Sunday, August 1, 2010
August To-Do List: Resolve to Simplify, to Focus, and to Get Real
Happy New (school) Year!
Happy New Year? What? We know that it is August, not January. But, for the nanny and au pair, August or early September is the start of the New Year --- a new school year for your charges.
New challenges, new anxieties, and new opportunities. And a good time for a nanny and au pair to make resolutions.
1. Slow Down & Get Organized:
You will need to help the kids get organized for school and help them successfully complete homework. Click here to see how to set up a homework schedule.
Perhaps the small things are slowing you down, like having to hunt for keys, homework, or crayons every day. Or, the bigger issues, like overlapping schedules, too many after school activities, or parents always coming home late. You should resolve to look at these frustrations with a desire to solve the problems in a way that allows you to be attentive to the kids and not be bound to the petty inconveniences of a mundane life.
2. Balancing Your Life Will Help the Kids and Parents:
Alter behaviors that are obstacles to your ability to do the important things in your life and in your job. You hustle and take shortcuts to cope with the pace and complexity of your life and the lives of your charges. The challenge is to figure how to balance activities so the frustrations are reduced and the end results are better. At the end of the day, good results equal a contented nanny, happy and healthy kids, and satisfied parents.
3. Focus On the Positive:
The next easy-to-do resolution is to focus on the things that are important to you, the family you work for, and to those you love. Keep your priorities straight. Don't fret about dirty dishes parents have left in the sink, messy playrooms, or even some bad table manners by kids during dinner. Instead, focus on those things that keep the kids happy, healthy, and safe.
4. Get Real with Your E-Gadgets:
Not every email, IM, or phone call is vital and does not require an urgent or an immediate response. Do not be a victim of false urgency. Distractions that are meaningless can also be dangerous. Get real determining what need your attention. Both you and the kids should avoid sensory overload and over stimulation. When you multitask you are doing many things poorly at the same time. Instead, concentrate on doing things well and efficiently. We have posted articles about nannies using cell phones on the job. Some nanny placement agency staff are asking their nanny candidates to no longer use cell phones (unless for an emergency) while working. The children's safety is most important. Don't use the cell phone if it distracts you from the children.
5. Nurture Your Relationship with the Parents as Much as the Kids:
Although your top priority as a nanny or au pair is the care you provide for the children, you must meet the needs of the parents to keep your job. Gossiping to your friends about the problems with your job won't improve working conditions. You must communicate with the parents directly if you are having problems.
Click here to see how to speak to your employers. Remember that when a parent confides in you, treat the information as a secret. Gossiping will hurt your reputation and possibly your job.
6. Your Goal is to Be the Best Nanny You Can Be:
Being efficient and putting the kids first goes a long way to achieving that goal. Resolve to appraise your actions now. This is not just about time management, this is about relationship management.
Do you look into their eyes when you speak to children and adults?