Nanny Relationship Advice

Tips and advice for creating a happy and healthy Nanny relationship


Doc Fox's Lessons for Better Communication

Some of you might not know that Founder Susan Fox has her Ph. D. in Communication (from a gazillion years ago). She still teaches a graduate level Interpersonal Communication Course at NYU every so often and at the end of the semester I hand out a documnet called, "Doc Fox's Lessons for Better Communication."

When she mentions it to people they say they'd love to see it. So here it is; raw, un-prettied up, and for your knowledge. So come sit down and see what you might need from this and leave the rest. 


Favorite sayings:

"The only person who acts sensibly is my tailor. He takes my measure anew every time he sees me. Everyone else goes by their old measurements." George Bernard Shaw.

"You probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do." Olin Miller

"Be Kind. You Never Know What Someone Is Going Through." Author Unknown


Doc Fox's Lessons for Better Communication

Perception, Emotions, and Listening 

  • Remember that meaning is in the person, not the words. How you think something should be interpreted and how it is interpreted are two different things.

  • People don't MAKE YOU feel anything. You are reacting to them, their words, and their behavior. Rather than "you make me feel X," use your "I" language and say, "I feel X when you…." Likewise, you don’t make other people feel anything. (Don’t mention this in the middle of a heated discussion.)

  • Give people the benefit of the doubt and realize that you're likely to assume something bad happens to you because of external sources and something bad happens to others because of internal reasons.

  • Don't 'half' or pseudo-listen. Folding clothes and talking is one thing; reading email and trying to talk isn't really the best use of anyone's time. If you aren't able to give a person your full attention, tell them "I can give you my undivided attention at another time (hopefully offering another time). Right now isn't a good time."

  • Avoid using “should” have, “would” have, “ought” to, never and always.

  • Practice listening. Get out of your head and do more than hear- embrace. It takes energy and time so listen when you can do it mindfully.


Communication Skills

  • Communication is NOT a natural ability. You can always be a better communicator. 

  • Ask, "What do you understand?" rather than "do you understand?" Likewise, ask "what about that makes sense?" rather than "does that make sense?"

  • Paraphrase by saying "what I think I hear you saying is…."  and ask, "is there anything else?" when you are talking to someone, especially about a serious matter.

  • Don't “ASSUME” (assuming makes an ASS out of U and Me) and can lead to misunderstandings.  Perception check, "you did/said X, which made me think Y, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't misreading what you did/said."

  • Ask, "Is this a good time to talk?" when you start a conversation

  • When turning down an invitation say, "but I'd love to be invited again so please ask" if, in fact, this is the case.

  • If you're not willing to say it to someone's face, don't write it in an email. Especially don't write it in an email to someone ELSE.

  • Take your time answering requests and making decisions (if you have time); you'll be glad to have the time to make an informed decision and give a thoughtful response. 

  • Don’t use a personal conversation as a way to self-promote.

  • If you are about to write/do something out of anger/frustration/fear; STOP. Write it, let it sit until you've had a good night's sleep. Send it to yourself as a nudgemail and give it some time to rest.

  • Set limits if you have a deadline at the outset of a conversation or meeting. Say, "I need to be somewhere else at X so we need to wrap things up by Y."

  • Apologize, expressing remorse, acknowledge of wrongdoing, accepting responsibility, and offering to repair. 




Changing Nanny's Job Description and Figuring Out What To Do With Nanny When the Kids Transition to School

It's inevitable that your childcare needs will change as your kids grow older or work schedules change. But what can you do to still keep your nanny? According to PSP Nanny Survey Data, only 12% of nannies transition into the afterschool pick up. Here are some words of wisdom from PSP members who have changed their nanny's job description over time.

This article contains advice from two discussions on the PSP advice forum. One from 2014, and another from 2017.

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The PSP Guide To Hiring a Nanny/Babysitter: Step 4: HOW can we seal the deal?

This section talks you through making a final decision, final offer, and orienting your new nanny.




