What is a Nanny?

What is a Nanny1

When we ask nannies what they look for in a family, we get one of two answers: to feel like part of the family, and to be treated with respect. Hearing stories about nannies who have been treated like subhumans in the household inspired us to create the Honest House Promise, our commitment to promoting and encouraging healthy work environments for nannies. When we hear these stories, the main reason we believe that parents treat nannies in this way is not out of malice or even on purpose. It is often because busy parents forget that the main responsibility of a nanny is to assist in the raising of their children. We think that taking a look at your household through the eyes of your caregiver can be a wonderful first step into forging a long lasting positive and healthy relationship.

The actions of adults are reflected in the actions of a child.

Children learn by example and if parents treat their nannies and employees with respect, children will do the same. Nannies are role models for children, leading by example and raising them to grow up to be wonderful, caring, compassionate and hardworking adults. If nannies feel uncomfortable or unsafe in a household, this affects their ability to do their job and take care of the children. Children are incredibly sensitive and can pick up on the emotional energies of adults. If they sense tension between their caregivers, they too will feel tense. And if a child sees their nanny being disrespected by their own parents, what does that teach a child about relating to others?

Remembering what a nanny is there for.

A nanny is not only hired to watch after the safety of a child. Their job description contains many roles; teacher, role model, and figure of comfort and compassion. ( link to what you can ask a nanny to do blog) Nannies are hired to step into the role of caregiver while parents are working. Their primary task is childcare. A nanny can do housekeeping but is not a housekeeper. A nanny can cook but a nanny is not a chef. Any additional household tasks take away from the ability of a nanny to provide the care needed for a child to thrive in the long term. A nanny is a nanny because they love children and in almost all cases, are very good at taking care of all of their needs, not just physical safety but emotional safety. Children require attention, love and care, not just a babysitter to ensure that they’re not eating glue or sticking their fingers in sockets. If a nanny is overworked in areas not pertaining to childcare, they have less availability to provide emotional support to a child who needs it most. If a parent is absent enough for the need of a full time nanny, that means most of the emotional bonding must come from a nanny. Studies show that rocking, cuddling, and smiling to a child greatly strengthen their neural pathways for learning through the stimulation of joy and being mirrored in an adult. Inversely, children who do not have these same interactions show smaller brains and a more difficult time learning, not to mention the effects on their self esteem. Nannies who are overworked cannot give the same kind of care to a child, therefore stunting their emotional and intellectual growth. 

Children who are actively and consistently spoken to will begin to speak earlier. Children who are read to will recognize shapes and letters earlier. An investment in a happy nanny is an investment in your child’s life and future.

A nanny is also a teacher.

Early childhood is filled with so many important milestones. Walking, talking, potty training, making friends, colors, the alphabet, shapes, feeding independently, there is so much that a child learns before they get to school. And so much they must learn in order to be prepared for it. These important building blocks for academic learning are taught by those closest to a child in their earliest stages of life. For working parents, a nanny will most likely be the one present for those most teachable moments in a child’s early development. Children who are actively and consistently spoken to will begin to speak earlier. Children who are read to will recognize shapes and letters earlier. An investment in a happy nanny is an investment in your child’s life and future.

What is an nanny

Nannying is hard work.

All parents know that raising a child is not always intuitive, nor easy. It takes patience, compassion, experience and the ability to nurture that is not naturally present in all people. Just like doctors and lawyers are experts in their field and expect to be respected and financially compensated for their expertise, nannies deserve to be regarded with the appreciation, consideration and dignity that they deserve. They deserve to ask for a raise when their job descriptions change, such as in the addition of a second child. They deserve to speak up and be heard when they are uncomfortable in a situation, just like in any other position. Just because they come to work in a home instead of an office does not disqualify them from the same human compassion dolled out around a water cooler.

Stay at home parents will tell you that caring for a child all day long is the most difficult job they have ever had. Shouldn’t the person you hire to take care of your child, engaging them, caring for them, teaching them the building blocks of life, be respected, appreciated and feel safe in your house? Take a moment to think about what life is like through the eyes of your nanny, who very likely is one of the only other people who can love your child as much as you do. Is your nanny respected? Taken care of? Do they have all that they need in order to give all that they have to the emotional, physical and intellectual development of your child? If the answer is no to any of these questions, reach out to us and we can solidify a plan to turn your situation into the best it can be. The reward is in your child’s future.

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