If you’re a working mother who can afford a nanny, then by all means, get a nanny. There’s no reason to be a hero and run yourself ragged doing morning school drop-offs, afternoon pickups, lunch packing, carpool, and soccer practice snack-making in addition to an eight to 10-hour work day. There’s no shame in getting a little help. And, actually, when parents are too proud to admit that they can’t do it all on their own is exactly when kids can begin to be neglected. If you’re just extremely busy, then getting professional childcare can actually be the responsible thing to do. It means you want to make sure that your children’s needs are always met. It doesn’t mean that you are stepping back entirely on personally meeting those needs—it just means there won’t be any gaps in their care. You just need to do the balancing act of having a nanny, and still bonding with your kids. Here’s how to have a nanny and stay close with your kids.
Be part of the morning routine
Participate in some of the morning routine, even if that just means sitting down and having breakfast with them. Be a little comfort, support, and burst of positivity for them before they go off to tackle a day at school. If you sit out the morning routine completely, then your kids can easily go 16 to 18 hours without really interacting with you.
Be part of the night time routine
Participate in the night time routine, too. You probably remember from your childhood that this was kind of a special time. The day was winding down. You became a bit more playful. Maybe there was bath time involved. At least pop in to chat during bath time or help with teeth brushing.
Especially the bedtime story
The bedtime story should be all you. Having my dad read bedtime stories to me is still one of my fondest memories from childhood. Kids need special comforting right before bed, and will always remember the person who gave them that.
Have family dinners
Make family dinners a priority. While your nanny could just feed the kids for you, giving you the chance to scarf down your food in front of your laptop, you could all benefit from a leisurely meal together. Then, you can ask your kids about their day at school.
Spend weekends together
Weekends should be when you take special time to be with your kids. Though you have a nanny, maybe you shouldn’t give her the kids all day while you have lunch with friends, go to the gym, and get a facial. Take a three to four-hour chunk each weekend to take the kids to do something special. Make it a standing appointment in your calendar.
Don’t bring the nanny on vacation
This one can be tough but, I might recommend leaving the nanny behind on vacation. You can have grown up only vacations when you leave the kids at home with the nanny. But attempting some hybrid vacation, in which you bring the kids and the nanny and sneak away with your partner most of the day only encourages the idea to your children that they and the nanny are one unit, and you and your partner are another.
Tag along when you can
If you find yourself with free time, tag along with the nanny and the kids to the park or the beach. Just because your nanny is on the clock doesn’t mean you have to stay away for everything.
And tag in when you can
If you have a spare moment, help dress the kids, bathe them, feed them, and so on. Don’t think of it as a waste of money, because the nanny is there—think of it as an opportunity to bond with your kids.
Ask the nanny for updates
Ask the nanny for daily play-by-plays on the kids. Who did they meet? Where did they go? Was there anything new they learned? Do they have a new favorite food or cartoon or friend? Stay in the loop.
Befriend your nanny
It’s important that you have a good relationship with your nanny. Your kids are going to bond with her—it’s bound to happen. So they can either see you as a part of the big, happy relationship or as an enemy to it. So befriend the nanny.
Never miss special moments
Don’t send the nanny in your place to recitals, plays, and soccer tournaments. She can, of course, also go if the kids want her there, but you should be there, too. These are important formative experiences for your kids that you should witness.
Don’t talk badly about the nanny
If you do have a disagreement with the nanny, don’t talk about it with your partner in front of your kids. It’s always important that they never feel torn between their nanny and you.
Don’t be pushy
Sometimes your kids will want the nanny instead of your for things. Don’t become angry and force them to accept you over the nanny. This will only drive them further away.
Don’t have a closed-door policy
While the nanny should supervise and entertain the kids when she is there, make sure they know they can always come to you. Don’t shut your office door and completely isolate yourself.
Help with some homework
Kids always remember the people who helped them with their homework. As a child, this seems so important and you equate your grades with your self-worth. So kids really bond to the adult who helps them get good grades.