Module 2: Family Relationships or Working in Partnership with Families
- Traditional African proverb -
" It takes a village to raise a child. "
Modern research supports that what children need is for families, educators and communities to collectively support their healthy development and well-being.
When Nannies establish respectful and caring relationships with children and families, they are able to work together to develop learning experiences relevant to the children in their local context.
These experiences gradually expand the children’s knowledge and understanding of the world around them.
Positive and collaborative relationships are developed in an environment of mutual respect, trust and honesty, established through effective communication and strengthening each other to feel capable and empowered.
To engage in genuine Partnerships Nannies and Families will:
Value each other’s knowledge of the child/ren
Value each other’s contributions to and roles in the child/ren’s life
Trust each other
Communicate freely and respectfully with each other
Engage in shared decision-making
Share insights and perspectives about the child/ren
How to Build Positive Relationships with Families:
Have Open Communication
Communicate openly and regularly with families throughout each day (text messages, photos, daily communication book/evaluation) to provide the families with reassurance and feedback regarding the children’s learning activities, mealtimes, toileting, sleep/rest times. For example-sending a short text message to families to let them know that their child/ren is/are settled if they have been upset when the family left.
Being Friedly and Approachable
Nannies should be friendly, calm, organised and take an active interest in the children and their families.
Encourage Parent Participation
Ask families to provide you with interest-based learning activity ideas and daily feedback in relation to their child/ren’s education to contribute to the program which you are providing.
Family Centred Principles
In using these principles Nannies are able to make family lives easier, address particular family problems, and create the best environment for children’s health, development and wellbeing.
All families are different, and support works best when you understand each family’s individual goals, expectations, values and everyday life.
Parents always know their children and their family best.
All families have strengths, and we learn and grow best when we use our strengths.
Children’s wellbeing and development depends on the wellbeing of all other family members and of the family as a whole.
Family wellbeing depends on the quality of informal social supports and the availability of formal support services.
Working with Families to Support Children
Work with families to surround children with secure and loving relationships – at home and in the community. You can start with your own respectful relationship with parents. Children will learn from your interactions.
Ensure health, safety and good nutrition for children.
Look out for and respond to children’s cues and clues.
Use the strengths and interests of each child as the foundation for learning. For example, if a child likes to sing, you can teach in songs.
Surround children with language. You can use books, music, storytelling and so on.
Encourage exploration and play.
Be reliable and follow through with your commitments to parents. For example, if you say you’ll phone or tidy up the children’s play area, make sure you do.
Do not make assumptions about what parents ‘need to know’. Each family has different needs. Discuss with parents their goals and expectations of your Nanny role within their family.
Listen to parents carefully when they ask questions. Acknowledge that parents can feel very anxious when they don’t know something, especially if it relates to their child’s health or well-being.
Provide support without judging. For example, instead of saying ‘You shouldn’t yell at Tommy when he doesn’t listen’, you can say ‘I understand that you’re tired and this can make it harder to be patient. Let’s look at how we can help Tommy respond’.
If there’s a crisis, accept and respect parents who are confused or highly emotional. A crisis can happen to anybody. And it might help to give parents a few minutes to calm their thoughts. One way to do this is by offering to get the parent a glass of water.
A written agreement/contract is highly recommended which highlights both your obligations as an Employee/Contractor and the Employer’s expectations. This includes responsibilities related to:-
Weekly or hourly pay rate
Tax, Superannuation and work cover insurance
Day and hours of work as well as start and finish times
Car allowance if applicable – car usage, insurance, petrol etc
Performance Review dates
Payment of Services
Specific duties and any additional duties
Overtime rates for working outside set times
Annual recreation leave, sick leave, special leave, pay on public holidays
Conditions of salary review
Conditions of termination
Social Media Policy
If the Nanny does not have First Aid and/or WWCC, the family will probably ask you to obtain it. There may be other training courses which the parents will ask you to undertake during your employment e.g. reading books, magazines and brochures (never whilst you are engaging with and supervising the children).
During an interview, you may be asked to spend time with the children playing or chatting. This is the best way for the family to observe how you interact with their child/ren.
Dress professionally (e.g., covered shoulders, enclosed shoes, no excessive jewelry).
Arrive at the interview 5-10 minutes early.
Talk about the job description, children’s routines- it shows you are interested in the position.
Provide a copy of your Resume at the time of interview for families to read through.
Be aware of your body language- stand straight, make eye contact, and be alert.
First/Last impressions – remember the first 5 minutes of an interview are the most important, as well as the end of the interview.
If children are present – get down to their level, interact, engage and respond.
The family may ask you to do undertake a trial day in order to make the best decision for their family. All Trial days are paid at the Casual Rate of $25 an hour paid in cash at the end of the shift.
Families’ may look you up on Facebook to find out more about you. Be mindful on what is on your Personal Profile as it is a direct representation of who you are.