Recently at KiwiOz Nannies London we were asked this question by a concerned parent:
'My nanny is from overseas and I think she's finding it hard fitting in.
She's very punctual and does what she's asked around the home, but doesn't talk to us much. I think she's homesick or maybe just doesn't like working for our family? It's not great for the children who are a bit quiet around her.'
For me questions like this always pose more questions- for example does the nanny speak English as a first language? Does this behaviour match up with what the references said? Did you do a thorough induction with the nanny to help her feel comfortable around the family home?
The very fact that you've asked this question tells me that you probably a good employer and a nice person. You're clearly concerned about the impact this is having not only on your family, but on the nanny as well.
The transition period
I like to remind parents that the first couple of months of a placement are what I call the 'critical trust building phase.' You, your children and your nanny are experiencing change, fear and doubt.
These are natural emotions to feel at the start of a new relationship with someone who holds such an integral role in your household. It is not having these emotions, but how you manage them, that determines the relationships ongoing success.
Go back to the beginning
If you're feeling like your nanny isn't settling, go back to square one. Call the referees again and let them know your concerns- ask them if the nanny was withdrawn for them in the beginning, and how they worked through it.
If the nanny is simply shy it may take her longer to feel comfortable in your home. Perhaps she needs more space to spend time with the children having fun (without you watching) to really let her hair down.
Ask your nanny to sit down and together review your induction guide. Have you given your nanny enough information about your family boundaries? Have you let her know she is welcome to participate more and be herself?
It could be an option to do something together without the children there- this would help you and your nanny bond and may improve her confidence. Even a casual coffee stop could do the trick!
Don't forget to ask the nanny about her home, family and interests- you could get the kids to do an activity day based around the nannies life- draw pictures of your family home for the nanny to send home to her parents, bake a cake together to welcome the nanny and take some photos for her to share with her friends.
Help find your nanny a support community
It's likely your nanny will grow in confidence as she feels more settled into her routine and private life away from your family. Does she have any/ many friends or a nanny social group yet?
With the internet there are a lot more options now for your nanny to meet other local nannies in her area. Google local nanny groups and don't forget agencies such as KiwiOz Nanny Agency London organise nanny meetups and support groups to help their nannies settle in.
Good luck with your nanny!
If you have a nanny issue and would like some impartial, anonymous advice via our blog, simply contact Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org and keep an eye on our blog posts and Facebook page!
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