How to Ask Your Employers to Respect Your Time-Off
Yesterday we posted how to communicate with parents when problems come up. If you are a live-in nanny or au pair and the family tends not to respect your time-off here is how to use the methods described yesterday to discuss the issue with your employer.
When caregivers live under the same roof as the family that employs them children and parents often unintentionally forget to respect their nanny's time-off. It is common for children to want to play with their caregiver on the weekends. Parents often rationalize since their employee is home anyway they can just run to the grocery store really quickly. Many families may go away during the weekend but ask their au pair to care for their pets on while they aren't home, despite it being their employee's time-off.
How to bring up this topic with the parents:
Begin with something positive.
Tell the parents that you love working for them and love their children. You want to help out their family whenever you can.
Focus on positive results.
Explain that to do your best work caring for the kids during the work week, you need rest on the weekend. If you can be assured two full days off each week, you are always excited to work on Monday mornings.
Allow the parents to speak without interruption. Listen to what each person has to say with an open mind. Let go of judgmental thoughts. This allows each person to express their feelings freely and comfortably.
Be empathetic. Acknowledge each other’s feelings and concerns. You might say, "I know you are tired on the weekends and have a lot to do. I know you and your kids would never intentionally intrude on my personal space or time-off."
Talk honestly about your feelings and concerns.
You could say, "I work really hard during the week and am tired on my weekends. I need to rest on my time-off. I need the kids to respect my private space and time-off. I don't feel as if I get time to rest when I am responsible for caring for the pets on the weekends. To feel rested and ready to work Monday mornings I need some time-off to recharge my batteries by not having to play with the kids, walk the dog, or babysit while you run an errand on my time-off."
Develop an inquiring attitude.
Ask the parents, "What do you think I should tell the children to help them understand to respect my private space and time-off instead of coming into my room on my time-off?
Use "I" statements.
"I hope the kids can learn to respect my time-off as my private time so I can rest on the weekends." Or, "I am exhausted on the weekends, so I would love it if you could hire a pet sitter on the weekends to care for your pets when I have time-off." Or, "I am so tired on the weekends and need to rest, I'd like to recommend hiring a part-time babysitter to help you care for the kids on my time-off."
Paraphrase and use expanders.
Say, "I understand, you would never try to take advantage of me or not respect my time-off."
End on a positive note.
Always end conversations with parents by thanking them for their time and effort for participating in the communication process. You might say, "Thank you so much for listening to me and willingness to teach the kids to respect my private space and time-off. I really appreciate that you are going to look into hiring a pet sitter and hiring a college student to babysit on my time-off.