Taking Care of the Person Who Cares for Your Child
Taking care of someone’s children can be a thankless job, but it doesn’t have to be.
By Angela Jordan-Chetcuti
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Taking care of other people’s children has sometimes been a thankless and difficult job. Parents can be pretty obnoxious. There, I said it. The truth has set me free! I have had more problems with parents than I have ever had with the children. Over the span of 13 years, you can imagine that I have worked for some interesting families. Some were horrible and treated me as a second class citizen. Others were so amazing that I still keep in contact with them to this day.
If you have a nanny, babysitter or daycare provider, consider this a crash course for how to treat them. Lesson one; the three titles I listed are not the same job.
A nanny is someone who has chosen to take care of children as a career. They have taken child development courses, studied child psychology and want to be a part of your family, in your home. She will be someone who will possibly be with your family from the birth of your child until they start kindergarten or later. They will do your child’s laundry, cook them meals, clean up after them and love them like your child was their own. Part of a nanny’s job is to play a supporting role in your family. Anything that a nanny can do to make a family run more smoothly, should be done. That being said, your nanny should not be mopping your hardwood floors or dusting your bookcase. That is a job for you or a housekeeper.
A babysitter is usually someone younger who comes to your house on an occasional basis to care for your child/children while you have a date night, run errands or to play with your child while you get some things done around your house. They may have taken a babysitter training course or first aid and CPR. They should never be asked to do anything other than maybe feeding your child a meal (which you have already prepared) or cleaning up after a meal or play time. They are really only there to watch your child for a short period of time.
A daycare provider is comparable to a nanny, but provides care outside of your home - usually at a daycare facility or in their own home. Like a nanny, they will feed your child, do activities with them and love them. But they will not be in your home to do the laundry, run errands or play a supporting role in your family. Daycares have more children to care for, so there won’t be as much individualized attention as a nanny would provide.
Please don’t ever call your nanny or daycare provider a babysitter. Your nanny has chosen this as their career, and to call them a babysitter demeans what they have worked so hard to accomplish. I’m not saying that babysitters don’t deserve respect. I’m simply saying that the 14 year old next door neighbor, who pops in to play with your child for a few hours, is not the same as the nanny/caregiver with a B.A in Early Childhood Development.
No matter who you have taking care of your child/children, you should, above all else, respect them. They have taken on the job of caring for another human being. Your child’s life is in their hands. That is a huge responsibility. They take on the parenting role when you are not able to be there.
Here are just a few things that you can do to show your caregiver that you respect them and appreciate them:
1). Tell them. Nothing is better than hearing “thank you.” When you acknowledge that they did something that really helped you out or that you appreciate that they love your child, it’s nice for your caregiver to hear it.
2). Be on time. There is nothing worse than sitting and waiting for a parent to come home at the end of what can sometimes be a very long day, and have them be late. I can appreciate that sometimes there is traffic or your boss stopped you in the hall and talked your ear off. It happens. But at the very least, you should make a phone call letting her know that you are running late. And please don’t forget to apologize. We do have our own lives after work and even though your day has ended, ours doesn’t until you get home.
3). The gift of time. How about surprising them by letting them off an hour or two early? Realistically, it will only cost you an hour or two of pay, but to your caregiver, it could mean so much more. She may be able to go and get a pedicure or actually hit the grocery store before the rest of the after work-crowds.
4). Holidays and occasions. Please don’t forget them on their birthdays or holidays. A nice present or a bonus is always appreciated. Chances are your caregiver gives your child/children presents on their birthday or holidays, so please don’t forget to do the same for them.
No matter who you have caring for your child, please realize that they have a rewarding but sometimes difficult job. Think about how your children make you feel sometimes and then realize that they love your child without even giving birth to or being related to them! So please help to make their job slightly better by respecting them and understanding just what they mean to you and your family.
I have always said happy parents, happy children, but I also believe if you keep your child’s caregiver happy, your children will benefit tenfold!