential nanny to ask questions about your family, and
be open when answering reasonable ones. The initial interview is as
much an interview for the employer as it is for the nanny. An
experienced nanny will have an idea about the kind of family that is
a good match for her. A nanny might prefer to work for a family that
does not use physical discipline, or may not be comfortable with
certain religious values.

Just as you will be putting your faith in a nanny, she is also
relying on you. A nanny has to protect herself from sexual
harassment, abuse, marital problems and families who don't pay. An
unreliable employer can damage a nanny's credit or reputation,
affecting her life for years. Even on a basic level, inconsistent
hours and last minute changes affect our personal lives,
appointments, college classes and budgets.

Be open with the nanny about any potential difficulties within your
family. A pending divorce, a move, even home renovations will
greatly affect her work life, and she deserves to know. Encourage
her to talk with any former nannies and babysitters.

There are topics to cover for the benefit of both sides. But there
is a way to do it without being unkind. With a little thought, both
parties can find out what they need to know while respecting
individual privacy.

Parents and agencies should be reminded that a nanny is a person,
not a domestic servant drafted into not having a life or feelings.
Allowing a nanny to be a professional and to display her hard-earned
knowledge is a much better use of interview time.

Raising the level of interview questions is crucial to legitimizing
the nanny profession. Keeping the good nannies and weeding out the
bad depends on better, more accurate interviews. Let's start asking
the right questions, and leave the meddling ones behind.

Karen Braschayko is a nanny and freelance writer in Ypsilanti,

BMW Vs. Hyundai

BMW vs. Hyundai 
                                                            By Marni Kent

First, to those of you who drive a Hyundai, I am not making light or passing judgement on what type of vehicle you may drive. Good, now that you know I am by no means a automobile enthusiast, we can expound on my aforementioned comparison.

Since my arrival here in the Sunshine State, I’ve had the sometimes pleasure, and sometimes pain of having to endure the arduous interview process. I know a lot of you, like me, from time to time have left these interviews with a sense of bewilderment and inexplicable disbelief. Agencies in large part have all of our best interests at heart. However, they also have a business to run with the end result being the “ bottom line “. What this means to you and me, is that while most agencies do their level best to place us with the right family, sometimes the nanny and the client’s best interest get’s overlooked in an effort to meet their economic business demands. This brings me to my automotive point of view. I, like many of you, have car shopped and purchased a variety of different vehicles over the years. Generally, I do my budget and car pricing homework before I venture out shopping. I know well in advance if I can afford that BMW or Hyundai. Additionally, I know about standard and optional equipment. That said, too many times I have interviewed with client families who want every option under the sun but are only willing to pay for the standard model. In many of these instances the agency was the primary component in this misinformation. The agency, like the initial car salesman has to sell you to the prospective client. Unfortunately, like car buying half truths and embellishment is too often the order of the day. So if I am well armed with critical information I will not find myself in the wrong dealership, right. Not so fast, frustration is only one of many emotions I feel when I get in the middle of an interview and I hear this famous phrase,“ salary is not an issue.”  Whatever your feelings are when and if you hear that phrase just be sure your sitting down because in my twenty years in this business I have only once had that statement be the case. Too many times erroneous salary needs and the budget of the prospective client are like buying that BMW or Hyundai. If the agency and the nanny are conveying accurate information, either verbal or written, these time consuming mishaps won’t happen. If the client cannot afford that BMW type nanny, then don’t waste everyone’s time by sending her to a Hyundai budget family who has no hope of hiring her due to their budgetary constraints. Nanny window shopping tends to erode the clients confidence and heighten their anxiety about finding the right nanny.
In closing, be passionate about what we do, but also be prepared, and always do your best to get into the right dealership.                 

