Whether you’re introducing the very first nanny to your kids, or you’re introducing a new replacement nanny, care needs to be taken in how this situation is handled. Change can always be a bit unsettling for children, especially if they’re not old enough to fully understand the reasoning behind it. Here are some tips for handling this transition wisely.
- Don’t surprise them. Make sure to spend some time talking with your children about the fact that you will be hiring a nanny before the final decision is ever made. Once you’ve made your choice, let them know that the choice is been made and when they can expect to meet her for the first time.
- Set the ground rules. Prior to introducing the children to the nanny, it is important that they understand the home rules in regard to the role of the nanny. Make sure they understand the authority that she will have and what will yet remain in your domain. Instruct them on how she is to be addressed and treated. Also, inform them of what exactly her duties are and are not.
- Give lots of information. Tell the children as much as possible about their new caregiver before the introduction: Where she is from, how old she is, what she looks like, why you chose her, and any special talents or facts that might be of interest to them.
- Ask the nanny for advice. If the nanny has experience working in previous positions, you might ask for her input on how the introduction should be handled. She may have some tips on what seems to have worked well or not so well, in other situations.
- Make it fun. Be creative. You might treat it like a special party with games to play and a ‘Welcome Nanny’ cake. Or it could be a family outing to the zoo or park, where the nanny accompanies the whole family together on a casual ‘get-to-know-each-other’ day.
- Give time to adjust. If children are acting shy or disturbed about the change in routine, don’t rush them to make a quick adjustment. Be firm about your decision, but understand any fears they might have.
- Not at bedtime. A new person in the household should not be introduced as you are putting the children to bed. Bedtime should be calm and filled with a normal routine to help children relax and fall asleep. Choose a morning or afternoon for the introduction.
- Welcome gifts. Encourage the children to make welcome gifts for their new caregiver. They could be simple construction paper cards colored, or covered with stickers. Remind them that this is a new place for their nanny and that they should help her feel welcome.
- Tour guides. Allow the children to act as tour guides of the home as part of their introduction to the nanny. That will help them feel important and empowered, as this will be an area that they know much more about than she does.
- Do it together. The parents should most definitely be a part of the introduction, and the first day the nanny spends with the children. It will give the nanny a chance to see how the children interact with their parents and each other. The children will feel more relaxed and safe in the presence of their parents, than if they were simply left alone with the nanny on the first day together.
In general, you want to make the introduction period as relaxed and comfortable, for both the nanny and the children, as you can.