On Sunday, we began discussing nannies that gossip about their employers. It is not respectful to gossip about others.
Another common obstacle for nannies when they need to communicate with their employer’s in a respectful manner is the tendency of some caregivers to overreact. Anne Merchant Geissler says in her book The Child Care Textbook, “When issues are blown out of proportion communication is blocked.”
“This occurs when nannies focus on the negative aspects of an issue, compounding them, rather than dealing with them directly, honestly, and in a timely manner,” says the author.
Ms. Merchant Geissler continues, “Some people can work themselves up to a negative, non-productive state of mind when the issues are exaggerated. It is far better to focus on a solution to an issue right from the start.”
She explains “A good example of blocked communication is the nanny who feels that her boss doesn’t appreciate her. She can easily escalate her anxiety about a situation.”
“Directing your attention towards a solution right away requires much less energy. By doing so you will feel better psychologically since you will be positive and feel better,” says Merchant Geissler.
Another tip to keep from overreacting is to reduce stress.
To help reduce nanny workplace stress:
1. Make sure your basic needs are being met. Eat healthy, get plenty of sleep, and exercise. Nannies spend hours bottle-feeding newborns and preparing healthy snacks and meals for children, yet often neglect sitting down themselves to eat with the children. If your basic needs are not being met and you feel tired, hungry, and cranky you are less likely to deal with problems at work effectively.
2. Focus on one task at a time. Multi-tasking is good. All in-home childcare providers juggle many responsibilities. Nannies wear many different hats simultaneously. But beware of burn-out from too much multitasking over an extended period. Work at maintaining a balanced schedule and don’t over commit yourself. It is perfectly okay to say, “No,” to a playdate if you feel you cannot handle the extra work of having the visitor at the house.
3. Take short breaks. While babies nap, nannies use the time to wash and fold laundry and tidy kitchens, children’s bedrooms, and playrooms. But, sometimes nannies need to rest too. There is nothing wrong with closing your eyes for 15-minutes, reading a book, having a healthy snack, writing in a journal, or even emailing friends back home (but check the clock or set a timer so you do not spend too much time on computer during working hours), to give yourself a chance to recharge on a long, busy day, caring for children.
4. Resist negative thinking. If you see the downside of every situation and interaction, you’ll find yourself frequently irritated and this will eventually drain you of energy. Consciously try to be positive and find humor where you can. It works.
5. Take care of yourself on time-off. Get out of the house and socialize with friends (especially important for live-in caregivers). The better you feel, the better you will be able to manage work stress without becoming overwhelmed. The better you feel the better you will communicate with your employer’s when problems pop-up.