Surviving a Bad Reference

Surviving a Bad Reference by Glenda Propst
Recently, a good friend emailed me for advice on what to do.
 She had decided to leave her "not so great job" and try to find a new family.
She called her agency, filled out the paperwork, listed her references and waited for the phone to start to ring.
She went on a few interviews but nothing came of any of them. Even the ones where she felt she really connected with the parents never called her back.
Finally, one day her agency called and asked her if she knew that her former employers were giving her a bad reference. She had been with the family for 2 years, and even though things were not perfect, she could not believe the parents were giving her a bad reference.
She asked me for advice, and I turned to my panel of experts, a list for parents, nannies and agencies that I moderate for Yahoogroups.
Not only did I get great feedback, but I found that this is something that happens to nannies often, with and sometimes without their knowledge.
Most of the parents said that if a nanny had been with a family for 2 years, and the parents had kept her employed, they often felt that was a sign that things were not as bad as they had indicated and the length of employment spoke for itself. They also said that they checked all the nanny's references before making a final decision and that often times that was the only bad reference they got. If that was the case, they would not let that keep them from hiring the nanny. They also said when they specifically asked what the problem with the nanny was, the problems were most often not related to the care they gave the children.
The nannies and the parents all said that honesty is the best policy. It is never good to start a trust based relationship with a lie.
If the nanny knows that the parents are giving her a bad reference, and not using the reference would create a big gap in her work history, it is best to be honest and say that this was not a good family match but that she loved the children and that was why she stayed.
The nanny should always take the high road and even when confronted with what the former employer is saying, say only as much as is absolutely necessary and refrain from opening up to any potential employer about the personal lives of former employers just to expose the real picture of what went on there to justify your exit.
There are other ways to get reference from previous jobs besides using the parents. If the children went to pre-school, or school, you might be able to get the teachers to write a short letter of reference. They could simply state your time of employment and their observation of your interaction with the children. Sometimes in situations like this you can use a neighbor, a soccer coach, etc.
When you list your references, list your good references first with contact information.
List your bad reference on the sheet and when the potential employer questions the lack of contact information you can simply say that they were upset when you left and so are not giving you the best reference. so when they contact them, if they focus on your childcare abilities, then you are sure that they will get a better reference.
When a former employer is slandering you, you do of course have a choice to take legal action but if you are a nanny that has other good references, that should be your very last option. Sometimes legal action will only make a bad situation worse and even if you stop them from slandering you, you may very well put an end to your nanny career.
You can never go wrong taking the high road, but refrain from trying to get "even" with your former employer because in the  long run, it will only hurt you.
Always project the most professional image you possibly can.

Growing as a Professional

Growing as a Professional by:           Glenda Propst

bulletHow do you feel about what you do?
bulletDo you see yourself as a professional?
bulletHow do your employers treat you?
bulletHow do your employers' friends and family treat you?
Many of our feelings of self worth come from our employers. How you see yourself has a lot to do with how others treat you. Whether you realize it or not, people do see you, and they watch you. It may be a friend of your employer who recognizes the children, or it may just be someone who knows you are a nanny. Everywhere you go -- the grocery store, the mall, the dry cleaner, the park -- you never know where you're going to meet someone whom you know or someone who knows you.
You may be the only nanny someone knows. You are a representative of nannies everywhere. We owe it to each other to always conduct ourselves as professionals, no matter where we are.
I know it's hard to feel professional when you have no office, wear casual clothes to work, and get paid to read books, play peek-a-boo, and go to the zoo. We have no lunch hour except naptime (which our charges eventually outgrow). There is no one in the next room to whom we can run over and tell a joke, and our real bosses are usually under the age of five! As important as our work is, it's extremely isolating and lonely at times. A nanny who is not happy is not going to do a very good job. It's important for you to take care of yourself and to make sure your needs are met.
Nannies need to have a life outside of their job. Nannies also need to find other nannies with whom they can network. No one understands your frustrations like a nanny does; not because they don't want to, but because they don't do what you do. Nannies can offer support to each other and can help each other work out solutions to problems.
We all came to this road on a different path. No matter what brought you to this profession, whether you went to nanny school or just had childcare experience, finding a job was only the beginning of being a nanny. If you want to learn and grow as a professional, you must work on your professional development.
It's important to keep abreast of what's going on in the field of child care and child development. There are several ways you can do this:
bulletRead Child Care Books.
bulletTake a class. Many local hospitals have First Aid and CPR classes.
bulletJoin NAEYC, the local affiliate offers many excellent workshops relating to different areas of child care, and community colleges offer child development classes.
bulletTake an assertiveness training class
bulletJoin a professional organization
bulletIf you have access to a computer, check out the Internet. There are web pages for nannies, nanny message boards, and even nanny chat rooms.
The more you know about your profession, the more secure you'll be in who you are. When you see yourself as a professional ... others will too

Communication by Glenda Propst

Communication Article by Glenda Propst
Good relationships must have a foundation. Communication is the foundation of a good employer/employee relationship. Communication begins with the first interview, and is an ongoing process between the nanny and the parents.