The PSP Guide To Hiring a Nanny/Babysitter: Step 5: HOW can I make this a great working relationship?

Learn about doing doing due diligence and the precautions you need to take - both before you hire and on the job.



Firing Your Nanny

This article talks through the ins and outs of what you need to know and the steps you need to take for terminating your caregiver.




What to Pay Your Nanny Overnight


This article looks at what PSP members pay their nanny when they need childcare overnight. You will find what members revealed in the most recent Nanny Survey (2015) and shared across our groups.

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FAQs about the Nanny Relationship

Frequently asked questions about the nanny relationship, answered.




Separation Anxiety with Baby: Adjusting to Nanny

Working moms talk about how their baby adjusted to nanny and overcoming baby’s separation anxiety.




Best practices for hiring/bringing back a nanny in the time of coronavirus

Hopefully some of these questions will be easy to answer if you’ve been having frequent, open conversations with your nanny about how they’re doing, whether they’ve been sick, and their family situation.

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Transitioning a Nanny to Part-time

 Transitioning your nanny from being full-time to part-time is a frequently talked about issue with our members. Whether the kiddo(s) are starting school, daycare, or preschool, the transition can raises a lot of questions about pay, expectations, and more as you can piece together many different arrangements. This article summarizes the advice and multiple perspectives of parents who dealt with this change: some kept their nanny full-time in a combination babysitter/ housekeeper role while others decided to do extended daycare, a nanny share or have a suite of sitters on call.  Each experience should hopefully illuminate what option you think is best for you and your family.

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Park Slope Parents and Nannies- Making the Relationship Great!

More than anything Park Slope Parents wants to help those who employ nannies to develop and maintain positive relationships with their nannies. To that end we're re-posting an abridged version of some of the information that we have on the PSP website about communication, compensation, respect, and appreciation that will help you build a strong relationship that begins and ends well.




Nanny and Paid Vacation

 This question comes up frequently on Park Slope Parents: "When we hired our nanny we told her that she would get 2 weeks paid vacation. It now turns out she may get around 5 weeks as we will be away for a lot of the summer. How have folks dealt with the situation?"

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What To Do About a Nanny Who is Late

Love and adore your nanny, but hate that they're late? PSP members debate this dilemma.

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Unanticipated "Time Off": What Works, What Doesn't, and What's Fair

Wondering what to do when there is unanticipated "time off" and you find yourself *not really* needing your nanny to come in?




Nanny Perks: Working Out While on the Job

A PSP member's nanny asked if she could go to the gym while she was working. Members discuss the pros and cons of giving a nanny this perk.




Maternity Leave for a Nanny: What to do When Your Nanny is Pregnant

Wondering what to expect your nanny is expecting? What do you do when your nanny is pregnant? How do you manage maternity leave? Or what if they want to bring their baby to work? PSP members share how they handled their caregiver expecting their own little one.




Nanny and Foul Weather Days: What is the Right Thing To Do?

Hurricanes, blizzards, and foul weather forecasts: oh my! Bad weather can wreak havoc: transport halts, schools close, and work schedules get rearranged. What happens to your nanny? Maybe you don’t need your nanny to come in anymore, or your nanny can’t get to work because the subway stopped or their own, personal childcare needs fall through. Do you pay your nanny for the day off? Or do you not pay? Here PSP members share their experiences. Includes advice about what to do when it's a part-time nanny too.





It's Fall! Prepare your Nanny for upcoming changes!


Lots of you are sending your kids to school in the fall and your nanny is transitioning to a child attending pre-school, Pre-K, Kindergarten and beyond…



Nanny Perks: Nanny Bringing Child with Them?

What PSP members think about a nanny bringing their child with them to work.





Nanny Raises and More

Wondering when you should give your nanny more money?




Nanny End of Year Bonus: Do’s, Don’ts, and Druthers

Have a Nanny? Here are the ins and outs of year-end bonuses.