Having a nanny when you have a home office seems ideal. But it takes a lot more communicating, flexibility and respect. When my children were younger, I wanted a home office so I could be close to them. I loved being home and working from my laptop in the garden. Having a home office may seem like the perfect answer to balancing the demands of work and family, but it takes more communication between you and the nanny. A nanny who takes on this job needs to be more flexible and easy-going. It’s more challenging for a child to bond with the nanny when parents are in the next room, but not available. Here are some tips we’ve learned to make it work.
Present a untied front and back up the nanny.
Say goodbye in the morning just like you’re going to work, and keep it short. Have confidence in your nanny’s decisions and don’t micromanage her. If you check in frequently, the children will feel your concern and act up. Don’t reverse a decision the nanny’s made when she’s trying to get them to eat their vegetables or get them down for naps. It will undermine her authority. Your presence puts pressure on her because she’s second-guessing her tone of voice with the kids and evaluating whether that cry is rattling you.
Use your daily, weekly and monthly meetings to discuss your preferences.
Create a workspace and a schedule for your work.
Let the children know that your office is off limits and the nanny is in charge, but you can leave your door open when it’s OK for kids to wander in. Think before you wander out right in the middle of an activity. Respect that it’s the nanny’s workspace and the kids may not want to continue their project if you come in. Let your toddler know you’ll eat lunch with her and read a nap-time story, then go back into the office.
The nanny may think she can come in a few minutes late, since you’re home, so be sure to let her know the first time she’s late, how important it is for you to start on time. You may get an important phone call right when it’s time for her to go home. Set an alarm on your phone and wrap things up on time. When you’re done with work, stop taking calls or multitasking.
After work focus on the children completely and spend a half hour just playing with them.
Encourage Outings and field trips. A trip to the zoo or the Children’s Museum will give them an enriching time together, allowing you to concentrate better on your job.
I loved having a home office when my children were little, but I think it was hard for my nannies. It eliminates commuting and keeps you close to your children, but you’ll need more patience, respect, communication on both sides.
If you have more tips or questions about working from home or hiring feel free to contact us!
- My Best Parenting Advice: It’s My Party by Blythe Lipman
- My Best Parenting Advice: Start Here by Sandra Beck