During the interview, expectations of both parties need to be clearly defined and understood.
¨ Guidelines regarding discipline must be established and agreed upon in the beginning, and they need to be refined and adjusted as the need arises.
¨ Consistency is crucial.
¨ Children need to know they can take you at your word.
¨ Children need limits. it is important for the nanny and the parents to present a united front. This means that if one of the parents has a problem with the way the nanny is disciplining, they will discuss it in private, not in front of the children.
Communication must be implemented into the daily schedule.
Some ways to do this :
¨ Notes
¨ Journals,
¨ Conversation,
¨ Phone calls throughout the day.
¨ Short talks (come 10 minutes early, stay IO minutes late)
¨ Dinner away from the house without the children (this is relaxing, non-threatening, neutral territory.
¨ Family meetings
Things to Remember:
¨ As nannies especially when we live in, we have a tendency to take everything personally.
¨ Try not take everything personally. Sometimes your employer is in a bad mood because he/she ( or they both) had a bad day, not because of something you did or did not do.
¨ Sometimes parents don't even realize that what they are doing is upsetting us.
¨ Don't assume your employer can read your mind.
¨ Say the words.
¨ Learn to stand up for yourself.
¨ When you finally have the opportunity to sit and talk to the parents about a concern or a problem, here are some suggestions for making the most of the opportunity.
¨ Be Prepared
¨ Learn to distinguish between what is important what is not important.
¨ Take time to prepare an agenda of what you want to talk about.
¨ Under each item make a list of the points you want to make.
¨ If you write it down, you will not forget anything.
¨ The other advantage to writing things down is that it sends a very clear message to your employers that his was important to you and you prepared for it.
¨ Try to balance the negative with the positive.
¨ Try to create win/win resolutions.
¨ If you present a problem, offer some solutions.
¨ Do not place blame.
¨ Keep in mind that if you have a concern or a problem it is not going to go away. You must learn to deal with it like an adult.(  isn't that one of the very important character traits you are trying to teach your charges?)
If you have a difficult time learning how to communicate effectively, take an assertiveness training class. It will be worth the time and money and it will benefit you in every area of your life for years to come.

Be A Great Communicator


  I believe that there is not a better subject than to talk about than possessing good communication skills. Communication does not happen by itself, and it certainly does not begin when you are in a position of having to renegotiate your contract, by then it’s probably too late. Remember, good communication needs to take place daily. I know this sounds redundant, but it never fails, when I have the opportunity to speak to other nannies, one of the first questions I am asked, What or how do I approach my employers about the need for changes. Contrary, to what you may think, many large corporations pay huge sums of money to outside consultants to come in to their place of business and provide detailed instruction on the importance of maintaining good and open lines of communication. As it applies to us nannies, in order to be an instrumental part of your employer’s family, you must communicate with both parents.
  This is probably going to be one of the most difficult challenges you will face when you go to renegotiate your contract. What does this mean (knowing the dynamics of the family) Basically, it means you have a clear and concise understanding of the likes, dislikes, needs and desires of the family you are working for. By possessing and maintaining a thorough working knowledge of what is important to your employer will significantly define your commitment and dedication you have to your employer. As a result, the confidence your employer has in your abilities will only be strengthened and your standards rose. Lastly, one subject that seems to be regularly overlooked is the importance is the importance of respecting your employer’s privacy. To put it simply, what is said or heard in the employer’s home needs to stay there. Don’t put yourself in a position of having to explain why you compromised your employer’s private matters.
  Once you have this understanding, it doesn’t stop there, you need to always think of better ways and ideas to accomplish daily tasks. There maybe methods and or ideas that have been successful in the past and your existing family is unaware of them, more importantly, they may have been looking for an alternative anyway. Additionally, try not to limit yourself to doing what would be considered a past practice, be a resourceful and innovative as you can possibly be.  Don’t be afraid to make suggestions to your employer, generally they will be appreciative that you put their interests first and always striving to enhance or refine day to day operations.
It’s important to select a location you are both comfortable with. However, if at all possible try and select a neutral location. By suggesting a neutral location you are hopefully creating a level playing field that is favorable to both parties. Try to and be accommodating to your employer but not intimidated. Two words, be prepared and don’t expect or assume anything. A raise or contract renewal is not an entitlement, it is earned. To this end, have all your ducks in a row regarding why you have earned consideration for a raise or an extended contract.
Know how the employer will benefit from awarding you with a form of compensation and be able to articulate this to them if needed. Put yourself in your employers shoes, try to see their perspective and they will be more receptive to seeing yours. If the employer feels as though you have provided them with viable reasons to give consideration to a raise or renewal of a contract, the entire process will be smoother and equitable for all concerned. Possible issues you can bring to the table are, Wow the last year has gone quickly, bring pictures of the kids to share, reminisce about your adventures with them and smile a lot.
Bring to the table more than just a couple of options for ways to receive compensation regarding your current salary. Also be willing to offer something of yourself to the employer. It’s important to know that there are more ways to be compensated the with hourly increase i.e.; more sick days or vacation days, flex hour, vehicle allowance, one time cash bonus, just remember be flexible The most important thing to remember about this subject is be realistic, don’t over extend yourself and deliver on the agreed changes.