The Norland Nannies are famous for their excellent training and their smart uniforms. They are to be found in the best homes in the country and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge couldn’t get by without their “amazing” Norland Nanny, Maria Borrallo.
B spoke with Sarah Cahill, a fully trained and experienced Norland Nanny, about what life is like for a full-time Nanny – and how parents can work with their Nanny to help form a happy and engaging child.
“Having someone ask you to care for the most important and precious thing in their world is such an honour. Being welcomed into their family and having the opportunity to watch their children develop is a huge privilege but finding the right match for both parents and nannies is really important.
“I can’t speak for every nanny but for me the most important thing is to have really clear, open communication with my employer. Maintaining continuity by sharing the same parenting views and goals makes life easier for all parties involved. With co-parenting, regardless if it is between parents or with a nanny is much more straightforward if you can establish expectations from both sides early on in the process.
“Valuing your nanny’s professional opinion is so important, as is always backing each other up, despite any potential differences of opinion. If a situation occurs that it isn’t how you would have approached it or if something was phrased differently to how you would have said it, you must make sure that you talk it through with the nanny. However, do it at another time, away from the children. Remember that you are on a united parenting team, not a ‘nanny vs parent’ one.
“I have always found it can be really beneficial to have regular child-free catch ups; this might be every six weeks and doesn’t need to be for very long. These catch-ups give everyone an opportunity to touch base on the children’s development and to discuss and decide on plans of action. It is also a good time for you to tell your nanny what a great job they are doing, whilst simultaneously sharing constructive feedback and giving them the chance to do the same. These catch-ups provide an opportunity to resolve things away from little people ensuring that you are both fully focussed on making the most of your time together. This also prevents anyone from bottling things up and because the catch-ups are held on a regular basis, it means that when it is time for a catch-up it doesn’t feel overwhelming or confrontational.
“One of my biggest tips would be to have a real sense of give and take. Before asking your nanny something, ask yourself: “How would I feel if my boss asked me this?”’. It can be hard sometimes, when you have someone working in your home, to remember that it is their workplace and that as a professional nanny, they expect the same level of respect and care that they would in a 9-5 office job. For example, if you are going to be home a few minutes late, most nannies will completely understand that these things happen, and won’t mind as long as you send a message apologising with an ETA. If this happens, perhaps you could come home a few minutes early at some point later that week to show them that you really appreciated them staying to help out, and that you respect they have their own life outside of work. Another example would be to understand that if your nanny hasn’t had time to empty the dishwasher or take the bins out when you return home, he or she was probably distracted by your little one and was giving them the additional attention they needed. As we all know, bringing up children on a day-to-day basis is exhausting, both physically and mentally. It’s a job to which you need to give your all. Your nanny will really appreciate the children being encouraged to say goodbye to them and to thank them for a lovely day.
“Finally, try to nurture the relationship your child has with their nanny. Talk about them when they’re not around; not only will your nanny love starting the day with your little ones who are happy to see them, but by enabling your children to start their day in a positive way it encourages a healthier attachment with their caregivers, while also teaching them how to form positive relationships. Your children are likely to spend so much time with this adult, so you want them to be content in their company.
“The Norland motto: ‘Love Never Faileth,’ sums up the relationship a nanny has with their child and by giving your child a nanny, you are never replacing a parent’s role or love; you are simply gifting them with an additional adult who will always love, care for and support them”
Written by Sarah Cahill, a Norland Nanny.